Obama Could Get 'Swift Boated'

Rick Sloan says he doesn't want to see the Democrats get "Swift Boated" again this time. So the communications director for the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers has sent a couple of dozen friends — union leaders and Democratic activists, mainly — an urgent plea to pay attention to Sen. Barack Obama's connections with the 1960s anti-war group, the Weather Underground, and other leftist thinkers.

Democrats "can't be an ostrich on this" with their heads buried in the sand, Sloan said in an interview.

He sent a copy of the memo to ABC News by e-mail.

Titled "What Is Rove Up To?," Sloan writes that Rove will seek to redefine Obama's signature slogan "Change We Can Believe In" and brand it instead as "revolutionary change, change driven by an alien ideology, change no patriotic American could stomach. And he intends to do so by channeling Sen. Joseph McCarthy."

The IAMAW endorsed Clinton last year, and Sloan is an avid Clinton supporter. The document makes no mention of Sloan's position with the union, and he told ABC News he sent it as a private citizen, not in his role as a spokesman for the union.

"Democratic operatives ought to be aware of what the Republican attack machine has been doing for two weeks," Sloan said in the interview.

He compared the timing of his memo to the time frame in 2004 when the group Swift Boat Veterans for Truth registered its Web site domain and began making plans to take down former presidential candidate John Kerry, D-Mass. "This is history repeating itself," Sloan said.

In the memo, Sloan lays out the case he believes Republicans are making and would make against Obama if he were the Democratic nominee, linking the senator to Weather Underground founders Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn.

nullPlay
null

"According to Weatherman communiqués and papers compiled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation into a 403 page summary, Ayers and Dohrn toed the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist line. They were hardcore Communists bent on world revolution," Sloan writes.

"Ayers and Dohrn were responsible for bombings of the US State Department, US Capitol, the Pentagon, the National Guard Headquarters and nineteen other sites. Two other Weathermen, the parents of Ayers and Dohrn's adopted son, Chelsa, were convicted of murdering two policemen and a security guard during a Brinks truck robbery," he says.

Sloan says Rove and Republicans would "eviscerate" Obama if he were the Democratic presidential candidate. He recalls links that have been reported in the press between Obama and Ayers and brings up other leftist leaders and ideologues.

"Rove's frame for the fall campaign will be filled with revolutionary figures -- Marx, Lenin, Mao, Ho Chi Minh and Che Guevara. His audio tapes of Ayers, Dohrn and other Weathermen will provide the screams of revolution. The bombing of the US Capitol, the Pentagon and the US State Department will serve as b-roll for his television ads that will have one final visual as the announcer gravely intones 'Their Change -- Not What You Had In Mind?'" he predicts.

Asked about Sloan's memo, Clinton campaign communications director Howard Wolfson said he took no responsibility for Sloan's language.

"Rick is a supporter," Wolfson said. "He is acting on his own in this instance. It is not something we endorse."

Wolfson did say, however, that Obama's answer to a question about his connections to Ayers in a televised debate last week "was not as forthcoming as it should have been."

A spokesman for Sen. Obama dismissed the Sloan document as nothing more than negative campaigning.

"Hillary Clinton has set the gold standard for negative campaigning, and these sorts of tactics have been rejected repeatedly, all over the country," said Bill Burton, spokesman for Obama.