American Issues Project

"Know Enough?"
60 sec. TV ad run in OH and MI starting Aug. 21
, 2008 through the Democratic Convention.  "The total ad buy for this initial ad is $2.8 million..."


[Music] Male Announcer: Beyond the speeches, how much do you know about Barack Obama? What does he really believe?

Consider this: United 93 never hit the Capitol on 9/11.  But the Capitol was bombed thirty years before - by an American terrorist group called Weather Underground that declared "war" on the U.S. - targeting the Capitol, the Pentagon, police stations and more.

One of the group's leaders, William Ayers, admits to the bombings, proudly saying later: "We didn't do enough."  Some members of the group Ayers founded even went on to kill police.

But Barack Obama is friends with Ayers, defending him as, quote, "Respectable" and "Mainstream."

Obama's political career was launched in Ayers' home. 

And the two served together on a left-wing board.

Why would Barack Obama be friends with someone who bombed the Capitol...and is proud of it?  Do you know enough to elect Barack Obama?

American Issues Project is responsible for the content of this ad.

Notes: This ad will undoubtedly recall the work of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, which launched their first ad (>) targeting Sen. John Kerry little over four years ago.  Whether American Issues Project turns out to be the Swift Boat Veterans of the 2008 campaign or a pre-convention blip remains to be seen.  According to its press release, American Issues Project is a 501(c)(4) organization "representing a coalition of activists committed to raising conservative issues both during and after the election."  The release quotes Ed Martin, president of the group, stating, "The launch of our immediate advocacy effort is a direct response to Barack Obama's rejection of public financing, which will allow the liberal 527s and other leftist organizations to dramatically outspend conservatives this election cycle."  Organization board member Ed Failor, Jr. states, "When the American public fully understands the close, continuing relationship between their potential president and a remorseless domestic terrorist, we believe it will send a chill down their spines."

The Obama campaign issued a lengthy point-by-point response that began with this statement...

“The fact that John McCain dispatched his paid consultant to launch this despicable ad from a so-called ‘independent’ committee shows how desperate he is to change the subject from his shocking disconnect with the economic struggles of the American people.  He knows that Barack Obama has denounced the detestable crimes that Bill Ayers committed forty years ago. Instead of invoking Paris, Britney and obscure sixties radicals, Senator McCain should take the day off at one of his seven homes to consider whether his support for outsourcing, tax breaks for companies who ship jobs overseas and continued spending of ten billion a month in Iraq is really putting ‘country first.’  To us, it sounds like just more of the same.” – Tommy Vietor

Also on August 21 Obama for America General Counsel Robert Bauer wrote a letter to the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice charging the American Issues Project with "flouting" the Federal Election Campaign Act.  Bauer wrote that the organization "is operating as a political committee, with a primary election-influencing purpose that a (c)(4) cannot, by law, have."  Bauer further sent letters to station managers on August 21 and 22 requesting that they not run the ad "which we have shown to be a plain and simple lie."  Additionally, a copyright issue arose.

AIP continued to run the ad through August 29, noting in a press release that despite the "heavy-handed response of the Obama campaign," it "was unsuccessful in getting a single station to pull the ad."

Reports identified Dallas billionaire Harold Simmons as the sole donor to American Issues Project. 

AIP came out with a second ad around October 9, but it was rather tangential ("What Happened?").  On October 21, Democracy 21 filed a complaint with the FEC asking it to investigate whether AIP and another group "made illegal soft money expenditures to influence the 2008 presidential campaign: Democracy 21 further wrote to the IRS asking it to investigate whether AIP violated its tax exempt status.

Observations.  The timing of "Know Enough?" seemed to provide a fortuitous distraction for the McCain campaign.  Earlier on August 21, the day that this ad came out, a kerfuffle broke out over Sen. McCain's response to a reporter that he did not know how many homes he owns.  The Obama campaign and its allies seized on McCain's gaffe and pounded it throughout the day ("Seven");