Cleta Mitchell tells Samantha Bee how to use a 527 to go negative

by CynthiaYockey on February 14, 2011

I came across this video when I was Googling to learn more about her and it won’t play from Comedy Central’s site so I’m embedding it here to see if that helps.

Update: Huzzah! The video still stutters if you try to play it here, but clicking on it to open it at Comedy Central’s site worked this time. I’ll update this post or add a new one explaining my interest in Cleta Mitchell later tonight or tomorrow morning.

Update, 2/15/11: Here’s the transcript of the clip from The Daily Show, originally broadcast on Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2004:

Jon Stewart: If you think voter fraud is the only problem with this election, you are officially adorable. Throughout the year, the public has been subjected to negative, marginally legal attack ads known as 527s. They’re part of the miracle of democracy and Samantha Bee shows you how to get involved with tonight’s installment of, “So You Want to Bee … a 527.”

Samantha Bee: Thanks to a great campaign finance loophole, 527 groups like the Swiftboat Veterans for Truth and Moveon.org are able to raise unlimited amounts of money and fill the airwaves with more and more attack ads. And starting a 527 group is a snap! The first thing you’ll want to do is understand the law, ‘cause you’re gonna be right on the edge of it. To do that, you’ll need an election law specialist like attorney Cleta Mitchell, who can explain the legal restrictions on what your 527 group can say.

Cleta Mitchell: You can say, “Candidate X is a scumbag.” You cannot say, “Vote against Candidate X.” You cannot say, “Vote for Candidate Y.” As long as you stop short of that, you can say pretty much whatever else you want to say.

Samantha Bee: Can I legally say, “If you like pussies, vote for George Bush”?

Cleta Mitchell: If you like what?

Samantha Bee: Pussies.

Cleta Mitchell: [Chuckles.] No, no, you can’t say that. It’s not the “pussy” part, it’s the “vote” part.

Samantha Bee: So, I can call the president a “pussy,” I just can’t say, “Don’t vote for him.”

Cleta Mitchell: Yes, you can do that.

Samantha Bee: What about, “John Kerry went to Viet Nam, but HE went for the whores and the drugs.”

Cleta Mitchell: You can say that, sure, you can say that.

[new scene] Samantha Bee: To effectively communicate your negative message, you’ll need a 527 ad specialist like Steve McMann.

Steve McMann: Well, the first is you decide what it is that you’re angry or hateful about. Then an organization like ours would develop a whole bunch of different ways for you to communicate that anger and bring it to a boil.

Samantha Bee: It occurs to me that nobody’s focused on the Kerry girls or the Bush twins. How can I attack them?

Steve McMann: We don’t do, we don’t do …

Samantha Bee: Who’s more attackable? Alexandra Kerry in that see-through number, or those slutty Bush twins?

Steve: Yeah, there’s some things that we think are off limits.

Samantha Bee: I want to compare what George Bush has done to the environment to what Hitler did to Poland. How can I do that?

Steve McMann: It’s not something we’d be interested in helping you with.

Samantha Bee: Screw this guy, I was gonna need someone with balls.

Cleta Mitchell: I hate this notion that negative campaigning is bad. I don’t think people really pay attention to positive ads.

Samantha Bee: What’s the best way for me to raise the money I need?

Cleta Mitchell: It really helps to know some really rich people.

Samantha Bee: How much money can I raise?

Cleta Mitchell: As much as you can talk people out of.

Samantha Bee: I think I just peed myself a little. I needed a sugar daddy. And I knew just the guy.

New scene:

Samantha Bee: You’ve got an assload of cash and I’m going to need some of it.

Richard Branson: But you still haven’t explained exactly where this money is going.

Samantha Bee: Why are you so stingy? I thought you were supposed to be like Soros, but with the sex swing and hot tubs.

Richard Branson: (laughs) Well, I certainly like hot tubs …

Samantha Bee: I’m walking out of here with a sack of cash.

Richard Branson: Um, ah

New scene, SB with TV and sample 527 ad.

Samantha Bee: Once you’ve gathered millions in tax-exempt donations, you’ll be ready to make 527 magic.

[Parody of a 527 ad begins with a clip of John Kerry:] The sun is rising over the United States of America ….

[Clip of George Bush:] Freedom is on the march ….

Samantha Bee voiceover: We’ve heard their words, but let’s look at the facts. George W. Bush once molested my grandma … while John Kerry held her down … with bags of money provided by gay French Jews. On Nov. 2, tell George W. Bush and John Kerry you support freedom by writing a check to, “Americans for 527 ads.” [Grandma’s voice:] “Don’t let them do it again!”

Samantha Bee: I’m Samantha Bee and I approved this campaign finance loophole.

Jon Stewart: Samantha Bee, we’ll be right back.

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  • Liz

    Not to be a pain in the backside (never good when you have to say it), but that video doesn’t play abroad.

    • Thanks for the heads up. I’ll transcribe it by tomorrow.

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