Swift Boat Watch: Right Change

See all Swift Boat Watch entries here .

Who They Are: Right Change

Purpose: Though claiming to be nonpartisan, the group has run all anti-Obama ads.

Executive Director: Tim Pittman

Funding: According to IRS reports , the group received almost $5.5 million from its president, Fred Eshelman, who is also the CEO of PPD, a pharmaceutical research firm in North Carolina.

Cost of the Ad: $500,000

Where It Ran: Washington, D.C., and North Carolina through the middle of this week.


Claims: Fighting terror has cost America almost $1 trillion. The ad implies that Sept. 11 was responsible for the current economic crisis. After quoting Joe Biden’s much-repeated remark about a crisis early in an Obama presidency, the ad says Obama’s policies undermine counterterrorism efforts.

Accuracy: Congressional Research Service puts the price tag for the war on terror at $864 billion since Sept. 11 ( PDF ). Although Biden predicted an international crisis, he made no mention of the crisis being related to terrorism. There have been many reasons given for the probable cause of the economic crisis ( Alan Greenspan , globalization , Wall Street ). Sept. 11 fails to make the short list. Experts on terrorism agree that Obama’s counterterrorism policy is actually very similar to current U.S. policy.


Background: Eshelman has been donating to the Republican cause for years. Two other board members are Republican legislators from North Carolina. The group’s first ad made no mention of Obama’s name but clearly referred to his tax plan. Until now, the attack ads have focused on Obama’s tax plan being bad for Americans.

Swift Boat Rating:

Invoking the Sept. 11 attacks is a cheap scare tactic. The ad also implies that Sept. 11 caused the financial crisis (unfounded) and that Obama’s policy on terrorism would leave the United States vulnerable but offers no reasoning for this claim.