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Cavuto Gives Airtime to Obama "Willie Horton" Ad

Reported by Melanie - April 23, 2008 -

One of Neil Cavuto's guests today (April 23, 2008) was Floyd Brown, "author of the famous Willie Horton ad used so effectively against Michael Dukakis in 1988." Brown has produced a new ad titled, "Victims," that "aims to upend Obama's relatively strong reputation among Republican voters." "It is absolutely critical that Obama's negatives go up with Republicans," he said in the article linked to above. (And if Obama's negatives go up with Democrats well, I'm sure that's just fine with him too.)

According to ABC, the ad names three victims of Chicago gang violence (which flared dramatically last weekend) but they "are from 7 years ago," when, "the ad points out...Obama voted against expanding the death penalty for gang murders," so therefore if he's "weak" on gang murderers, imagine what a whimp he'll be fighting terrorists.

In airing the segment, Cavuto's objective was to, (1) show the ad and explain its premise to his audience, and (2), to clear John McCain of any culpability in its release. After all, he's running a clean campaign, right? While showing clips of the ad in a split screen over a chyron that read, "Conservative Group Launches Ads Attacking Obama, Clinton," Cavuto said some have charged that the ad is racist (trying to add that "fair and balanced" touch). "This is a serious issue — crime," Brown said. "You can't say every time you talk about crime you're talking about racism. Not all criminals are black and not all criminals are white, but victims are both black and white. This isn't racism. This is about an important issue where Brack Obama has had no leadership — the crime issue."

Cavuto went on to explain the premise of the ad — that if Obama's "weak" on crime he'll be "weak" in dealing with terrorists too, and Floyd reiterated that, "What you have is a pattern of weakness...it's a legitimate issue."

Cavuto then wondered if "any of the McCain people" have talked to Brown or "told you, pull the ad? ... [H]as anyone contacted you" or "expressed frustration or opposition to that?" Brown said, "Neil, that would be a violation of the current campaign finance laws... I'm with an independent committee, I don't have anything to do with their campaign and ah, so I don't expect to be getting any kind of letter from them because that would be a clear violation of the law."

No fight from Cavuto there: "Alright. Floyd Brown. Thank you very much."

(Let's remember Cavuto's blase′attitude the next time MoveOn or some other group releases an ad the GOP doesn't like and they all scream about how Democrats should "renounce" them.)

Comment: Fox might be criticized for airing the ad (who knows, maybe they will air it eventually) so for now, the safest way to get the weak-Obama message out to its audience is to hey — bingo! — do a segment about the ad, run it on a split screen, and talk for two minutes about how weak Obama is on crime and probably on terrorists. The ad runs for 60-seconds. This segment ran longer than that. Looks like Fox gave Brown, John McCain and the Republican party a pretty good deal. And just think, it didn't cost them one red cent.