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Monday, July 24, 2006

Forced Abortions Ad Used by Casey Cagle that Torpedoed Ralph Reed's Campaign

The ad is called "Truth" (video here), paid for the Casey Cagle campaign, and when analysed by the Annenburg Center's "Fact Check" found to be true. This is the hard hitting ad that torpedoed Ralph Reed's campaign.

Marianas Abortion and Prostitution?

The Cagle ad also says "Reed worked with Abramoff to deny women and children legal protection from sweat shops in the Northern Mariana Islands . . . even though our government warned that women on the islands were subject to forced abortions and children were coerced into prostitution." That's also true, though Reed says he wasn't aware of the concerns about abortion and prostitution.

Abramoff lobbied against legislation to impose federal wage and worker-safety standards on garment factories in the Northern Mariana Islands, where Chinese workers were brought in to produce clothing labeled "Made in the USA." Abramoff received just over $4 million for this work from 1998 through 2002.

On May 29 the Washington Post broke the story that Reed, an old friend of Abramoff since college days, had been hired to help in this effort as well. The newspaper described a flyer sent by Reed's marketing firm in 1999 urging Alabama conservative Christians to contact Bob Riley, then a member of the House, to vote against the legislation opposed by Abramoff. The flyer said the legislation would stop Chinese workers from coming to the island where they are "exposed to the teachings of Jesus Christ" and where many "are converted to the Christian faith and return to China with Bibles in hand."

As Cagle's ad says, however, the US Interior Department had found a year earlier that female Chinese garment workers were pressured to have abortions if they became pregnant, and that women and children were being forced into prostitution on the island. In a statement March 31, 1998, President Clinton's Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt said, "We . . . have evidence that at least some of the Chinese workers, when they become pregnant, are given a three-way choice: go home to China, get a back-alley abortion on Saipan, or get fired."

Reed's story is that he was unaware of reports that women were being mistreated, and was only working "to promote the propagation of the gospel" among Chinese workers on the island. Reed's spokeswoman Lisa Baron confirmed to the Post that Abramoff hired Reed's marketing firm for the effort. But she added, "As a defender of the unborn, Ralph was unaware of any allegations regarding inhumane or illegal treatment of workers, and he would strongly object to such practices, if true."

Ad copy. You can view the ad here thanks to the Annenburg Center:

Casey Cagle Ad: "Truth"

Announcer: Ralph Reed sold out our conservative values and is lying about Casey Cagle to hide it.
(Text On-Screen: "Ralph Reed Lying to Hide his Record")
Announcer: Ralph Reed took millions from convicted felon Jack Abramoff to help casinos.
(On Screen: "Reed Fees Paid by Casinos" - Atlanta Journal Constitution Nov. 3, 2005, "Reed Confirms Fees from Indian Casino Lobbyists" - Atlanta Journal Constitution Nov. 3 2005)
Announcer: And Reed worked with Abramoff to deny women and children legal protection from sweat shops in the Mariana Islands, a U.S. territory.
(On Screen: Reed Denied Women and Children Protection from Sweat Shops" Washington Post May 29, 2006)
Announcer: Even though our government warned that women on the Islands were subjected to forced abortions and children were coerced into prostitution.
(On Screen: "Forced Abortions" "Prostitution" - Washington Post May 29, 2006)
Announcer: Ralph Reed, his values are for sale.
(On Screen: "See The Proof"

There are interesting comments over at Peach Pundit, a blog which covers Georgia politics. One links to more background on the Cagle ad which backs up the claims made by the ad.

Support of Forced Abortions

July 12, 2006 at 9:20 am · By Erick · Filed under Primaries, Republicans, Lt. Governor

I thought and think that the Cagle ad about Reed and the Mariana Islands is effective, if only for the tag line "his values are for sale." That line really drives home the point. I'm having to rethink that slightly.

With political season and early voting in full swing, I went downtown to a local eatery after hearing Maurice Atkinson on AM 940 this morning defending the ad. It seems that most people I eavesdropped on had been listening too (Kenny & Jami are popular with the political set around here), or had at least seen or heard the commercial. The Cagle supporters were having trouble defending the ad except by saying that Ralph Reed did support and/or encourage the rapes and forced abortions. I don’t think that’s exactly what Cagle meant, but that seems to be how the commercial is being defended by his supporters.

The problem with that is that no one seriously believes that Ralph Reed *supported* or *encouraged* rapes and forced abortions. This is one of those issues that I think Cagle has done a good job making the case for, but I'm starting to think that the issue is so complicated that it is difficult for the average Cagle supporter to defend it without the issue losing credibility. Consequently, it is making the attacks in general lose their credibility — crossing into a "we just hate Ralph" attack as opposed to a "his values are for sale and we need someone better" attack.


LeftOFLeft said,

July 12, 2006 @ 9:37 am

a redneck commercial for Cagle

hit em in the collarbone
jack em in the jaw
send em to the cemetery
rah! rah! rah!
The Busdriver said,

July 12, 2006 @ 9:38 am

You're missing the point. At no point has anyone claimed Ralph ecouraged forced abortions or endorsed coerced prostitution.

What Cagle IS saying is that Ralph knew the sweat shop masters were guilty of these sins, and yet Ralph still worked to provide the sweat shop masters with political cover.

Ralph knew all that was going on, but he took the money anyway. THAT is the point they’re making, and that is a point that registers.

As Ralph has said many, many times: "This is a piece of business I should have turned down."
BahamaBoy said,

July 12, 2006 @ 9:42 am

As Ralph will say next Wednesday: "This is a political race I should have turned down."
Erick said,

July 12, 2006 @ 9:45 am

Busdriver, I'm not missing the point, but I think a lot of people are.
Chris Farris said,

July 12, 2006 @ 9:50 am

The whole Marianias Islands issue is too complex to reduce into a decent sound bite. As one candidate told me after the debates, when Casey brought to the Mariana Islands no one had any idea what he was talking about. Are the Mary Anne Islands up by lake lanier?
Maurice Atkinson said,

July 12, 2006 @ 9:59 am

I believe the ad is fair game given the fact that Ralph contracted the work. I am not versed on this issue and hoped to not to have to address it. I am versed on numerous other issues. Ralph calls it guilt by association, but who is the common thread in this? Ralph and Jack. Commonsense would conclude that there are serious problems with Ralph's alliances.

As the ad said: "Ralph Reed: His values are for sale". I think this ad did him in.