Federal Politics

Published — August 1, 2012 Updated — May 19, 2014 at 12:19 pm ET

Daily Disclosure: Misleading ad seeks to scare voters away from Obama

Funding behind spot unknown

Introduction

“You know,” she says, closing her laptop and shaking her head, “It seems these days, not a single one of us steps on a train, boards an airplane, attends a concert or a sporting event that doesn’t have at least a fleeting concern that terror could strike.”

It sounds like this suburban woman is speaking in the days after 9/11. And in fact, footage of the planes hitting the twin towers does flash across the screen.

But the ad, from the nonprofit Secure America Now, was released just this week. “Are We Safer Now? ”blasts President Barack Obama for undermining American security in a litany of ways, including wanting to close Guantanamo Bay (which he didn’t), ending “enhanced interrogation techniques” and closing the CIA’s “black sites,” secretive prisons overseas outside America’s legal jurisdiction.

The ad ends with footage of burning cars, burning buildings, and then — an explosion.

Reminiscent of former National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice’s statement, “We don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud,” the fear-mongering ad doesn’t mention Mitt Romney, Obama’s November opponent for president. Instead, it calls on viewers to visit its “Are We Safer?” website so you can “learn the facts.”

The ad is rife with false and misleading statements. Among the most egregious:

  • Israel: Obama has not “all but abandoned Israel,” as the ad claims, though he and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have had their differences.
  • Iran: Iran does not have a “nuclear bomb,” as the ad insinuates, nor does it have intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of hitting the United States, though it does have an active missile development program.
  • Apologies: The ad hits Obama for being an apologist for America and not believing in American exceptionalism. This has been a common theme among conservatives. But according to a Washington Post analysis, the “apologies” commonly cited are not actually apologies when looked at in full. Instead, they are statements in which Obama was trying to distance himself from the former administration, a common tactic when the presidency shifts parties.
  • Black sites: While the CIA’s network has been dismantled, secret prisons overseas remain. Last April, the Associated Press reported there are as many as 20 “temporary” secret prisons in Afghanistan.
  • Osama bin Laden: The ad implies “enhanced interrogation techniques” at the black sites led to bin Laden. In fact, it is still unclear whether this was the case. Officials did confirm that at least some intelligence regarding bin Laden came from these prisons.

Secure America Now’s website claims it has a membership of 2 million “national security activists” from all over the political spectrum who “support policies that will protect our nation against terrorist infiltration, attack, and capitulation to our enemies.”

The group was founded in 2011 by pollsters John McLaughlin and Pat Caddell according to the Institute for Policy Studies, a progressive think tank.

McLaughlin and Caddell performed several much-criticized surveys for the group. One poll showed Obama was losing support among Jewish voters. The Washington Post called the poll “laughably bogus” for its skewed sample and leading questions. Another, which showed Americans identifying Iran as a top security threat, was also criticized for its poor polling techniques by Politco and Salon.

Because of its status as a nonprofit corporation, Secure America Now is not required to reveal its donors, nor has it reported how much it is spending on the ad.

Secure America Now also released an ad in early July, which Politifact called “mostly false” for its assertions that, once again, Obama apologized for America and showed weakness toward Iran.

In other outside spending news:

  • Pro-Ron Paul super PAC, Endorse Liberty, has clearly shifted to congressional races. It spent $49,000 on online ads supporting Republican U.S. House candidates Jessica Puente Bradshaw and Steve Stockman in Texas, along with Ted Cruz, the tea party candidate who won Tuesday’s GOP Senate runoff in Texas.
  • Crossroads GPS, a conservative nonprofit, spent $11 million on its new ad “News,” which opposes Obama and criticizes the pace of the economic recovery. It will air in nine swing states (Florida, Iowa, Colorado, North Carolina, Michigan, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio and Virginia) for 10 days.
  • Prosperity for Michigan, a super PAC supporting Clark Durant in the GOP U.S. Senate primary in Michigan, spent $105,000 on TV ads in favor of Durant, who founded a group of charter and independent schools in inner-city Detroit.
  • The Republican Jewish Coalition, a conservative Jewish nonprofit organization, released “Backtrack” on Tuesday, dealing with Obama’s statements on Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. It is part of their $6.5 million “Buyer’s Remorse” campaign.
  • Florida-based Conservative Values Project spent $100,000 supporting Henry “Trey” Radel III, a Republican candidate for U.S. House from Florida’s 14th District. Radel, a tea party favorite, is running for the seat being vacated by Rep. Connie Mack, who has endorsed Radel.
  • Service Employees International Union PEA, a super PAC of the union, reported yesterday spending $1.4 million on new ads supporting seven Democratic congressional candidates and Obama on July 29. The money paid for staffers’ salaries and canvass-related expenses, according to the FEC report.
  • SEIU COPE, a political action committee of the union, reported spending $124,000 on canvass literature and TV ad buys in support of Obama and Democratic candidates Tammy Baldwin, who is running for U.S. Senate in Wisconsin, and Christie Vilsack, who is running for U.S. House in Iowa’s 4th District.
  • The Federal Election Commission reported the organization of four new super PACs: Fightin’ 9th PAC in Newport, Va., Working for Working Americans (United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners) in Las Vegas, Zombies of Tomorrow in Orlando, Fla., and Defeat Romney 2012 in New Orleans.
  • Update (Aug. 1, 2012 at 3:45 p.m.): The bullet point noting the uncertainty surrounding the intelligence that led to bin Laden was added.

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SOUTH JERSEYTed SiroisMark SullivanTom LarkinAnonymous Recent comment authors
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Mark Sullivan
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Mark Sullivan

Trump needs to conduct these activities because the entire MSM media, excluding Fox, is campaigning against him 24/7/365.

Didn’t Monica’s boyfriend’s wife and various criminal enterprises outspend Trump by almost 2-1?

CapitalistRoader
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CapitalistRoader

Why wouldn’t he get an early start on fund raising? Hillary outspent him two-to-one in 2016. The Dem’s are the party of big money. The President knows this and is attempting to get a jump on it. Of course the Dem candidate will outspend him in 2020 so it’s only rational that he starts fund raising now.

George Young
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George Young

Oh brother. We just 8 years of the Campaigner – in – Chief. Where was this journalistic rectal thermometer then. Just another article about 2000 words too long that merely takes another slap at Trump for something he far from initiated.

j stevenson
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j stevenson

The big difference between Trump and all the rest is his refusing to accept funds from lobbyists, so they don’t have the White House access they are used to. These are the donors who buy the presidency and are as pixxed off that he won the election as are the media and the Dems. Lobbyists have never been shut out of the WH and Trump has told them he is not for sale.

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Trump needs to be impeached and tossed in prison. Then have the key thrown away so he will never be free. Then he can see how it feels not to have freedom.

Mark Sullivan
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Mark Sullivan

Thank you for the usual insightful leftist low IQ Snowflake response.

barney
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hes not imprisoning them hes sending them back to their country chill tf out

SOUTH JERSEY
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SOUTH JERSEY

WHY DONT YOU HAVE FREEDOM?

Tom Larkin
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Tom Larkin

First, something positive. I was happy to learn of empirical information in article. BUT, the article was so slanted against President Trump as to be deemed fake news (“Perhaps Trump just lied.” (Two different issues)). The article mentions that President Trump raised over $67 million, but ended 2018 with $19 million. President Trump spent over $40 million 2016 and 2017. President Trump conducted 57 political rallies. The article notes the hats and T-shirts sold, but NEVER MENTIONS THE INCREASE IN THE NUMBER OF REPUBLICAN SENATORS during a mid-term election that lost the House and the number of political rallies in… Read more »

Ted Sirois
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Ted Sirois

At least Trump is getting donations from willing donors. Fresh from his first election, Obama used billions of our children’s tax dollars to save thousands of union jobs in the car industry and bailed out the banks and many Wall Street businesses. This secured his source of reelection funds for his reelection four years later.

South Jersey
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South Jersey

TRUMP 2020; IS AN AMAZINGLY SMART MAN! VERY ORIGINAL & CREATIVE. I AM HAPPY TO HAVE HIS AS POTUS.

SOUTH JERSEY
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SOUTH JERSEY

THIS ARTICLE WAS OBVIOUSLY WRITTEN BY, A TRUMP-HATE-GROUP. THAT FEELS; IT IS NOT NORMAL TO BE SUCCESSFUL WITH YOUR OWN BRAND NAME. WHEN, IF FACT, IT IS NORMAL! >>>>> THIS IS >>> FAKE NEWS!!! <<<< ie: A PACK-OF-LIES; SPUN INTO; DEFAMATION OF CHARACTER. FOR A SINISTER-AGENDA OF; FASCIST DEMOCRATIC SOCIALIST, COUP D'ETAT

David
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David

Are you on some kind of drugs? Writing in caps makes me think that you are grumpy old fart or a uneducated hillbilly.