March 31, 2004,
CBS News officials say they are "exploring our options" after the apparent use of audio from the 60 Minutes interview with former White House counterterrorism official Richard Clarke in a new political commercial by the anti-Bush group MoveOn.org.
"CBS was unaware that MoveOn.org was using CBS News copyrighted material without permission and to advocate a point of view," the company said in a statement. "We are exploring our options."
The MoveOn commercial began playing yesterday on CNN and other news outlets. This is the text of the ad, in its entirety:
NARRATOR: George Bush shamelessly exploited 9/11 in his campaign commercials. Now, Richard Clarke, his former counterterrorism chief, said,
Clarke, reached by telephone Wednesday morning, said he did know about the MoveOn ads. He said he did not have time to discuss the matter.
Whether or not the ad was done with Clarke's consent, MoveOn's action raises new issues about Clarke and partisan politics. Since the launch of his anti-Bush book, Against All Enemies, Clarke has maintained that he has no partisan agenda.
When he was asked about partisanship by the 9/11 Commission, he said, "I've been accused of being a member of John Kerry's campaign team several times this week, including by the White House. So let's just lay that one to bed. I'm not working for the Kerry campaign."
Clarke also said that, "Last time I had to declare my party loyalty, it was to vote in the Virginia primary for president of the United States in the year 2000. And I asked for a Republican ballot."
Clarke voted for John McCain in the Virginia Republican primary.
Sunday, on NBC's Meet the Press, Clarke revealed that he voted for Al Gore in the 2000 general election and he vowed not to get caught up in this year's presidential race.
"I'm not going to endorse John Kerry," he said. "That's what the White House wants me to do. And they want to say I'm part of the Kerry campaign."
The MoveOn ad is technically not part of the Kerry campaign. MoveOn is one of a number of groups The Media Fund, America Coming Together, America Votes that have been formed recently to promote the defeat of President Bush.
The groups have collected millions in contributions from anti-Bush financiers like George Soros and Peter Lewis.
While the groups' leaders claim that they operate independently of and without any coordination with the Kerry campaign, they have run ads that sometimes closely track the arguments made against the president by Kerry and other Democratic leaders.