Abortion-rights group bows to pressure from Roberts' supporters

WASHINGTON: The battle over John Roberts' possible ascension to the Supreme Court claimed its first casualty among left wing communications pros last week.

WASHINGTON: The battle over John Roberts' possible ascension to the Supreme Court claimed its first casualty among left wing communications pros last week.

NARAL Pro-Choice America, after falling under intense pressure from conservative critics, decided to cancel a 30-second advertisement that charged Roberts with filing court briefs earlier in his legal career supporting "violent" anti-abortion activists and a convicted abortion clinic bomber.

The group's decision to pull the ads on August 11 spurred the resignation of the group's communications director, David Seldin, who reportedly disagreed with NARAL's decision to back down from the ad's assertions.

The group confirmed Seldin's resignation but declined to discuss the reasons for his departure. Seldin could not be reached for comment.

A major force behind the ad's demise was the Committee for Justice, a conservative group founded by the former President Bush's chief counsel, C. Boyden Gray.

One of the group's tactics involves labeling any opposition to Roberts as originating from the "radical left." Gray called on the "mainstream media, through its news and editorial coverage, to treat NARAL's ads as shocking and distasteful, rather than go along on the ride to the circus."

Also working in support of Roberts' nomination is Creative Response Concepts (CRC), the firm that helped promote Swift Boat Veterans for Truth during the 2004 presidential campaign.

The independent agency is seeking to ensure that conservatives recognize Roberts as one of their own. For example, the shop has distributed statements by Ed Whelan, president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, emphasizing that Roberts was a "forceful proponent of Reagan administration policies on abortion, school prayer, criminal justice, and other hotly contested issues."

"I think CRC sees me as a resource and as someone who provides valuable information that they are going to try to promote to the media," said Whelan.

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