A newly formed political action committee, the National Republican Trust PAC, is buying up e-mail blasts to the readers of conservative outlets like Newsmax and Townhall to raise money for what it calls a "shock and awe" advertising blitz against Barack Obama in key states in the last weeks of the campaign. One of the e-mails uses the screamer headline, "Obama's Plan: Mohammed Atta Gets His Drivers License," while another says Republicans should "employ Hillary Clinton's strategy" to "expose Obama for the dangerous radical he is."

The PAC was founded by Scott Wheeler, a former correspondent for the Moonie-owned Insight magazine, and Peter Leitner, a former Pentagon adviser and president of the Higgins Counterterrorism Research Center, which trains law enforcement personnel on counterterrorism.

Wheeler has a history working for anti-Democratic, scandal-mongering conservative publications. Before working for Insight, Wheeler was a correspondent for the "American Investigator," a syndicated monthly television program that conservative activists hailed for fueling the fires of the numerous Republican investigations of the Clinton administration in the 1990s. When Al Gore was running for president in 2000, Wheeler produced the documentary "Trading with the Enemy: How the Clinton Administration Armed China." Using Leitner as a source, that documentary charged that Gore illegally pressured the Pentagon into selling military equipment to China. In late September 2000, other conservative outlets touted the documentary as "Another Scandal for Al Gore."

During the 2004 campaign, writing for the big boys of conservative smear journalism like Cybercast New Service and Newsmax, Wheeler tried to discredit John Kerry as he had Gore, and now, Obama. In early October 2004, he published a story that claimed that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and ties to al Qaeda and the 9/11 attacks. "The presidential campaign is currently dominated by debate over whether Saddam procured weapons of mass destruction and whether his government sponsored terrorism aimed at Americans before the U.S. invaded Iraq last year," the article noted. "Democrat nominee Sen. John Kerry has repeatedly rejected that possibility and criticized President Bush for needlessly invading Iraq. . . . But the documents obtained by shed new light on the controversy."

In one of his National Republican Trust fundraising pleas, Wheeler ties Obama to terrorists -- and barely takes a breath before he reminds you to "never forget that Obama is a Harvard educated elitist," too.

--Sarah Posner

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