Creator of notorious ads who ‘quickly embarked’ on John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign dies aged 69

‘Quick navigation.’

It was the term applied in 2004 to the politically legendary political ad series that sought to portray Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, a famously decorated Vietnam War veteran who had commissioned a Patrol Craft Fast (also known under the name of PCF and, most often, a fast boat), as unpatriotic and deceitful.

The mechanism for conveying that message of persuading voters was the testimony of dozens of Vietnam-era Kerry Navy veterans, who accused Kerry, then a U.S. senator from Massachusetts, of exaggerating his heroism. It later emerged that a sizable number of the roughly 200 truth-radar veterans who spoke out against Kerry had little or no first-hand knowledge of him or his service or had partisan or other motivations to denigrate Kerry’s credentials. (Kerry, in particular, had spoken out against the war upon his release from active duty in 1969, when he launched his first congressional campaign.)

George W. Bush secured reelection over Kerry with a popular vote margin of 50.7% to 48.3% to open a 286 to 251 gap in the Electoral College, and the noted architect of the ad campaign, Rick Reed of the political advertising agency Stevens Reed Curcio & Potholm, stuck to ads funded by the political action committee, based largely on the book ‘Unfit for Command’, written by John O’Neill and the now famous conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi, and the stories of Navy veterans.

Reed died last week in Virginia at the age of 69, the Washington Post and others reported.

The US President’s special envoy for the climate, John Kerry, participates in November 2021 in a plenary session of the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow.

Jeff J. Mitchell/Getty Images

Kerry returned to the Senate and later served as President Barack Obama’s second secretary of state and is now President Joe Biden’s special presidential climate envoy.

Later, Reed reportedly worked on campaigns for candidates including Senator Lindsey Graham; created ads for John McCain’s presidential campaign in 2000; and, after starting his own consulting firm, served as Donald Trump’s senior media adviser in 2016. Fox News personality Tucker Carlson, reminiscent of The Washington Post, described Reed as “the smartest political consultant I’ve ever seen.” know”.

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