ADL Letter to Senator Barack Obama on Civility in the Presidential Campaign
ADL has written letters to Senators Barack Obama and John McCain, the major party nominees for president, calling on the candidates to reject” divisive character defamation and scurrilous personal attacks” in the remaining weeks of the campaign. The full text of the letter to Senator Obama follows.
October 13, 2008
The Honorable Barack Obama
Obama for America
P.O. Box 8102
Chicago, IL 60680
Dear Senator Obama:
We have been concerned at the increasingly angry and destructive personal tone some supporters of the presidential candidates have taken. As the campaign for President enters its final days, we are writing to both you and Senator McCain to underline the importance of your own role in rejecting divisive character defamation and scurrilous personal attacks.
While we understand well the fast-paced dynamics and intensity of an election campaign, we urge you to continue to be sensitive to the potential impact of harsh, personal attacks – including unfounded accusations designed to foment doubts about an opponent’s morality or patriotism. The rigors of competition for public office can bring out both the best and the worst in our political system. It is critically important for all candidates to reject the unprincipled appeals of those who would exploit voters’ fears, frustrations, and prejudices.
The individual elected President on November 4 will inherit many problems as President – but healing the nation after a slash and burn, destructive campaign should not be among them. We strongly believe that each candidate has a moral responsibility to help supporters set a tone for a civil discourse in which policy and political disagreements can be respected without bitterness and anger.
As a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization, the Anti-Defamation League neither endorses nor opposes candidates for public office.
Abraham H. Foxman