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A Far Too Convenient $mear: Part One

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By Dave Johnson and James Boyce

Did you honestly think that the Right Wing $mear machine was going to let Al Gore stand up with the terrific team who created and direct the movie and receive an Oscar for "An Inconvenient Truth?"

Did you really believe they would stand by and watch a Democratic leader validated for his life's work?

No chance in hell. As we have said here before, They destroy our leaders. Note to Senator Obama: spare us the hope and bi-partisanship talk and help us fight back.

Here's what we know, what we think, what we're trying to find out and how you can help.

Last night, Al Gore got very favorable national press and worldwide television exposure.

This afternoon, a group calling itself "The Tennessee Center For Policy Research" sent out a press release denouncing Vice President Gore for the size of his household electrical bills.

Let's start right there. How did they get the utility bills? They also didn't have the courtesy to ask Vice President Gore about them (despite their hollow claim of being non-partisan.) And why would a "think tank" possibly care about what Al Gore spends on gas?

Actually, let's start with a more basic question. Who are these people? Well , a quick check of Alexa reveals their web site gets no traffic. Are they legitimate? Well, again, they claim to be non-partisan but only link to far-right and conservative groups so regardless of what their status is with the IRS, this is a conservative, strongly-leaning Republican organization.

We will be digging through IRS documents tonight because if you follow the money, you always find the answers. We will let you know who their donors are as soon as we can.

This group drops the pebble in the lake and now the machine really goes to work.

Front page of Drudge Report at 5:16 reports this press release from a group no one has ever heard of, who may or may not have stolen Al Gore's utility bills. Now, the lie has legs.

In the last twenty minutes, the Tennessee Center for Policy Research has updated its website TWICE - both with radio interviews. The damage is being done as we watch.

But guess what? We're going to fight back. All of us.

Why? Well, first of all, Al Gore turning his lights on doesn't make him a hypocrite, it makes him a human.

Second, we've seen this game a few too many damn times. The trick is for them to create doubt and distraction. They need to create doubt all around the country about Al Gore. But there is no doubt.

Al Gore is a hero.

Even heroes need help - join us, add to the comments, let's find out everything we can about these guys and stop them in their tracks. Now.

NOTE: this post is a work in progress and will be updated frequently.

Updates
The echo chamber is engaging. Instapundit, Hot Air, Free Republic, WorldNetDaily, TownHall and several others are echoing and amplifying the $mear. RedState, Captain's Quarters. More here and here, here, here, here, here, here, here. Wizbang.

A comment at DailyKos: "Hannity got the memo as well and he and Annthrax Coulter are hammering Gore for the same thing tonight."

Tennessee Center's President Drew Johnson comes straight out of the right's network, coming from Exxon-funded American Enterprise Institute and the right-wing-funded National Taxpayers Foundation.

They are part of the right's State Policy Network. According to PFAW,
"SPN is a national network of state-based right-wing organizations in 37 states as well as prominent nationwide right-wing organizations. Through its network SPN advances the public policy ideas of the expansive right-wing political movement on the state and local level."

As of Feb. 16, the Tennessee tax dept. considers them "not a legitimate organization" because of their misrepresenting themselves involving questions about the group's opposition to a state crackdown on drug dealers.

Gore Responds:
Responding to Drudge's attack, Vice President Gore's office told ThinkProgress:

1) Gore's family has taken numerous steps to reduce the carbon footprint of their private residence, including signing up for 100 percent green power through Green Power Switch, installing solar panels, and using compact fluorescent bulbs and other energy saving technology.

2) Gore has had a consistent position of purchasing carbon offsets to offset the family's carbon footprint - a concept the right-wing fails to understand. Gore's office explains:
What Mr. Gore has asked is that every family calculate their carbon footprint and try to reduce it as much as possible. Once they have done so, he then advocates that they purchase offsets, as the Gore's do, to bring their footprint down to zero.
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Dave Johnson is Founder and principal author at Seeing the Forest. Dave is a frequent public speaker and talk-radio guest and a leading participant in the progressive blogging community. He does a regular weekly segment on the popular Fairness (more...)
 

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obviously what they want is a Mr. Gore to read boo... by Eliot Gould on Tuesday, Feb 27, 2007 at 12:10:51 PM
Here's the incorporation info from the TENNESSEE S... by Jackson Thoreau on Tuesday, Feb 27, 2007 at 1:06:29 PM
On its 2005 IRA return, which can seen at http://w... by Jackson Thoreau on Tuesday, Feb 27, 2007 at 1:40:17 PM
That's IRS, not IRA form.... by Jackson Thoreau on Tuesday, Feb 27, 2007 at 1:45:22 PM
As a former vice president who really won the whit... by Jackson Thoreau on Tuesday, Feb 27, 2007 at 4:00:32 PM