In 2004, a poster on the conservative website FreeRepublic.com using the pseudonym "Kerry Crusher" -- identified on FreeRepublic.com as blogger Patrick Hynes -- characterized Chelsea Clinton as "hideously ugly." The comment recalled a "joke" Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) reportedly told about Clinton in 1998: "Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly? Because her father is Janet Reno." Hynes was hired by McCain's Straight Talk America political action committee in 2006. In addition to the Chelsea Clinton smear, "Kerry Crusher" also attacked McCain himself in 2004 as "a contemptable [sic] human being."
As Media Matters for America noted, The New York Times and Associated Press both reported Catholic League president Bill Donohue's criticism that two bloggers hired by John Edwards' presidential campaign are "anti-Catholic, vulgar, trash-talking bigots," without noting Donohue's history of vulgar, trash-talking bigotry, or his dismissal of anti-Kerry operative Jerome Corsi's anti-Catholic bigotry in 2004. Citing several of Hynes' controversial comments, blogger Glenn Greenwald argued on February 7 that the same standard the Times and the AP applied to Edwards and his bloggers should be applied to all candidates, including McCain:
So Donahue [sic] and people like Michelle Malkin have dug through the archives of the two Edwards bloggers -- Amanda Marcotte and Melissa McEwan -- and found bad words and posts that they claim are offensive. I do not know of many bloggers, or citizens generally, who do not have some views that would be offensive to large groups of people and who periodically express those views in less than demure ways, but if that is going to be the standard, we ought to apply it universally to all bloggers who are affiliated with political campaigns.
Hynes, a blogger for the conservative AnkleBitingPundits.com, has been identified multiple times on FreeRepublic.com as "Kerry Crusher" and apparently posted several messages on the site under that name. According to a December 28, 2004, FreeRepublic.com entry: "Patrick Hynes, a freeper whose screen name is Kerry Crusher is scheduled to appear on Hannity and Colmes tonight."
From a June 20, 2005, FreeRepublic.com entry:
Pat's freeper screen name is Kerry Crusher. He is on leave from his job as a campaign consultant from a national GOP campaign firm, and is currently in charge of media and message development for the CATO Institute's Social Security Project.
He is also the proprietor of AnkleBitingPundits.com.
A review of "Kerry Crusher's" posts on FreeRepublic.com revealed that "Kerry Crusher", in response to another poster's June 21, 2004, suggestion that Chelsea Clinton had undergone plastic surgery, wrote: "Yep. She's been Nip n' Tucked. Just like Kerry and his girlfriend Alex. And she's still hideously ugly!" On June 1, 2004, "Kerry Crusher" wrote of McCain: "John McCain is a contemptable [sic] human being. He makes my stomach churn and my bowels clench."
As Media Matters for America noted, the media largely ignored McCain's hiring of Hynes, despite the fact that Hynes was a strong proponent of the Swift Boat Veterans and POWs for Truth, whose baseless smears and attacks against 2004 Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) McCain denounced as "dishonest and dishonorable." Hynes was reportedly hired by Straight Talk America in May 2006, but did not disclose his employment until July 24. National Review Online blogger Jim Geraghty noted that in the intervening time, Hynes wrote several blog entries touting McCain as a presidential candidate, for which he reportedly apologized.