Springtime in the Smoky Mountains

Monday, April 25, 2011

Tom Swatzel Schools Dem Leader in Political Basics

Tom Swatzel
As readers of this website know, one of the brightest, most effective political leaders in South Carolina is the former Georgetown County GOP Chairman and now President of his own political consulting firm, Tom Swatzel. We have highlighted Tom's extraordinary ability to use the media to his advantage and win races against the most daunting odds.

He has shown Republicans throughout South Carolina how to take on entrenched Democrats and win. One would think that after suffering so many humiliating losses at the hands of Tom Swatzel, Georgetown Democrats might have learned a thing or two along the way, or at least would know enough not to tangle with him. But like the symbol of their party, Democrats can be stubborn critters.

When Tom Swatzel launched his new political consulting firm, Swatzel Strategies, he included comments from friends and foes attesting to his political savvy and effectiveness. As former Chairman of the Georgetown County Democratic Party, Jamie Sanderson was one of those foes who has publicly acknowledged what a political master he was up against. Sanderson is quoted as saying:  
"He (Swatzel) had a playbook, he ran it and he won repeatedly.” 
Sanderson also complained about the media coverage Swatzel earned when he asked:
“Isn’t it a fair question to ask why every single press release Swatzel manifests makes breaking news or front page headlines?… What makes Swatzel’s press releases so dire, so important, so needful that it has to make the front page?”
 Apparently though, the frustrated Sanderson hasn't learned some basic political lessons -- what you say can come back and bite you, and the importance of picking your battles.

Sanderson fired off a demand to Swatzel:

Remove my quotes. They are not intended to be a testimonial in support of your endeavors. You neverasked for my permission to use as such nor do you have my consent. Thank you.

Jamie Sanderson
Swatzel responded:
Hope you are doing well.

Your quotes are part of the public record and thus available for citation by me or anyone else without your consent or permission.

Perhaps you should seek legal counsel, which no doubt would be a newsworthy item.
Sanderson took the bait and threatened legal action:
In other words, you are saying it's ok to take snippets from a person's writing to benefit you. I got it. You may want to review Section 43(a) of the Lanham Act.

Under Section 43(a) of the Lanham Act, false endorsement occurs when a person's identity is connected with a product or service in such a way that consumers are likely to be misled about that person's sponsorship or approval of the product or service. While most of these cases arise in the context of a popular celebrity, some courts have held that celebrity status is not a necessary prerequisite for a successful false endorsement claim under the Lanham Act. See, e.g. Hauf v. Life Extension Found., 547 F.Supp.2d 771, 777 (W.D. Mich. 2008) and Ji v. Bose Corp., 538 F.Supp.2d 349, 351 (D. Mass. 2008); 540 F.Supp.2d 288, 306 (D.N.H. 2008)
And in response, Swatzel sent a copy of that Sanderson e-mail to all the media in the Grand Strand.  When Sanderson began getting media calls, he realized Swatzel had already beaten him in the media and he backed off his threats.  Swatzel underscored his point to Sanderson:
On my website your quotes from the public record are cited under the banner "What People are Saying about Tom Swatzel."

My recent news release about the launching of Swatzel Strategies said this about your quotes:

"He said the website will include a description of the new firm’s services and also testimonials to Swatzel’s past effectiveness, including from political opponents as well as allies.
Former Georgetown County Democratic Party chairman Jamie Sanderson is quoted as saying of Swatzel, “He had a playbook, he ran it, and he won repeatedly.”
Sanderson’s unintended tribute to Swatzel’s effectiveness even took the form of a complaint: “Isn’t it a fair question to ask why every single press release Swatzel manifests makes breaking news or front page headlines?… What makes Swatzel’s press releases so dire, so important, so needful that it has to make the front page?”

“Often times the best testimony to effectiveness comes from those who aren’t happy about it,” Swatzel said."

You disseminated those quotes concerning my "past effectiveness" far and wide via various blogs and in some instances, as opinion pieces in newspapers.

Are you now arguing that your words should be stricken from the public record just because I've started a campaign consulting business?
Sanderson had  been shown, once again, the very media savvy for which he had praised Swatzel in the first place.  

The moral of this story:  just because the great ones make it look easy, that doesn't mean that it is. 


Anonymous said...

This Tom Swatzel is exactly the type of Republican we needed at all levels.

So many on our side do not want to fight so they lay down when they're attacked. Not this guy.

I'm a Buckeye, but I hope that Tom Swatzel can replace that current disgrace S.C. has sent to the U.S. Senate -- Lindsey Graham.

Anonymous said...

Tell me where I threatened legal action. I didn't. He made mention of it first. I merely pointed out an Act. This doesn't surprise me because not a one of you tell the truth 100 percent, not even to the public in general.

Tom Swatzel said...

The implication of Jamie’s actions speak for themselves.

Anonymous said...

Reading the e-mail exchange, Jamie, Swatzel didn't mention legal action. He simply suggested you might want to consult an attorney, who could tell you there's nothing "illegal" -- under the Lanham Act or any other law -- about quoting something you yourself had published on the public record.

Plus, he telegraphed in neon lights what his next play would be if you persisted on this point, when he wrote that your seeking legal counsel "no doubt would be a newsworthy item."

Being a sporting and chivalrous fellow, Tom was just trying to save you from embarrassing yourself. Obviously, you could not be deterred.

Swatzel's good and all, Jamie, but you really should stop making it so easy. It's gotta be a little embarrassing even for Tom, like taking candy from a baby.