Swift Boat Watch: Let Freedom Ring

A campaign blog.
Oct. 28 2008 12:54 PM

Swift Boat Watch: Let Freedom Ring

See all Swift Boat Watch entries here .

Who They Are: Let Freedom Ring

Advertisement

Purpose: To promote a conservative agenda and to counter liberal messaging. In this election, they support John McCain.

President: Colin A. Hanna

Funding: NPR reports that John Templeton, a physician and wealthy Republican donor , is a contributor.

Cost of the Ad: $5 million for the whole campaign.

 

Where It Ran: Colorado, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington, D.C., starting Oct. 24.

Claims: Former Assistant Secretary of Defense Frank Gaffney says that candidates who are determined not to use force or invest in a strong military convey "weakness" that "invites aggression." (He doesn't explicitly name Obama.) The ad then quotes Joe Biden's statement that "it will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama."

Accuracy: Frank Gaffney writes editorials theorizing that Islamist groups are using Obama to take over the United States. The ad implies that Obama is determined not to use military force or to maintain a strong military. Both of these claims are false . In fact, both Obama and McCain want to expand the armed forces. In a 2007 speech, Obama said , "I will not hesitate to use military force to take out terrorists who pose a direct threat to America. ... I will ensure that our military becomes more stealth, agile, and lethal in its ability to capture or kill terrorists." The Biden statement, made at a rally in Seattle , is accurate.

Background: The group's Never Find Out campaign features individuals addressing Obama's tax plan, energy plan, and use of the present vote in the Illinois Senate. Other ads have attacked Obama on his comments about small-town Pennsylvanians , his position on the Employee Free Choice Act , and offshore drilling . Ronald Reagan nominated Gaffney for assistant secretary of defense; Gaffney served for seven months until the Supreme Court blocked the nomination.

Swift Boat Rating:

/blogs/trailhead/2008/10/28/swift_boat_watch_let_freedom_ring/jcr:content/body/slate_image

Biden did warn Americans that an international crisis would test Obama. But the ad's implications that Obama would not use force and would weaken the military are inaccurate. The ad gets an extra boat for featuring Gaffney, who is not the most credible spokesperson.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

The Democrats’ War at Home

How can the president’s party defend itself from the president’s foreign policy blunders?

Congress’ Public Shaming of the Secret Service Was Political Grandstanding at Its Best

Michigan’s Tradition of Football “Toughness” Needs to Go—Starting With Coach Hoke

Windows 8 Was So Bad That Microsoft Will Skip Straight to Windows 10

A Plentiful, Renewable Resource That America Keeps Overlooking

Animal manure.

Politics

Cringing. Ducking. Mumbling.

How GOP candidates react whenever someone brings up reproductive rights or gay marriage.

Building a Better Workplace

You Deserve a Pre-cation

The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.

The Ludicrous Claims Women Are Pitched at “Egg Freezing Parties”

Piper Kerman on Why She Dressed Like a Hitchcock Heroine for Her Prison Sentencing

Behold
Oct. 1 2014 11:48 AM An Up-Close Look at the U.S.–Mexico Border
  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 1 2014 12:20 PM Don’t Expect Hong Kong’s Protests to Spread to the Mainland
  Business
Business Insider
Oct. 1 2014 12:21 PM How One Entrepreneur Is Transforming Blood Testing
  Life
Outward
Oct. 1 2014 11:59 AM Ask a Homo: A Lesbian PDA FAQ
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 10:54 AM “I Need a Pair of Pants That Won’t Bore Me to Death” Troy Patterson talks about looking sharp, flat-top fades, and being Slate’s Gentleman Scholar.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 1 2014 12:26 PM Where Do I Start With Leonard Cohen?
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 1 2014 11:48 AM Watch a Crowd Go Wild When Steve Jobs Moves a Laptop in This 1999 Demonstration of WiFi
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 1 2014 12:01 PM Rocky Snow
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 30 2014 5:54 PM Goodbye, Tough Guy It’s time for Michigan to fire its toughness-obsessed coach, Brady Hoke.