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Crossposted with permission from Colorado Confidential, a new online political news daily.

Many people heard about the controversial national Democratic fundraising ad aired earlier this month showing images of American flag-draped coffins, along with the message that it is time for a change in the Washington guard.

Lesser known is the Republican National Congressional Committee's effort to capitalize on the debate by putting extreme heat to denounce the ads on Democratic candidates around the country -- including in Colorado's Congressional District 5, where war veteran Jay Fawcett is mounting his campaign.

Problem is, the RNCC didn't actually notify Fawcett or other candidates of their demands. Those were instead delivered via a relentless nine-day media blitz -- and long after the ads were no longer on the air.

On Thursday, July 13, the RNCC e-mailed a press release to media outlets across Colorado, in which its communications director, Carl Forti, was quoted saying the following:

Washington Democrats have gone beyond the pale of acceptable political discourse by exploiting the ultimate sacrifice of U.S. soldiers in order to raise campaign cash. If Jay Fawcett wants to be known as a serious candidate who supports our men and women fighting so bravely abroad and the families of those who have fallen, he ought to say whether it is appropriate to exploit fallen heroes as fundraising hooks.

This is what came from the RNCC the next day:

DAY TWO: Still silence from Veteran Fawcett

If Jay Fawcett wants to be known as a serious candidate and as someone who supports our troops, he would have immediately condemned this fundraising tactic," Forti wrote in a virtual repeat of the day before. "Jay Fawcett's silence on this issue is deafening.

And so the press releases came from the RNCC, for seven more days:

DAY THREE: Jay Fawcett Still Silent
DAY FOUR: Jay Fawcett Still Silent
DAY FIVE: Jay Fawcett Still Silent
DAY SIX: Jay Fawcett's Utter Silence
DAY SEVEN: Jay Fawcett's Utter Silence
DAY EIGHT: Jay Fawcett's Utter Silence
DAY NINE: Jay Fawcett Still Silent

On the ninth day, July 21, Fawcett responded to the firestorm. Turns out a phone call from this reporter was the first he'd heard of any of it. Yes, he knew about the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's controversial ad. But, the Republican demands -- that Fawcett personally answer for them -- were completely new to him.

"I didn't know the Republicans were in such an uproar," said Fawcett, an Air Force Academy graduate who served in Desert Storm. "They haven't contacted me."

Then, Fawcett joked, "I guess they figure I should be hitting (the RNCC's) website."

Then, Fawcett got serious about the ad.

War is an emotional issue, and anytime anyone perceives that war is being used for promotional purposes, it's a concern. On the other side, that's the cost when you send people to war. People come back in coffins; that's what happens. Some will view [the ad] as abusive of the men and women who have served, and other people will see it as cost of war. The bottom line is, commercials are commercials. What congress needs to do, and that's why I'm running, is step forward with leadership and do its job.

Then, Fawcett offered another joke: "I'm gonna go back to being silent now..."

From Washington, NRCC spokesman Alex Burgos confirmed the Republican group had not actually contacted Fawcett or his campaign during their nine-day attack blitz against him. Nor had they given a heads up to other Democratic war veterans running for Congress this year -- who were similarly targeted during the RDCC's nine-day press release war.

"We think it's a question that is important for the media to ask," was Burgos' explanation. "Our effort with regard to this video is to ask every Democrat what the video is and to urge each candidate to tell voters what their position is on using caskets as fundraising props."

In other words, the National Republican Congressional Committee was attempting to embarrass Democratic candidates. Next time, they might consider going straight to the source -- instead of trying to manipulate the media to do its bidding.

Originally posted to em dash on Tue Jul 25, 2006 at 05:32 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  too good not to share (6+ / 0-)

    Sorry for the blog whoring.

    Unbossed--a dangerous blog for dangerous times.

    by em dash on Tue Jul 25, 2006 at 05:26:01 PM PDT

    •  give the Confidant some love (0+ / 0-)

      Cara did a great job on this story.

      Registration required. No waiting. Post right away.  

      Unbossed--a dangerous blog for dangerous times.

      by em dash on Tue Jul 25, 2006 at 05:46:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  outrage (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ama, gatorcog, Battling Maxo, ms badger

        "Washington Democrats have gone beyond the pale of acceptable political discourse by exploiting the ultimate sacrifice of U.S. soldiers in order to raise campaign cash."

        Where is the outrage about the administration misusing the facts and lying about Jessica Lynch and Pat Tilley for political gain?

        Also, which is worse: causing the ultimate sacrifice by US troops or using the fact that they were sacrificed as a result of lies and a policy of woeld domination to argue against that sacrifice?

        •  Political Hypocracy (0+ / 0-)

          Before the general concencious that the war in Iraq was just plain wrong and FUBAR, the Republicans campaigned around the clock on 911.  If you watch the 2003 Rupublican National Covention, its the only thing they talk about, 911 and terrorists.  To me that was trying to make political gains on the backs of the 2,743 that died that day.  But now they the war in Iraq is a well known blunder and they hold onto the the war as if its their political liferaft; they demonize Democrats for speaking up and say that the Republicans screwed up royally and in reality calling my opponants on thier major fuck ups is my democratic right, neigh my responsibility.

          Politicians only care about the constituants that actually vote.

          by Dystopia on Thu Jul 27, 2006 at 08:56:09 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Silent... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TracieLynn, shirah, dufffbeer

    but deadly...

    SquareState.net - The Daily Kos of Colorado
    (-5.38/-4.36)

    by pacified on Tue Jul 25, 2006 at 05:30:24 PM PDT

    •  Indeed (0+ / 0-)

      I would've thought after the Swift Boat bullshit, Democrats would know to respond right away. Jim Webb definitely learned that lesson. Seems like Fawcett still has a little to learn.

      Deny My Freedom
      "Inconvenient truths do not go away just because they are not seen." -Al Gore

      by PsiFighter37 on Tue Jul 25, 2006 at 05:33:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  no (0+ / 0-)

        I got the impression his silence was a good thing. He has more important items on his plate. He's not monitoring the republican tizzies.

        I could be wrong, but that is my take.

        "All My Heroes Have Always Been Democrats" -- Al Rodgers (and me too now that he mentions it).

        by OLinda on Tue Jul 25, 2006 at 05:37:51 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Wrong (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        OLinda, Hiroprotag

        It would have been worse to be lured into a defense. Their dudgeon didn't deserve the response they were jonesing for.

        Let the great world spin for ever down the ringing grooves of change. - Tennyson

        by bumblebums on Tue Jul 25, 2006 at 05:38:38 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  it's hard to fight (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bumblebums

        when nobody actually calls for a throw-down. Damn, even in a chickenfight, somebody's gotta say "fight".

        How was Jay supposed to even know to respond until one of our reporters called him about it?

        Unbossed--a dangerous blog for dangerous times.

        by em dash on Tue Jul 25, 2006 at 05:39:18 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  What would the lesson be? (4+ / 0-)

        Should Jay spend his time monitoring republican websites?  
        Here in Colorado Springs we already have our hands full dealing with an openly biased to the right press, a two to one party affiliation not in favor of dems, and a lack of belief than any dem can be the David to go up against the republican Goliath who resides right here in the Springs!

        Yet Jay and his team are doing an amazing job against all odds. A little moral (and financial) support from progressives across the country would go a long way.....

        Our government... teaches the whole people by its example.  If the government becomes the lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy.  ~Justice Louis Dembitz Brandeis

      •  Silence is golden (0+ / 0-)

        Answering the GOP charges would be acknowledging them as legitimate and give them too much credibility. He's right for not stooping to their level.

        She was only a moonshiner's daughter, but she always made me liquer - Rev. Billy C. Wirtz

        by gatorcog on Thu Jul 27, 2006 at 08:17:04 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  The 'debate'? (0+ / 0-)

    There is no debate.

    People are not talking about that ad over the coffee machine at work.

  •  Our Soldiers deserve recognition (6+ / 0-)

    This is incredible to me.  These people died fighting the war they were ordered to fight. They deserve every recognition for their sacrifices that we can give.  

    At the very least, every newscast that day should begin with something like this:

    Camera Pointing into the back of the cargo plane, Flag draped coffin(s) coming down the ramp.

    News Anchor :  Staff Sargent (name) returned home for the last time today.  Skip, as he was known, died from wounds incurred on in an IED attack in Mosul on Thursday.  He leaves behind a loving wife and two daughters, ages 7 and 3.  

    Also returning home today, Private 1st Class ....

    Repeat until everyone rises up and shouts, "BRING THEM ALL HOME"

    That's the proper way to respect our beloved husbands, wives, sisters, brothers and children who have given all that there is to give.

    There is no need to ascribe to evil that which can be explained by greed.

    by StupendousMan on Wed Jul 26, 2006 at 08:54:34 PM PDT

    •  I agree completely. (8+ / 0-)

      Not showing the cost of war is something like those shows on TV, and movies, that depict someone getting shot.  And there's a neat little round hole, or some blood on the shirt, or even just a good pratfall, and someone is dead.

      It's affected kids, desensitized them.  There's something to be said for showing the gore of a body ripped open, even if it's special effects.  At least it doesn't leave the impression, on the impressionable, that shooting is a neat (meaning you don't get splattered) way to simplify your life by making someone disappear quietly.

      That's what the coffins were doing, and that's what all the screaming and yelling was about. The Republicans want Iraq to remain abstract, patriotic, all the things it's not.  That ad showed the real human cost, and the humans that we've lost.  To honor them, the ad should have stayed on.

      By the way, Jay Fawcett's remark about going back to being silent was classic.  This is what we've been talking about.  Don't respond to the Republican red herring idiocy.  Keep on truckin' to the issues that WE bring to the discussion.

      She didn't know it couldn't be done, so she went ahead and did it.

      by Boadicaea on Wed Jul 26, 2006 at 09:15:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  duhhh (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Phoenix Woman, gogol
    First of all they shouldn't have pulled the ad.

    Second of all they need rapid response.  There is no excuse for not having staying aware of the oppo web site all the time.  Fawcett's team had an intelligence failure almost as bad as Bush's before 9/11, and it is blameworthy.

    •  give the campaign a call (4+ / 0-)

      and offer to help them with Rapid Response.

      Not sure if you know the situation in Colo Springs. Fawcett is out-manned and out-gunned in Fort Dobson. With six (count 'em, six!) Republicans trying to out wingnut one another, it's tough to keep up with the local stuff let alone national groups.

      Check these out >> Pepperball Guns Are Optional and Fawcett Insists He'll Crash VFW "Debate".

      I'm sure the Fawcett for Congress campaign would appreciate your input and assistance.

      Unbossed--a dangerous blog for dangerous times.

      by em dash on Wed Jul 26, 2006 at 10:03:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Wrong (0+ / 0-)

      See my post above.  Ignoring this bullshit is good.

      She was only a moonshiner's daughter, but she always made me liquer - Rev. Billy C. Wirtz

      by gatorcog on Thu Jul 27, 2006 at 08:18:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  If ignoring the bullshit was good (0+ / 0-)

        Kerry would be president.  No actually he wouldn't, Gore would be serving his second term.  Both of those guys ignored the bullshit and we see where it got them.

        •  apples and oranges (0+ / 0-)

          Fawcett was never contacted and did not know he was being targeted by te RNCC. Kerry was directly faced the Swift Boat lies for weeks and chose not to address it on the agonizingly bad advice of his consultants.

          Two completely different situations.

          Unbossed--a dangerous blog for dangerous times.

          by em dash on Sat Jul 29, 2006 at 10:39:50 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'm not impressed by that answer (0+ / 0-)

            or by the one about "ignoring the bullshit".  It doesn't speak well of Fawcett as a candidate.  I want officeholders who get things done, not make excuses.

            •  as I said earlier (0+ / 0-)

              Don't bitch but help the guy out. He's an excellent candidate in a very tough district.

              For all intents and purposes this race is a referendum on James Dobson's ability to buy a Congressman.

              If you can do some national media reconnaisance for the campaign, then please contact Fawcett for Congress today.

              This particular situation is water under the bridge. Let's move forward and give Jay a fighting chance that explicitly rejects Dobson's political aspirations. Even Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell don't have their own bought and paid for representative.

              Unbossed--a dangerous blog for dangerous times.

              by em dash on Sat Jul 29, 2006 at 08:45:06 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  If I spend significant time helping any campaign (0+ / 0-)

                this season, it will be Lamont vs Lieberman.  If Fawcett is running a serious campaign at all, he should be able to ask the people already involved with it to keep an eye on the internet, ''especially'' to the official web sites of his opponents.  That you have to resort to asking for help from totally uninvolved, faraway internet nerds like me is a bad sign.  If his existing campaign and volunteers are so overstretched as to be able to do something that basic, I don't see how he can beat his opponents.

                I extend Fawcett my best wishes but I have to choose my battles.

                •  Ned v Joe is an important race (0+ / 0-)

                  I respect your point and am glad to see you involved in a critical campaign.

                  But I think you're reading too much into this one situation regarding Jay's campaign.

                  Since you're not a Coloradan, here's the skinny on the district:

                  CO-05 is dominated by Colorado Springs, which makes up most of the population of the district. In addition, the district encompasses Chaffee, Lake, Park, Teller, and Fremont Counties. Colorado Springs is home to the USOC and Olympic Training Center.

                  Republican electorate: 45.8%
                  Democratic electorate: 21.5%
                  Independent electorate: 32.3%

                  This is a difficult area for Dems to win but important to wage a tough fight if for nothing else to damage Dobson's political future and to make the GOP spend a lot of money so they can't direct it elsewhere.

                  For all that is working against him, Fawcett and his campaign staff are running a Herculean effort.

                  Unbossed--a dangerous blog for dangerous times.

                  by em dash on Sun Jul 30, 2006 at 10:39:25 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

  •  They might, but they won't, so hopefully (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Heart of the Rockies

    reporters like yourself will ask the candidates sooner.

    Be good to each other. It matters.

    by AllisonInSeattle on Wed Jul 26, 2006 at 09:41:34 PM PDT

  •  Jay's silence speaks volumes. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Phoenix Woman, ms badger

      He is bright and energetic and hugely qualified. I already donated after speaking with him at YK and have his race on my personal watch list.
      But the point about offering to help an underfunded challenger monitor media, research opponents' voting records, even write issue briefs if you are an expert, is well taken.

  •  What every candidate should (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gatorcog, BB10, ms badger, Tailspinterry

    say is

    The bottom line is, War is an emotional issue, and anytime anyone perceives that war is being used for promotional purposes, it's a concern. On the other side, that's the cost when you send people to war. People come back in coffins; that's what happens. Some will view [the ad] as abusive of the men and women who have served, and other people will see it as cost of war. The bottom line is, commercials are commercials. What congress needs to do, and that's why I'm running, is step forward with leadership and do its job.

    then:
    Let's talk cuts in VA benefits for the war disabled, for widows and thier kids.
    Let's talk about education in America for those who have lost a parent in the military.
    Even without the war, there are lots of issues out there. Let's get over your indignation, and talk issues.
    Then talk plan, noting that it is difficult to plan when the country is bankrupt.

  •  Sorry that I'm late to your diary, but I wanted (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tailspinterry

    you to know I love Jay Fawcett's reply:

    War is an emotional issue, and anytime anyone perceives that war is being used for promotional purposes, it's a concern. On the other side, that's the cost when you send people to war. People come back in coffins; that's what happens. Some will view [the ad] as abusive of the men and women who have served, and other people will see it as cost of war. The bottom line is, commercials are commercials. What congress needs to do, and that's why I'm running, is step forward with leadership and do its job.

    It was/is OK with the GOPers when Bush used the 9/11 fightfighters' funerals in his ad, when Bush used the Iraqi Olympic team in his ad, and when he constantly USES our military for his speeches and photo ops.

    Maybe we should be asking each and every GOPer in Congress whether they are willing to condemn Coulter's despicable behavior toward 9/11 widows?  Make them say yeah or nay!

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