Rebutting smears

Dan Petegorsky

The Obama campaign has just released a publication shredding the most high profile smear attack of the campaign to date, the new book by wacko hatemonger Jerome Corsi. Titled "Unfit for Publication," it's available for download here (pdf).

Comments

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    this is an amazing piece of work. a bit of the writing is awkward, but anyone who thinks Obama is going to do a Kerry has to be thrilled. this gives new meaning to the word "debunk." i'm looking forward to seeing more of this thru the campaign, especially once the really tv ads hit.

    what i like is that in pointing out the lies, people get a chance to read a lot of Obama's words and what a lot of prominent political writers have to say (i really enjoy the normally odious Joe Klien praising Obama for how he took the time to tape VoA messages for Kenya during the week of the Iowa caucus). absolutely excellent.

  • RinoWatch (unverified)
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    t.a.,

    Have you read Corsi's book? I have and am always wary, but I'd love to hear for anyone who can specifically "debunk" one of the over 600 footnotes. TIA.....

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    I haven't read the book either, but saw one commentator note last night that of the first 11 footnotes, nine of them were Corsi citing previous writings by... Corsi.

    That's not footnoting, that's blogwhoring.

  • RinoWatch (unverified)
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    Kari, Who was the one commentator? I understand what you are saying but I'm about getting specifics.

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    You're playing games, "Rino." If someone were to put out a book with "footnotes" claiming that McCain has in fact been a Commie agent ever since his POW days - that he was brainwashed, gave up info to the Vietnamese, that his temper tantrums are "proof" that he's just not right, blah blah blah - and if you knew that the author had as disreputable a past and as transparently nefarious an agenda as Corsi, would you be insisting on checking out his footnotes?

    I'm glad that others have actually done that. Kari may, in fact, be referring to the Larry King interview where Paul Waldman did exactly what you are asking for in challenging a specific footnote, and Corsi completely dodged a reply.

    What's really pathetic about all of this is that the media are giving Corsi such play and exposure.

  • Rulial (unverified)
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    Footnotes can't make false things true. If you make an assertion adorned with a footnote, and I can demonstrate it's incorrect, that could mean: (1) the original source is also incorrect, or (2) the source never actually made that claim.

    One thing that makes me sad is that people are attacking Obama for being "a secret Muslim". Look, folks, the vast majority of Muslims, like most people, are good people. To conclude Islam is bad based on the acts of 9/11 terrorists is as stupid as concluding Christianity is bad based on the acts of people who blow up abortion clinics. The "Obama is a secret Muslim" is one based on absolute and utter bigotry. If reinforcing the "Obama is a secret Muslim" meme is really one of the goals of Corsi's book, as Joe Klein suggests, then it doesn't even deserve to be used as toilet paper.

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    If reinforcing the "Obama is a secret Muslim" meme is really one of the goals of Corsi's book, as Joe Klein suggests, then it doesn't even deserve to be used as toilet paper.

    Indeed. If David Duke put out a book on Obama would he also be on Larry King, and would the Obama campaign be forced to issue detailed replies? If Fred Phelps put out a screed against Jared Polis would folks be suggesting we needed to debunk his footnotes?

    I guess one answer is, remarkably, yes: we saw in 2004 how even the most patently scurrilous charges can get traction. So it's understandable why the Obama campaign is responding the way it is. But it's also endlessly maddening, no?

  • RinoWatch (unverified)
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    Dan: Thanks! Paul Waldman, eh? Now I feel much better....

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    Yeah, that's the point: exposing folks like Corsi the way that shops like Media Matters does isn't supposed to make you or the hard core wing nuts feel better, it's aimed at keeping you marginalized.

    Ed Kilgore doesn't think the attacks will work this year the way they did n 2004; we'll have to see.

  • Harry Kershner (unverified)
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    What about the scurrilous attacks on Nader by DP wingnuts? Comes out of his coffin every four years to destroy America, Alfred E. Newman, Satanic, plays footsie with conservatives, selfish and egotistical, caused the Iraq occupation, mortgaged America's future, demagogic slanderer, etc. You guys need to apply the same standards to yourselves that you apply to your enemies.

    If you had democratic values, you'd favor debates between McBama and the non-corporatist candidates.

  • RW (unverified)
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    Meme is a wonderful, tasty, old-school word. But "meme" enjoys its rest occassionally. It works hard when it is called, and needs a nap to retain its courage and wisdom.

    Literarily yours,

    R

  • johnnie (unverified)
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    Since when is Bob Beckel a Republican Strategist?

    Obama for America should have probably factchecked their factchecking document...

  • LT (unverified)
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    When Bob Beckel worked for Mondale, he was the consultant that non-Mondale Democrats loved to hate.

    But in recent years, what has he been doing? Didn't take long on a search engine to find this:

    http://www.newshounds.us/2006/07/09/democratic_strategist_bob_beckel_joins_fox_news_attack_on_joseph_biden.php

    I’ve made it pretty clear in my posts that I’m no fan of “Democratic Strategist” and FOX News contributor Bob Beckel. But he reached a new low Friday night (7/7/06) on Hannity & Colmes when he spoke out more harshly against Democratic Senator Joseph Biden than conservative talk show host Laura Ingraham.

  • johnnie (unverified)
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    LT is that why Obama called Bob Beckel a Republican Strategist in his response to Corsi?

  • LT (unverified)
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    Never met Obama, don't know what he thinks, I am only an old Hart delegate who remembered Beckel (not fondly) and followed his career after 1984.

    As I recall, he was one of those Mondale people who thought the Contras Reagan believed in weren't really bad people. Is that what you believe?

    Not hard to find the video online (I found it multiple places) where Beckel said in early June that "a big shoe" would fall on the Obamas--a video of Michelle? Do you remember that "bombshell"? I sure don't. But saying that on a cable show is not the way to win friends and influence people! Was he being a bigshot on TV, or only a windbag?

    Over the past quarter century there have been Democratic consultants/ operatives which had a following but also angry activists who thought they reflected poorly on the Democratic Party. I'd put Beckel in that category. And after reading this column, I'd do the same with Mark Penn.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/08/15/AR2008081502825.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

  • johnnie (unverified)
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    LT - but would you state Bob Beckel is a Republican Strategist in a document you are releasing against Corsi, as Obama did? Just saying

    ABC has a decent commentary on the document: http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2008/08/the-obama-overr.html

  • LT (unverified)
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    Given that to the best of my knowledge the "big shoe falling in June" that Beckel talked about on cable TV never "dropped", exactly what was he trying to pull? Just be a pundit, or make life difficult for the Obamas?

    That doesn't seem to me to be the action of a "Democratic strategist". Who he works for or how he is registered to vote I have no idea. But what he said about the Obama's in June doesn't, in my mind, obligate the Obama campaign to know exactly who Beckel is working for these days, how he is registered, etc. Beckel is a big boy, and if he was offended by that he can fight back himself without needing a blogger to fight back for him.

    Would it have been better to say "Bob Beckel, famous for incendiary remarks..." instead of Republican strategist? Or are you just trying to make trouble?

    I've followed Beckel's career since he worked for Mondale in 1984. Apparently he favored an Obama/Clinton ticket. I don't think that would be a good idea.

    Jake Tapper writes well. It is very interesting he doesn't mention the Beckel thing in his blog. From what I have heard from an interview with an Obama biographer, lots of folks in Chicago politics were really angry about the Alice Palmer situation--either that Obama kept on running, or that she double crossed him and decided to run after endorsing him.

    But the point remains. Beckel is a slippery character. Whether he is employed by any Republicans or registered GOP, he sure doesn't seem to be as much an active Democrat these days as a pundit.

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