Sen. John Kerry is calling on Democrats to help presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama avoid the fate he endured in the 2004 election -- "swiftboating" by political foes.
In an e-mail sent out Tuesday to Obama's supporters, Kerry wrote:
"I support Barack Obama because he doesn't seek to perfect the politics of Swiftboating -- he seeks to end it.
"This is personal for me, and for a whole lot of Americans who lived through the 2004 election.
As a veteran, it disgusts me that the Swift Boats we loved while we were in uniform on the Mekong Delta have been rendered, in Karl Rove's twisted politics, an ugly verb meaning to lie about someone's character just to win an election. But as someone who cares about winning this election and changing the country I love, I know it's not enough to complain about a past we can't change when our challenge is to win the future -- which is why we must stop the Swiftboating, stop the push-polling, stop the front groups, and stop the email chain smears.
"The truth matters, but how you fight the lies matters even more. We must be determined never again to lose any election to a lie.
"This year, the attacks are already starting. Some of you may have heard about the disgusting lies about Barack Obama that are being circulated by email. These attacks smear Barack's Christian faith and deep patriotism, and they distort his record of more than two decades of public service. They are nothing short of "Swiftboat" style anonymous attacks.
"These are the same tactics the right has used again and again, and as we've learned, these attacks, no matter how bogus, can spread and take root if they go unchecked.
"But not this time -- we're fighting back.
"And when I say 'we,' I mean that literally. I know Barack is committed to fighting every smear every time. He'll fight hard and stand up for the truth. But he can't do it alone.
"We need you to email the truth to your address books. Print it out and post it at work. Talk to your neighbors. Call your local radio station. Write a letter to the editor. If lies can be spread virally, let's prove to the cynics that the truth can be every bit as persuasive as it is powerful. ...
"Barack Obama is committed to bringing our country together to meet the challenges we face, but he knows that power gives up nothing without a struggle -- and to win the chance to change America, we must first defeat the hateful tactics that have been used to tear us apart for too long. ...
"The fight is just heating up -- we won't let them steal this election with lies and distortions."
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