Richard Cohen Recycles 20-Year-Old Willie Horton Inaccuracy
Old liberal-media errors never die. They fade away, then pop back up. Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen recycled a 20-year-old inaccuracy on Tuesday, suggesting the George H. W. Bush campaign used Willie Horton’s face in a 1988 commercial. Wrong.
He was a convicted murderer who was given a weekend furlough from a Massachusetts prison and went on to rape a woman in Maryland. Dukakis was governor of Massachusetts when Horton was furloughed. The Bush campaign seized on Horton and, in a powerful and repugnant commercial, ran his mug shot: an image of a bearded black man. There it was in one nifty package -- race, crime and liberalism. It's a wonder Dukakis didn't stay in that tank.
As we pointed out back in the George H.W. Bush years, the usual ad featured in news reports (and now in college poli-sci courses) was funded by the National Security PAC, not the Bush campaign. Their Dukakis-furlough ad featured all races and never mentioned Horton's name.
UPDATE: In the April 15 Post, Cohen's new column ended with a correction:
Last week I wrote that George H.W. Bush's 1988 campaign had run the notorious Willie Horton ad. Bush used the issue, but an independent group ran the ad.