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Our Country Deserves Better

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Our Country Deserves Better is a political action committee (PAC) formed to oppose 2008 Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama. According to its website, the PAC opposes Obama for his stances on taxes, national defense, energy policy, immigration and judicial appointments. [1]

Links to Move America Forward

The officers of the Our Country Deserves Better PAC overlap extensively with current and former leaders of the pro-war organization Move America Forward (MAF). These include MAF co-founder and former chair Howard Kaloogian, who chairs the PAC; PR executive Sal Russo, who serves as chief strategist for both MAF and the PAC; Russo Marsh & Rogers principal Joe Wierzbicki, who serves as grassroots coordinator for MAF and coordinates the PAC; and Marine mom Deborah Johns, who is MAF's director of military relations and the PAC's spokesperson. [2]

Tea Party Express

Our Country Deserves Better PAC launched the Tea Party Express national bus tour on August 28th, 2009 to rally "Americans to oppose the out-of-control spending, higher taxes, bailouts, and growth in the size and power of government."[3]

Against climate change legislation, June 2009

In June 2009, Our Country Deserves Better launched a campaign called "stop cap and trade." The conservative PAC claimed that the Waxman-Markey Climate Bill "will saddle Americans with thousands of dollars in new taxes, fees, and and costs each year." [4]

New York special Congressional election, March 2009

In 2009, Our Country Deserves Better endorsed Jim Tedisco, the Republican candidate in a special election for Congress in New York's 20th district. Tedisco's opponent is Democratic candidate Scott Murphy. The special election was called to replace Kirsten Gillibrand, who was appointed to fill the Senate seat left open when Hillary Clinton became Secretary of State. The PAC promised "a large cash infusion" of "'hundreds of thousands' of dollars to Tedisco's cause by the March 31 special election." [5] The associated MAF Freedom PAC also endorsed Tedisco, calling him "a solid conservative" whose election would "chip away at [House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi's anti-military majority" and be the "first step in slowing down the Obama march to abandon the war on terror." [6]

According to CQ Politics, as of two weeks before the election, OCDB's spending was significantly less than "hundreds of thousands" of dollars. "The conservative Our Country Deserves Better PAC, which ran ads against Obama during the 2008 presidential election, has made a small ad buy of $17,000 attacking Murphy," it reported. "A new independent poll on the 20th District contest shows Democratic nominee Scott Murphy, a newcomer candidate, within striking distance of Republican Jim Tedisco, a state Assembly leader." [7]

The nonpartisan campaign watchdog group FactCheck.org criticized OCDB's ads against Murphy. Its analysis of an OCDB ad claiming Murphy is against the U.S. military stated:

Whether he "smeared" the military then is a judgment call we won't address. But we will say that a strongly worded editorial penned 20 years in college is flimsy evidence for a "shameful record of attacking our military." We called Our Country Deserves Better PAC to ask whether the group had any other support for its claim; no one has returned our calls.

FactCheck deemed "misleading" another OCDB ad, which claimed "Murphy's company failed to pay taxes after three liens were placed against it." [8]

Bus tour

In mid to late October 2008, Our Country Deserves Better held a cross-country "Stop Obama" bus tour. At a stop in Nevada, tour participant and talk radio host Mark Williams accused Obama of "rigging" the election. "I'm from Boston," he said. "I know world-class crooks, and I know how to rig an election. And I can tell you that Barack Obama is rigging this election." [9]

At the same rally, the group's director, Deborah Johns, claimed, "Obama would rather eat a box of nails than acknowledge our troops for a job well done. ... My son could have went to college, but he chose to give that up to serve his country, and I'm proud of him. When the call to action came, Barack Obama [did not respond]. He doesn't deserve the title of 'commander-in-chief.'" [9]

At the bus tour's stop in Troy, Michigan, Williams said, "I'm afraid for my country because if Obama wins, we all become chattel. ... But Obama is not going to win." [10]

Ads

The nonpartisan campaign watchdog group FactCheck.org has faulted Our Country Deserves Better's ads. In October 2008, FactCheck noted that the PAC's ads against Barack Obama were based on "charges that fueled months' worth of misleading and false chain e-mails." [11]

In September 2008, Our Country Deserves Better "hit the airwaves with a new ad attacking Barack Obama for not placing his hand over his heart during the pledge of allegiance, showing posters of Che Guevarra [sic] in one of his campaign offices, and digging up footage one of Rev. Jerimiah [sic] Wright’s famously inflamatory [sic] sermons," reported the California Capitol Weekly. "A release from the PAC said the ad will air in several swing states." [12]

In an interview, PAC coordinator Joe Wierzbicki said his group hopes to "raise in excess of $1 million by Election Day," and run ads in "ten states." In regards to the PAC's ad that questions Obama's statements on religion, Wierzbicki asked, "Is Barack Obama's faith the Muslim registration listed by his family when he was a student growing up in Indonesia? Or is it the black liberation theology espoused by Reverend Jeremiah Wright...? Or is it the mainstream Christianity he identified with in the forum hosted by Pastor Rick Warren?" [13]

Wierzbicki claimed Our Country Deserves Better isn't "Swiftboating" Obama, because, for example, "We've not used the photographs of Barack Obama in what some call 'Muslim garb' because the photos by themselves are inconclusive." They also decided, "despite the controversy that her words created," not to "use Michelle Obama's comments about this being the first time in her adult life that she was proud to be an American." [13]

Promoting Palin, post-election

Following the election of Barack Obama on November 4, 2008, the PAC put an poll on its website, asking supporters to weigh in on the group's future. The poll asked the question, "Should we fight on for victory in 2010 and 2012?" and the possible responses were "YES - We must fight for victory!," "NO - We should accept defeat and move on," or "UNDECIDED/UNSURE." [14]

In response to a blogger's question, "What will the Our Country Deserves Better organization focus on now that Obama has won?," Deborah Johns replied: "We do plan to be a watchdog for what happens in the Obama Administration, especially when it comes to matters concerning our military and national defense. We are also going to look at Congressional and Senate issues and hold them accountable as well." [15]

In mid-November, the PAC announced plans to run television ads thanking former Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin, around Thanksgiving. "Over the past few days, about 1,000 people have donated tens of thousands of dollars to Our Country Deserves Better," reported the New York Times election blog on November 11. The PAC's Wierzbicki told the Times that his group felt "there has been 'an absence of a pro-Palin cohort. ... This woman’s reputation is going to be so damaged that she can never be a national political figure,' he added. So the goal of the ad is to 'preserve her options.'" [16]

A local CBS report on the Palin Thanksgiving ad said one of the spot's aims was "to urge her to run for President" in 2012. [17]

Website

The domain name for the Our Country Deserves Better website was registered by Sal Russo on July 22, 2008.[18]

From August 2008 until October 2009, the website itself was designed by Eusatrix Corporation, the company founded by Kelly S. Eustis who is listed on the group's website as its Political Director, and formerly the eCampaign Coordinator.[19] It is now under control of another individual.

Personnel

From the Our Country Deserves Better website: [2]

Former staff:

Contact information

Our Country Deserves Better PAC
8795 Folsom Blvd, Suite 103
Sacramento, CA 95826

Website: http://www.ourcountrydeservesbetter.com

Articles and resources

Related SourceWatch articles

References

  1. "Our beliefs," Our Country Deserves Better PAC website, accessed September 2008.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "About Us - Board and Staff," Our Country Deserves Better PAC website, accessed September 2008.
  3. "Tea Party Express to Air TV Ads Across America Opposing "ObamaCare", Media release, August 10, 2009.
  4. "Campaigns: Stop cap and trade," Our Country Deserves Better website, accessed June 2009.
  5. Roy Edroso, "Upstate Election Draws Big PAC Money, Giuliani," Village Voice blog, March 3, 2009.
  6. "Homepage," MAF Freedom PAC website, accessed March 2009.
  7. Emily Cadei, "Democrat May Be Closing Gap In Special House Election," CQ Politics, March 12, 2009.
  8. Justin Bank, "Upstate Insults Continue...," The FactCheck.org Wire, March 12, 2009.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Matt Farley, "GOP group at Carson City rally claims that Obama 'rigging the election'," Reno Gazette-Journal (Nevada), October 16, 2008.
  10. Kathleen Gray, "Conservative PAC brings Stop Obama Tour to Michigan," Detroit Free Press, October 25, 2008.
  11. Emi Kolawole, "A Spam Metamorphosis," The FactCheck.org Wire, October 28, 2008.
  12. "The Skinny," Capitol Weekly (Sacramento, California), September 18, 2008.
  13. 13.0 13.1 Bill Berkowitz, "Pac man: Our Country Deserves Better PAC aims to 'define' Obama's 'weaknesses' and make him 'an unacceptable choice to serve as our nation's next president and Commander in Chief'," MediaTransparency.com, September 26, 2008.
  14. "Homepage," Our Country Deserves Better website, accessed November 7, 2008.
  15. Michael Swartz, "Ten Questions follow up: Blue Star Mom Deborah Johns," Red County blog: Wicomico County (Maryland), November 6, 2008.
  16. Sarah Wheaton, "Palin's Appeal Proves Durable," New York Times blog "The Caucus," November 11, 2008.
  17. Phil Matier, "Nor Cal Conservatives Thank Palin, Urge 2012 Run," CBS-5 KPIX (San Francisco, California), November 17, 2008.
  18. "ourcountrydeservesbetter.com", Joker.com, accessed September 2008.
  19. "About Us - Board and Staff", Our Country Deserves Better website, accessed September 2008.

External resources

External articles