WASHINGTON -- The Obama campaign on Thursday dispatched e-mails to supporters to “respond quickly and powerfully to attacks from the other side” and enlisted Senator John Kerry, whose 2004 presidential campaign was partly doomed by attacks on his military service, to deliver the message.
“I have one message burned into my memory for everyone who cares about the outcome of this year’s presidential election,” Kerry says in the fund-raising e-mail.
“We’ve got to step up and fight back before it’s too late.”
The e-mail followed a clinical, eviscerating attack on the president’s record from Paul Ryan, the Republicans’ vice presidential nominee, at their convention in Tampa.
Kerry, a Massachusetts Democrat, struggled in 2004 to respond to ads by a group calling itself “Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.” Despite sinking approval ratings for President George W. Bush because of the war in Iraq, Kerry’s status as a decorated Vietnam War veteran was attacked by the group and he went on to lose the election.
It was an early example of how outside groups can influence elections, and perhaps a harbinger for things to come.
“What makes 2012 different from when I ran for president in 2004 is that the other side doesn’t have to wait for an outside group to come along with false attacks,” Kerry said. “Consider this: Swift Boat Veterans for Truth spent about $23 million on smear ads against me in 2004. “
The e-mail is part of a series of fund-raising appeals sent out by the Obama campaign to build its campaign war chest against former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, who will be addressing the Republican National Convention Thursday night.
“If you tune in to the convention, you’ll see that Mitt Romney and his allies have no qualms about misleading voters if it means defeating President Obama,” Kerry said.
“But their attacks won’t work if enough people step up to protect the president’s record. Don’t let them get away with it.”
Kerry has taken an active role in the president’s reelection campaign, hosting fund-raisers and speaking as a surrogate on global affairs.
Kerry, who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, will deliver a speech on national security during the closing night of next week’s Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.
The senator is also serving as a stand-in for Romney in debate preparations.
Kerry is widely considered a potential secretary of state if Obama wins reelection.