Tuesday, 23 September 2014 / TRUTH-OUT.ORG

The Group Trying to Swift Boat Obama

Tuesday, 08 May 2012 09:42 By Adam Peck and Judd Legum, ThinkProgress | Report

President Barack Obama speaks during a campaign event at the Washington Convention Center, in Washington, April 27, 2012. (Photo: Luke Sharrett / The New York Times) President Barack Obama speaks during a campaign event at the Washington Convention Center, in Washington, April 27, 2012. (Photo: Luke Sharrett / The New York Times) A secretive right-wing group, Veterans For A Strong America, is attempting to do to President Obama what the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth did to Sen. John Kerry in 2004. And they aren’t shy about it. The group’s leader and sole employee, Joel Arends, told Mother Jones, “Yes, it’s the swift boating of the president.”

Arends said his goal is to take “what’s perceived to be [Obama's] greatest strength” — the successful raid on Osama Bin Laden’s Pakistani compound — and make it “his greatest weakness.” The effort started this week with a web video attacking Obama for taking too much credit.

In an interview with ThinkProgress, Arends refused to discuss any information regarding how the group was financed or its leadership. Arends also declined to provide legal forms he claims to have filed with the IRS. A representative from the IRS told ThinkProgress that the agency does not have any forms from Arends’ group on file.

Here’s what we do know about Arends and Veterans For A Strong America:

1. In four days, the first ad by Veterans For A Strong America garnered almost 1 million views on Youtube. It has also been played frequently on TV news shows. [YouTube, 5/1/12]

2. Veterans For A Strong America is seeking to recruit Navy SEALS to attack Obama. “In the wake of a warm conservative reception for a web video trashing the president for ‘spiking the football’ on the anniversary of Osama Bin Laden’s death, the conservative group Veterans for a Strong America plans to gather Navy SEALs and Special Forces operators to criticize the White House during the 2012 campaign.” [BuzzFeed, 5/3/12]

3. Arends also tried to Swift Boat Obama in 2008. Arends, under the auspices of a similar group called “Vets for Freedom,” ran an ad accusing Obama of refusing to meet with wounded soldiers from Illinois. [NPR, 7/5/08]

4. Arends worked as a consultant for the Koch Brothers’ Americans for Prosperity. “Though he doesn’t list it on his public resume, around 2006 Arends went to work for Craig Dewey, the state director of Americans for Prosperity, an advocacy outfit that’s Astroturfed everything from the tea party and the Wisconsin union fight to public-school segregation.” The Koch Brothers and their allies have pledged to spend $100 million to defeat Obama. [Mother Jones, 5/4/12; HuffingtonPost, 2/3/12]

5. In 2008, Arends — posing as a “journalist” — organized and participated in a taxpayer-subsidized propaganda trip to Iraq.“American taxpayers are paying for politically slanted, pro-McCain, anti-Obama ‘reporters’ embedded with U.S. troops in Iraq. Vets for Freedom – a pro-war organization that buys attack ads against Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama – assembled a team of eight military veterans with dubious journalistic credentials to report ‘objectively’ on what is occurring in Iraq…Joel Arends, another “reporter,” is VFF’s executive director and was on McCain’s campaign payroll between March 2007 and February 2008.” [Charleston Gazette, 8/28/08]

6. Arends is coordinating with key Islamophobic figures on the far right. He regularly appears at events with anti-Islam conspiracy theorist Frank Gaffney, who has been condemned by mainstream conservatives for his intolerant views. He is also alligned with William “Jerry” Boykin, who was found to have violated Pentagon rules by expressing his anti-Muslim views in an official capacity. [ThinkProgress, 2/12/12For The Common Defense; New York Times, 3/4/05]

7. Arends helped promote a documentary advocating war with Iran.Arends appeared on a panel in March 2011 in South Dakota promoting the documentary Iranium, which strongly suggests beginning a war with Iran. [Flier; ThinkProgress, 11/3/11]

8. Veterans for A Strong America is fully endorsed by Karl Rove. The man known as “Bush’s Brain” tweeted his support of their first web ad. [Twitter, 5/3/12]

Veterans For A Strong America is already succeeding in influencing the political discussion. Its web ad was aired nationally, for free, on ABC’s This Week. Many members of the political round-table then echoed Arends talking points on Obama and Bin Laden.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.

Judd Legum

Judd Legum is a practicing attorney and a candidate for state delegate in Annapolis, MD.

Judd previously served as the Research Director at the Center for American Progress, a leading public policy think tank. He founded ThinkProgress.org, the organization’s popular blog and regularly appeared on national television and radio programs.

Judd held the same position with Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign,managing a team of 15 responsible for the campaign’s policy and political research.

Adam Peck

Adam Peck is a Reporter/Blogger for Think Progress at the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Adam grew up just outside of New York City, and attended Stony Brook University’s School of Journalism. Before joining Think Progress, Adam was an intern at Countdown with Keith Olbermann at MSNBC in New York, and at Campus Progress in Washington, D.C. He was also the founder and editor of Think Magazine, the largest collegiate news organization on Long Island. His work has appeared in The New York Times, CNN and the BBC.


Hide Comments

blog comments powered by Disqus
GET DAILY TRUTHOUT UPDATES

FOLLOW togtorsstottofb


The Group Trying to Swift Boat Obama

Tuesday, 08 May 2012 09:42 By Adam Peck and Judd Legum, ThinkProgress | Report

President Barack Obama speaks during a campaign event at the Washington Convention Center, in Washington, April 27, 2012. (Photo: Luke Sharrett / The New York Times) President Barack Obama speaks during a campaign event at the Washington Convention Center, in Washington, April 27, 2012. (Photo: Luke Sharrett / The New York Times) A secretive right-wing group, Veterans For A Strong America, is attempting to do to President Obama what the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth did to Sen. John Kerry in 2004. And they aren’t shy about it. The group’s leader and sole employee, Joel Arends, told Mother Jones, “Yes, it’s the swift boating of the president.”

Arends said his goal is to take “what’s perceived to be [Obama's] greatest strength” — the successful raid on Osama Bin Laden’s Pakistani compound — and make it “his greatest weakness.” The effort started this week with a web video attacking Obama for taking too much credit.

In an interview with ThinkProgress, Arends refused to discuss any information regarding how the group was financed or its leadership. Arends also declined to provide legal forms he claims to have filed with the IRS. A representative from the IRS told ThinkProgress that the agency does not have any forms from Arends’ group on file.

Here’s what we do know about Arends and Veterans For A Strong America:

1. In four days, the first ad by Veterans For A Strong America garnered almost 1 million views on Youtube. It has also been played frequently on TV news shows. [YouTube, 5/1/12]

2. Veterans For A Strong America is seeking to recruit Navy SEALS to attack Obama. “In the wake of a warm conservative reception for a web video trashing the president for ‘spiking the football’ on the anniversary of Osama Bin Laden’s death, the conservative group Veterans for a Strong America plans to gather Navy SEALs and Special Forces operators to criticize the White House during the 2012 campaign.” [BuzzFeed, 5/3/12]

3. Arends also tried to Swift Boat Obama in 2008. Arends, under the auspices of a similar group called “Vets for Freedom,” ran an ad accusing Obama of refusing to meet with wounded soldiers from Illinois. [NPR, 7/5/08]

4. Arends worked as a consultant for the Koch Brothers’ Americans for Prosperity. “Though he doesn’t list it on his public resume, around 2006 Arends went to work for Craig Dewey, the state director of Americans for Prosperity, an advocacy outfit that’s Astroturfed everything from the tea party and the Wisconsin union fight to public-school segregation.” The Koch Brothers and their allies have pledged to spend $100 million to defeat Obama. [Mother Jones, 5/4/12; HuffingtonPost, 2/3/12]

5. In 2008, Arends — posing as a “journalist” — organized and participated in a taxpayer-subsidized propaganda trip to Iraq.“American taxpayers are paying for politically slanted, pro-McCain, anti-Obama ‘reporters’ embedded with U.S. troops in Iraq. Vets for Freedom – a pro-war organization that buys attack ads against Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama – assembled a team of eight military veterans with dubious journalistic credentials to report ‘objectively’ on what is occurring in Iraq…Joel Arends, another “reporter,” is VFF’s executive director and was on McCain’s campaign payroll between March 2007 and February 2008.” [Charleston Gazette, 8/28/08]

6. Arends is coordinating with key Islamophobic figures on the far right. He regularly appears at events with anti-Islam conspiracy theorist Frank Gaffney, who has been condemned by mainstream conservatives for his intolerant views. He is also alligned with William “Jerry” Boykin, who was found to have violated Pentagon rules by expressing his anti-Muslim views in an official capacity. [ThinkProgress, 2/12/12For The Common Defense; New York Times, 3/4/05]

7. Arends helped promote a documentary advocating war with Iran.Arends appeared on a panel in March 2011 in South Dakota promoting the documentary Iranium, which strongly suggests beginning a war with Iran. [Flier; ThinkProgress, 11/3/11]

8. Veterans for A Strong America is fully endorsed by Karl Rove. The man known as “Bush’s Brain” tweeted his support of their first web ad. [Twitter, 5/3/12]

Veterans For A Strong America is already succeeding in influencing the political discussion. Its web ad was aired nationally, for free, on ABC’s This Week. Many members of the political round-table then echoed Arends talking points on Obama and Bin Laden.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.

Judd Legum

Judd Legum is a practicing attorney and a candidate for state delegate in Annapolis, MD.

Judd previously served as the Research Director at the Center for American Progress, a leading public policy think tank. He founded ThinkProgress.org, the organization’s popular blog and regularly appeared on national television and radio programs.

Judd held the same position with Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign,managing a team of 15 responsible for the campaign’s policy and political research.

Adam Peck

Adam Peck is a Reporter/Blogger for Think Progress at the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Adam grew up just outside of New York City, and attended Stony Brook University’s School of Journalism. Before joining Think Progress, Adam was an intern at Countdown with Keith Olbermann at MSNBC in New York, and at Campus Progress in Washington, D.C. He was also the founder and editor of Think Magazine, the largest collegiate news organization on Long Island. His work has appeared in The New York Times, CNN and the BBC.


Hide Comments

blog comments powered by Disqus