A South Carolina super PAC that drew the ire of former President Barack Obama for using his words in a way he didn’t like fired back with gusto after getting a cease-and-desist letter from Obama’s lawyer.
The 30-second ad sponsored by the Committee to Defend the President was entitled “Enough Empty Promises.”
The ad pushed back against Biden’s claims that he supported black Americans, and included a voice-over from Obama reading a segment of his 1995 memoir, “Dreams from My Father.”
“Plantation politics, black people in the worst jobs, the worst housing, police brutality rampant. But, when the so-called black committeemen came around election time, we’d all line up and vote the straight Democratic ticket, sell our souls for a Christmas turkey,” Obama said in the ad.
In response, Obama had the legal firm Perkins Coie demand, in Obama’s name, that the group take down the ad.
Instead of compliance, the Wednesday letter triggered a response aimed at the firm, which according to The Washington Post helped facilitate the now-infamous and discredited anti-Trump dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele.
The Committee to Defend the President’s letter from attorney Dan Backer told Perkins Coie that “your mere assertion that you represent the rightsholders in this matter is untrustworthy, given your firm’s alleged participation in potentially unethical acts on behalf of political clients.”
“I refer specifically to your firm’s willful participation as a most-likely-unlawful conduit to conceal payments made by Hillary Clinton’s campaign committee(s) and the Democratic National Committee — not for legal services, but for financing the involvement of foreign nationals and foreign government intelligence assets to interfere in American elections through the salacious and discredited Steele Dossier. Shame on you,” Backer wrote on Friday, demanding proof that the firm actually represents Obama.
The letter defended the ad as a “truthful and accurate portrayal of Joe Biden’s disrespect of African Americans in precisely the way described and discussed in President Obama’s novel.”
The video was a “lawful expression of political speech, and CDP has complied with all applicable laws and regulations governing its advocacy activity. CDP’s use of any third-party content contained in this advertisement is either directly licensed or falls within the well-established principles of fair use of copyrighted material and is thus not an infringement as you unjustifiably allege,” the letter said.
“The use of Obama’s recording clearly critiques and comments on the issues surrounding Democratic politics in relation to the African American community in precisely the way discussed in the book, reverberating across the decades since Joe Biden entered politics over forty years ago, to Chicago’s election of Harold Washington thirty-seven years ago, and remain arguably unchanged today as Joe Biden campaigns to be President,” it added.
The letter accused Perkins Coie of “banal attempts to abuse the legal process and shut down grassroots-driven political speech your firm disagrees with,” and characterized the cease-and-desist letter as “wholly un-American.”
The group then said that it would respond as free Americans do when they feel wronged — double down on what the other side objects to.
“Our commitment to free political speech is absolute,” the letter said.
“Thus, in response to your outrageous attempt to disrupt the sharing of political ideas you disagree with to African American voters, CDP will not only refuse to take ‘Enough Empty Promises’ down but will distribute this advertisement to an additional 50,000 South Carolina Democratic primary voters.”
The letter closed by challenging Perkins Coie to take the matter further.
“Should you feel compelled to continue this Brobdingnagian waste of my client’s time defending this frivolous attempt to suppress free speech, I look forward to the extensive depositions of your client and his various ghostwriters necessary to resolve the matter,” the letter said.
The fictional land of Brobdingnag was part of the Jonathan Swift novel “Gulliver’s Travels.”
As used by Backer, it means “large.”
Biden won South Carolina’s Democratic primary on Saturday.