Witness to damage ads wrought on father’s campaign, Kerry daughter launches super PAC

Few people know better about the potency of political advertising that Alexandra Kerry, who watched her father's presidential campaign decimated in 2004 by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.

The Republican group used a series of searing television ads to proclaim doubts about Senator John Kerry's medal-winning exploits during the Vietnam War.

Eight years later, his elder daughter sees the same thing happening again to President Obama, so she has taken the surprising step of launching her own super PAC.

Dubbed by supporters as an "anti-super PAC super PAC," We the People has a novel goal: to raise money to promote pro-Obama commercials made not by professionals, but average citizens.


The aim is to try to counteract the anti-Obama ad campaigns fueled by GOP-led super PACs as he faces a tight race against Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

"It's the only legal way to help other people tell their stories," Kerry told the Globe as she previewed an announcement of her effort being made this week.

Asked to elaborate, she added: "I think that there's a reason that there are campaign spending limits, and I think the traditional super PACs have been enabled to be somewhat irresponsible with their spending and message. I thought it was interesting to create one in a way that used its resources and its access to power in a different way."

That different way is a website - AdYourVoice.com - to post videos that are subsequently judged in a contest to win a $10,000 honorarium.

While an amateur filmmaker already has access to YouTube, AdYourVoice.com is a clearinghouse for the pro-Obama spots.

"I think there's a huge amount of creativity out there," said Kerry, who went to the American Film Institute after graduating from Brown University. She now has her own company, Locomotive Films, produces movies and television commercials, and she also works on alternative and online advertising for a New York company.


"There are great ideas that people send to me and they just don't have the access to promote them. We hope this is a vehicle to do that."

Glen Johnson can be reached at johnson@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.