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Cahill Admits Underestimating Ads' Impact [Swift Boat Vets]
AP ^ | Dec 16, 2004

Posted on 12/15/2004 10:28:26 PM PST by West Coast Conservative

The campaign manager for Sen. John Kerry's failed presidential bid said Wednesday she regrets underestimating the impact of an attack advertisement that questioned Kerry's Vietnam War record.

Mary Beth Cahill, who spoke at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government with Ken Mehlman, President Bush's campaign manager, said the Massachusetts senator's campaign initially thought there would be "no reach" to the ad from Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.

Instead, the ad, which initially aired in just three states, became a central issue of the campaign, eventually forcing Kerry to personally deny the group's allegations that he did not deserve his combat medals.

"This is the best $40,000 investment made by any political group, but it was only because of the news coverage that it got where it did," she said.

"In hindsight, maybe we should have put Senator Kerry out earlier, perhaps we could have cut it off earlier."

Mehlman said that it was natural that the ad had the reach and impact it did, because Kerry decided to make his Vietnam record a central part of his campaign.

"Because Senator Kerry was so focused on that part of his biography, it came out as an issue," he said.

Mehlman but acknowledged that Democrats scored points against Bush, such as raising the specter of a draft reinstatement, which got the attention of young voters.

"I think that was something that worked. It wasn't true, but it worked," he said.

The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, a group of Republican-funded Vietnam War veterans who patrolled the same Mekong Delta in Swift boats similar to the ones piloted by Navy Lt. John Kerry, challenged Kerry's accounts of his medal-winning service and anti-war protests.

In the first ad, former sailors who served on boats near Kerry's in Vietnam said he lied about his war record. In a second, veterans criticized his subsequent anti-war activities. A third attacked Kerry for throwing away the medals he earned in Vietnam.

Cahill said the Swift boat ads show the power of news coverage, particularly cable news stations, which she said amplified the ads by running them repeatedly.

She said it was frustrating that the first ad continued to eat up so much air time even after the central allegations were debunked.

"For me, this was a very big change. The fact that it was disproved and it was still shown every day as part of the (campaign) coverage," she said.

Cahill said if she could change one thing about the campaign it would be the timing of the conventions. By scheduling their convention about five weeks after the Democrats, the Republicans gained a fund-raising advantage and dominated the news going into the final stretch.

"That was a huge hill to get over," she said.

Both sides agreed the debates were a crucial moment in the campaign.

Mehlman said he felt Bush was comfortable because he had gone through similar debates in 2000 and had gained confidence as president.

Cahill said Kerry practiced "mock debate after mock debate" and tried to avoid political zingers given the seriousness of the debates while the country was at war.

"This was not an election where 'You're no John Kennedy' was going to turn a debate," she said referring to a quip used by Democratic vice presidential candidate Lloyd Bentsen against Republican Dan Quayle in a 1988 debate.

Both sides also agreed that the Internet and other emerging news technologies have transformed the political process by making it more democratic and encouraging more people to become involved.


TOPICS: Front Page News; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: bush; cahill; election2004; kerry; swiftboatvets
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1 posted on 12/15/2004 10:28:27 PM PST by West Coast Conservative
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To: West Coast Conservative

Wow! Such an important, election-changing story...yet the NY Times and CBS 60 Minutes refused to cover any part of it, save to dismiss the ads out of hand.

< /Media Bias >

2 posted on 12/15/2004 10:30:56 PM PST by Southack (Media Bias means that Castro won't be punished for Cuban war crimes against Black Angolans in Africa)
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To: All

Anyone recall an article from AP in which any anti-Bush ads were called an "attack advertisement"?


3 posted on 12/15/2004 10:31:44 PM PST by Texas_Jarhead (I believe in American Exceptionalism! Do you?)
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To: West Coast Conservative
She said it was frustrating that the first ad continued to eat up so much air time even after the central allegations were debunked...the poor 'rats continue in denial, even today - the allegations, central and tangential, have never been "debunked"......
4 posted on 12/15/2004 10:32:42 PM PST by Intolerant in NJ
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To: West Coast Conservative
Vietnam War veterans who patrolled the same Mekong Delta in Swift boats similar to the ones piloted by Navy Lt. John Kerry, challenged Kerry's accounts of his medal-winning service and anti-war protests.

A. This statement is a lie. They were funded by small contributions by thousands like myself and others here. Unlike the tens of millions spent to fund Rat 527's by Soros and his ilk.

B.They had no response. There is no answer to the truth. All Cahill could do was spin and lie.

God bless the Swities for their bravery and their contribution to the defeat of that traitor.
5 posted on 12/15/2004 10:33:16 PM PST by Kozak (Anti Shahada: " There is no God named Allah, and Muhammed is his False Prophet")
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To: West Coast Conservative
Mehlman acknowledged that Democrats scored points against Bush, such as raising the specter of a draft reinstatement, which got the attention of young voters.

"I think that was something that worked. It wasn't true, but it worked," he said.

If I'm reading this right, this rotten Leftist just admitted that their claim that Bush was going to reinstate the draft was nothing but a flat-out lie.

Amazing.

6 posted on 12/15/2004 10:33:31 PM PST by Prime Choice (I like Democrats, too. Let's exchange recipes.)
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To: West Coast Conservative
The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, a group of Republican-funded Vietnam War veterans who patrolled the same Mekong Delta in Swift boats similar to the ones piloted by Navy Lt. John Kerry, challenged Kerry's accounts of his medal-winning service and anti-war protests.

A. This statement is a lie. They were funded by small contributions by thousands like myself and others here. Unlike the tens of millions spent to fund Rat 527's by Soros and his ilk.

B.They had no response. There is no answer to the truth. All Cahill could do was spin and lie.

God bless the Swities for their bravery and their contribution to the defeat of that traitor.
7 posted on 12/15/2004 10:34:01 PM PST by Kozak (Anti Shahada: " There is no God named Allah, and Muhammed is his False Prophet")
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To: West Coast Conservative
"She said it was frustrating that the first ad continued to eat up so much air time even after the central allegations were debunked."

You mean, you're still claiming that Senator Kerry spent an illegal 1968 Christmas in Cambodia under Nixon's orders even though Nixon wasn't even President yet?!

8 posted on 12/15/2004 10:34:23 PM PST by Southack (Media Bias means that Castro won't be punished for Cuban war crimes against Black Angolans in Africa)
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To: Prime Choice

Mehlman said that. He was the Bush campaign manager.


9 posted on 12/15/2004 10:37:32 PM PST by West Coast Conservative
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To: West Coast Conservative
The campaign manager for Sen. John Kerry's failed presidential bid said Wednesday she regrets underestimating the impact of an attack advertisement that questioned Kerry's Vietnam War record.

The ads didn't question Kerry's record, it just brought to the attention of the American people.

10 posted on 12/15/2004 10:39:04 PM PST by AlaskaErik
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To: West Coast Conservative
Mehlman said that. He was the Bush campaign manager.

Okay, I guess my reading skills for today are hosed. Open mouth, insert foot, echo nationally. I suck.

11 posted on 12/15/2004 10:40:35 PM PST by Prime Choice (I like Democrats, too. Let's exchange recipes.)
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To: Prime Choice

Mehlman is our guy.


12 posted on 12/15/2004 10:42:18 PM PST by doug from upland (Vietnam Vets: FINALLY -- welcome home, heroes)
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To: doug from upland

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1302467/posts?page=11#11


13 posted on 12/15/2004 10:42:56 PM PST by Prime Choice (I like Democrats, too. Let's exchange recipes.)
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To: Prime Choice

I just about made your mistake. It took a moment for the shock to settle away...the shock from realizing that the article's author had actually included quotes from *both* sides!

I'm just so accustomed to the Old Media's one-sided articles that the quote from Mehlman on our side caught me off guard.

14 posted on 12/15/2004 10:43:46 PM PST by Southack (Media Bias means that Castro won't be punished for Cuban war crimes against Black Angolans in Africa)
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To: Southack

Cahill still got away with saying the SwiftVets charges were debunked. They keep playing that lie.


15 posted on 12/15/2004 10:44:42 PM PST by doug from upland (Vietnam Vets: FINALLY -- welcome home, heroes)
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To: Southack
I just about made your mistake.

I think my role these days is to screw up in such a spectacular fashion that nobody else has to make a mistake. I do the screw-ups of 20 people in just one post.

I'm gonna go sit quietly in a corner and dangle my feet off the edge of a dime now...

16 posted on 12/15/2004 10:47:55 PM PST by Prime Choice (I like Democrats, too. Let's exchange recipes.)
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To: West Coast Conservative
The Democrats have such little regard for those who serve in the military, it's no wonder she didn't pay any attention to them.

As the Russians say, "Tuffski Sh*tski"!

17 posted on 12/15/2004 10:51:14 PM PST by SuziQ (W: STILL the President)
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To: doug from upland
Cahill still got away with saying the SwiftVets charges were debunked. They keep playing that lie.

Well, the New York Times said they had been "discredited" and the charges were "unsubstantiated".

So, who do you believe? The New York Times? Or your lyin' eyes?

18 posted on 12/15/2004 10:56:39 PM PST by okie01 (The Mainstream Media: IGNORANCE ON PARADE)
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To: West Coast Conservative
A bit late... buy hey...
Wonder if Cahill knows Bush is walking around with his ass hanging out on immigration ?.. Its a pretty silly display a President of the United States walking around with his ass hanging out.. Could be teeth marks on it too, in 2006..
19 posted on 12/15/2004 10:57:02 PM PST by hosepipe (This Propaganda has been edited to include not a small amount of Hyperbole..)
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To: Intolerant in NJ
By debunked, I think they mean Kerry's versions of the truth.

Does anyone remember the "debunking" of the swift boat vets? I heard it once and the report was so weak I lost interest in it after the first 45 seconds. All following news items just say they were debunked without giving any specifics ( probably because there weren't any ).
20 posted on 12/15/2004 10:59:09 PM PST by Hillarys Gate Cult (This space for rant)
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