Campaign Confidential

Pa. Republicans Fire Strategist Over Obama 'Smear' E-Mail

By Brett Lieberman

The Pennsylvania Republican State Party has fired a strategist over an e-mail sent to Jewish voters that warns a vote for Barack Obama would be a “tragic mistake” with parallels to the “ignored warning signs of the 1930s and 1940s.”

The e-mail, which a GOP spokesman says was sent without the party’s authorization, falsely warns that Obama, the Democratic presidential nominee “taught members of Acorn to commit voter registration fraud” during his community organizing days.

The e-mail was signed by several prominent Pennsylvania Republicans who are supporting GOP presidential nominee John McCain. They were Sandra Schultz Newman, a former Pennsylvania Supreme Court justice; developer Mitchell L. Morgan, a top fund-raiser from the Philadelphia area for McCain as well as other Republicans including President Bush and former U.S. Sen Rick Santorum; and I. Michael Coslow, a steel industry exec.

A spokesman for the state party, Michael Barley, tells the New York Times, that state party leaders repudiated the message sent Friday and that Bryan Rudnick, the strategist who helped draft it, had been fired.

“There were some points that were accurate, there were two that we cannot substantiate, however; as a result of them we’ve let him go,” Michael Barley told The Times.

“There are points that could have been made and he touched on some of them, but he definitely went a little bit farther than the facts would support,” he said.

Democrats blasted what one Jewish Democrat calls a “blatantly false and incendiary e-mail” that was “just one more vicious smear.”

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey Jr., D-Pa., and state Rep. Josh Shapiro, both of whom are leading Obama surrogates held a conference call with reporters Saturday afternoon to respond to the e-mail.

Keep reading for the full, unedited, text of the e-mail that was provided to the Forward:

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