On Wednesday's "Hardball," substitute host David Shuster previewed a new book targeting Barack Obama by issuing the following warning to viewers at the top of the show:
DAVID SHUSTER: It was right around this time four years ago that the dishonest and highly effective Swift Boat attacks on John Kerry began. Now the man who started it all, with a book about Kerry, has one out attacking Obama. Can the Swift Boaters repeat their success, or does Obama know how to fight back?
In an ensuing segment with Republican consultant Mike Paul and Democratic consultant Rich Masters about the new book, The Obama Nation, Shuster derided the author, and by extension, the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth and demanded that John McCain condemn the anti-Obama book. The following are the relevant excerpts from the August 13, "Hardball,":
SHUSTER: Welcome back to "Hardball." The man responsible for launching the dishonest Swift Boat attacks against John Kerry four years ago, Jerome Corsi, is now taking aim at Obama in a new book called The Obama Nation. Corsi told The New York Times, "The goal is to defeat Obama. I don't want Obama in office." And he says he's planning to aid conservative groups that will run ads against the Democratic nominee in the fall. Will Corsi's book be the Swift Boating of Obama? How should Obama fight back? And why hasn't John McCain condemned this book? Rich Masters is a Democratic consultant and joins us in Washington, and Mike Paul is a Republican consultant and former adviser to Rudy Giuliani and joins us in New York. Hey, Mike-
MIKE PAUL, REPUBLICAN CONSULTANT: Yes?
SHUSTER: Do you condemn, do you condemn this book, and should John McCain?
PAUL: I don't condemn, condemn the book. One of the things that it's important to have in this country is a number of different voices, and this is certainly a voice. I do think, though, if there are some areas here within the book that are inaccurate, and quite frankly, just all-out lies, then they should be condemned. But if there's one thing within this book that is true, it could be very damaging to this campaign overall and the campaign I'm talking about is Obama.
SHUSTER: Well, Mike, if I wrote a book about you and there were 99 percent of the things in that book were absolutely false, but I got one thing right, say your birthday, would that be fine?
SHUSTER: Hey, Mike, were you out there condemning John McCain four years ago when John McCain had the audacity to condemn the Swift Boat attacks on John Kerry? John McCain was wrong in your book, then, right?
SHUSTER: But Charlie Back said that the McCain campaign would make a different choice. Here's what Charlie Black said a month ago. He said, quote, "We don't want to talk about his patriotism and character," referring to Barack Obama. "We concede that he's a patriot and a person of good character." That flies in the face of this book.