Reassert the traditional American values of limited government, free enterprise, strong families, and national sovereignty and security.
September 2004 — Citizens United's Web site reads like a commercial promoting President Bush's re-election, a message that is reinforced by the group's paid media communications.
The front page of the group's Web site says, "The left has been attacking our President for months, on everything from tax cuts, to fighting the war on terror, to his service in the National Guard. Citizens United is fighting back." Elsewhere on the site, Citizens United President David Bossie complains that liberal financier George Soros "has declared war on President Bush and his positive agenda for America." Bossie promises to do everything within his power to "run counter-ads in support of the President."1
In May, Citizens United broadcast a television ad that satirically referred to presumptive Democratic nominee John Kerry as a "man of the people," while ticking off the financial values of Kerry's assets.2
The group also is running a pair of commercials on its Web site, "webmercials" in Citizen United's parlance, that feature firefighters praising President Bush for his guidance on national security issues. The page that provides links to the commercials notes that the national firefighters union has endorsed Kerry, but argues that Bush "has secured more funding and support for America's firefighters and law enforcement officers than any other president."3
The organization also ran an ad in March 2003, narrated by former Sen. Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.), which praised President Bush for invading Iraq. "Thank goodness we have a president with the courage to protect our country," Thompson said in the ad.4 That ad was produced by Alex Castellanos, a GOP media consultant who was responsible for a 2000 attack ad against Al Gore that flashed the word "Rats" for a split second while disparaging the vice president’s prescription drug proposals.5 6
Citizens United's recent messages were mild compared to those that the organization's principals produced in previous election seasons. While affiliated with a group called "Americans for Bush," Citizens United Chairman Floyd G. Brown helped create the "Willie Horton" ad that ran in the weeks preceding the 1988 election between George H.W. Bush and Gov. Michael Dukakis (D-Mass.) The ad blamed Dukakis for a furlough program that allowed Horton to spend a weekend out of jail during which he raped a woman.7
"When we're through, people are going to think that Willie Horton is Michael Dukakis' nephew," Brown told the Washington Post at the onset of that ad campaign.