Skip to comments.Claim: Kerry Aide Used Gay Smear to Help Defeat Incumbent Senator
Posted on 08/05/2003 7:19:06 AM PDT by bedolido
WASHINGTON (Talon News) -- In 1996, Jim Jordan, campaign manager for Democrat presidential contender Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), was press secretary for Tim Johnson during his challenge to then-incumbent Sen. Larry Pressler (R-SD). The long, negative campaign resulted in the end of the South Dakota Republican's 22 years in Congress.
During the campaign, Pressler was dogged by questions about his health, since his father suffered with Alzheimer's disease. But the most damaging attack was delivered by James Abourezk, the man Pressler replaced in the Senate in 1978.
Abourezk brought Alexander Cockburn, author of "Washington Babylon" to speak to a Sioux Falls group. In his book, Cockburn alleged that Pressler was a homosexual. Abourezk admitted repeating the story saying, "I told everybody who would listen to me."
Jordan allegedly sought to take advantage of the accusations, according to a Lisa Lutterman, a Pressler worker. Lutterman told The Mitchell Daily Republic that Jim Jordan was "just ugly, mean spirited and boasting that he would help destroy Larry Pressler." She said Jordan declared that he was "going to take Larry Pressler's liver and rip it out."
Although Jordan said that no such conversation "ever took place," South Dakota newspapers followed the story as charges and countercharges kept the scandal alive.
Abourezk was quoted giving a magazine some credit for ousting Pressler because of their focus on his "confused private life." He said, "There's no doubt in my mind that 'Counter Punch' gave Pressler his losing margin."
Pressler has always denied that he was gay and in 1998, Cockburn retracted the allegation and withdrew his book from publication in a settlement with the former senator.
At the time, the "gay smear" generated little attention outside South Dakota. But in 2003, gay issues are hotly debated. Earlier this year, Jordan's wife, Associated Press journalist Lara Jakes Jordan conducted an interview with Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) that touched off a firestorm. Santorum maintained that his comments about the Texas sodomy case were taken out of context by Jordan.
"I am very disappointed that the article was written in the way it was and it has been construed the way it has," Santorum said.
Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) was the first of the Democrat presidential contenders to comment. He said, "The White House speaks the rhetoric of compassionate conservatism, but they're silent while their chief lieutenants make divisive and hurtful comments that have no place in our politics. ... These comments take us backwards in America."
The Kerry campaign did not respond to calls from Talon News to comment on Jim Jordan's role in the Pressler matter.
Copyright © 2003 Talon News -- All rights reserved.
1977 : (SENATOR JAMES ABOUREZK, DEMOCRAT OF S DAKOTA, CALLS JIMMY CARTER A LIAR) ...gained distinction for calling then-President Jimmy Carter a "liar" on the Senate floor in 1977. The Washington Post reported that after Vice President Walter Mondale broke a tie on a piece of legislation, the South Dakota senator, feeling betrayed, "immediately cried treason." ---- "20-Year-Old Republican Website Owner Sued by Former Democrat Senator, " By Jeff Gannon, Talon News, July 31, 2003
1980 : (FORMER SENATOR FROM S DAKOTA JAMES ABOUREZK FOUNDS THE ADC) Abourezk left the Senate and later founded the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. He recently called on Arabs to "intensify their move to explain their points of view to the American public which is dominated by the Israeli media machine." ---- "20-Year-Old Republican Website Owner Sued by Former Democrat Senator, " By Jeff Gannon, Talon News, July 31, 2003
2002 : (FORMER US SENATOR FROM S DAKOTA, JAMES ABOUREZK, PRAISES HEZBOLLAH) The second-generation Lebanese-American seemingly has no problem exercising his first amendment rights. In 2002, Abourezk praised the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah and the "positive role it was playing in Lebanon.""[Hezbollah] was like the tool that forced the 'Israelis' to withdraw," Abourezk said.Also last year , Abourezk suggested that the solution to Israel's terrorism problem would be to "get the hell out of the occupied territories." "It's not a wonder there are suicide bombers, it's a wonder there aren't many more," Abourezk said. ---- "20-Year-Old Republican Website Owner Sued by Former Democrat Senator, " By Jeff Gannon, Talon News, July 31, 2003
SEPTEMBER 2002 : (FORMER DEMOCRAT US SENATOR FROM SOUTH DAKOTA JAMES ABOUREZK TRAVELS TO IRAQ TO MEET WITH IRAQI DPTY PM TARIQ AZIZ) The former senator made a trip to Baghdad in September 2002 to meet Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz. Abourezk said that a U.S. attack on Iraq would be "immoral."---- "20-Year-Old Republican Website Owner Sued by Former Democrat Senator, " By Jeff Gannon, Talon News, July 31, 2003
MAY 2003 : (JAMES ABOUREZK FILES LAWSUIT AGAINST PROBUSH.COM - See N.I.O.N.) In May, former Sen. James Abourezk (D-SD) filed a $5 million lawsuit against a website operator who included him among a group of "traitors." The website, www.ProBush.com, lampoons liberals from the entertainment industry and politics who have been vocal in their opposition to the war in Iraq or critical of President George W. Bush. Some of the others on the list are Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY), Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) as well as actors George Clooney, Susan Sarandon, and Janeane Garafalo and the country music group, the Dixie Chicks. While the website disclaimer states that the list is a parody and is not to be taken seriously, Abourezk claims that he has been defamed. In his lawsuit he states that ProBush.com's statement "is intended to injure" his standing in the community. The operator of the website is Mike Marino, a 20-year-old web designer from suburban Philadelphia. He believes that Abourezk's lawsuit against ProBush.com is without merit."This is clearly a first amendment issue," Marino told Talon News. While Marino is concerned about the legal ramifications of the lawsuit, he feels the need to stand up for the constitutional principle of free speech."The Internet is a new medium, where ordinary individuals have the greatest opportunity to make their voices heard," Marino said. "Lawsuits like this will have a chilling effect on free expression." The ProBush.com president said he created the website, because he "disagreed with the protestors and celebrities who were voicing opposition to the war in Iraq," and wanted "to make sport of their arguments.""I also thought President Bush deserved to be defended against such criticism," Marino added. When asked how Abourezk came to be on the "traitor" list, Marino explained, "These are the signers of the famous 'Not in Our Name' petition against the war. He was alphabetically at the top of the list." ProBush.com also has a "patriot" list that includes actor James Woods, comedian Dennis Miller, and musician Toby Keith as well as talk show hosts Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, and Bill O'Reilly. This week, ProBush.com filed a motion in U.S. District Court to dismiss Abourezk's lawsuit. The motion cites a long line of federal court rulings protecting free speech.---- "20-Year-Old Republican Website Owner Sued by Former Democrat Senator, " By Jeff Gannon Talon News, July 31, 2003