Talk:Willie Horton

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Joseph Fournier[edit]

How about a pic of Joe? I think one should be on this page. I also think he should have his own entry. He was a person you know.-- (talk) 23:55, 10 January 2009 (UTC)

You could create a short Wikipedia page just for him.Historian932 (talk) 08:12, 28 October 2010 (UTC)


I want to make a point here since this article seems to have a 'tit for tat' argumentation between Republicans and Democrats. Al Gore DID mention the furlough program in the context of the NY Daily News debate. He did NOT mention Willie Horton by name nor did he run a commercial with Horton's picture. BUT BUSH DID NOT RUN A COMMERCIAL WITH HORTON EITHER!! Bush DID mention Horton by name at least twice, once at the Texas GOP Convention in June 88 and in the first debate on 9/25/88. Bush DID run a furlough commercial, a rather misleading one - but that commercial DID NOT feature either Horton's picture or mention his race.

But it is ALSO true that the Bush campaign FOUND OUT ABOUT Horton by watching the NY debate. Hence, they discovered Horton because of Gore's reference. I will concede that they probably would have found out about it anyway since they were combing for information as all campaigns do. Yet if the argument is that Gore's mention was somehow okay because he didn't run a commercial about it, it seems pretty inconsistent to blame Bush when he also didn't run a commercial featuring Horton.



Why does it say that Gore "mentioned the Horton incident" in the NY Daily News Debate when he absolutely did not? Gore only mentioned the furlough program in Massachusetts, but he did not bring up Horton whatsoever in the debate. This is a well known fact and a simple archive of the debate can prove it.


What's the "evidence" that the Bush campaign had any involvement in the Revolving Door ad? To say that the Bush campaign "claimed" not to have produced it, is like saying (to take an example from the same campaign) that Dukakis "claimed" that Donna Brazile was acting on her own when she accused Bush of being an adulterer. Brazile said she was, Dukakis said she was, and that's accepted as being the way it was. Seems to be much the same with Revolving Door. Ellsworth 18:59, 5 Oct 2004 (UTC)

The rules for independent expenditures are very strict -- it's not just a matter of whether the Bush campaign produced the ad directly, but whether they had any kind of involvement ("cooperation or coordination" is the official phrase, I think) in its creation, production, or airing. The evidence is that Ailes openly bragged that they would use Horton in TV ads, McCarthy's close relationship with Ailes, the suspicious timing with "Revolving Doors", and the fact that an employee of Ailes's firm worked on both ads. RadicalSubversiv E 19:13, 5 Oct 2004 (UTC)
I think the re-write you did is a fair assessment. Thanks. Ellsworth 19:50, 5 Oct 2004 (UTC)
NB the discussion above should reference the "Weekend Passes" ad, as the one produced by the independent group. "Revolving Door" was produced by the Bush campaign. The article has it right. Ellsworth 21:45, 29 August 2007 (UTC)

Willie Horton: The Person[edit]

It seems odd to me that most of this article is about the Dukakis political campaign, when it is supposed to be an article about a person. Maybe we should put in some more stuff about Willie Horton? Kinghy 06:28, 8 November 2006 (UTC)

  • Horton the person isn't important or worthy of an article. Horton as political smear tactic in 1988 is. Vidor 15:24, 25 December 2006 (UTC)
    • Making it known that Massachusetts let a murderer free from prison who then raped and murdered another young woman isn't a smear tactic; it's a fact. Governor Dukakis could care less about that lady; the only thing he cared about was his precious reputation. WatchingYouLikeAHawk 01:33, 20 May 2007 (UTC)
      • Perhaps the article should be expanded to illustrate how Michael Dukasis is a stubborn liberal who clings to his preconceived notions without regard to the effect that they might have on others, including members of his own family. I recall, during one of the presidential debates, someone asked him to suppose that his wife, Kitty Dukakis, had been raped and murdered, and whether, under such circumstances, he would favor the death penalty. His answer was, to the effect, no, of course not. Right after that, Kitty Dukakis was hospitalized for a nervous breakdown. Who could blame her? John Paul Parks (talk) 14:06, 26 May 2009 (UTC)
      • He did not murder the woman he raped. It doesn't make him any less of a scumbag, but it might help if you got the details straight, no? C'est Sie Bon 01:33, 03 Jun 2016 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)
      • You should be aware that, for many years, in several states, rape was a capital offense. The Supreme Court of the United States struck such a statute down as unconstitutional in Coker v. Georgia. The opinion of Lewis Powell, to the effect that women do not suffer any long-term injury from rape, is absolutely appalling. John Paul Parks (talk) 14:11, 26 May 2009 (UTC)
  • Regardless if it has a factual basis, its still negative campaigning (sometimes referred to as a smear tactic). Political campaigns are not held accountable for lying in adverstisements, there's no truth-in-advertising law that applies. And its pointless to sue (see New York Times Co. v. Sullivan). So it is NEVER smart to accept political ads as "fact". All pols "care about their precious reputation", and partisanship is ugly. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:32, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

William Horton[edit]

You know...some people might actually want to read about the man himself and not him as political weaponry. Wikipedia is getting really lame... —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

Well, he's 6'1, heavier-set these days, has soulful brown eyes, is a bit of a daydreamer, and his hobbies include making animal figurines out of chewed up playing cards, and murdering people. 01:41, 3 December 2007 (UTC)

Horton is not notable as a person, only as the iconic example of a political tactic. That's just the way it is. Apart from baseball fans, no one uses the name "Willie Horton" today to mean anything but a particular type of political smear campaign. And yes, the Horton affair of 1988 was a political smear campaign. Horton's crimes are fact, but his connection to Dukakis (the political candidate who was the target of the smear attempt) is somewhere between distant and nonexistent. (talk) 23:55, 24 April 2008 (UTC)

Horton's crimes are fact, but his connection to somewhere between distant and nonexistent - you mean other than as a demonstration of the results of wrong-minded policy that Dukakis supported?TheDarkOneLives (talk) 12:50, 19 May 2009 (UTC)

1992 campaign[edit]

I just added a "dubious" tag to the assertion that Willie Horton was referenced more times during the 1992 campaign than during the 1988 campaign. This has already been "fact" tagged for half a year. If sourcing is not forthcoming in the next week or so it should simply be removed from the article. Cgingold (talk) 00:16, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

I believe the intention of the sentence is that Willie Horton was additionally referenced in 1992. I've cleaned the sentence to make it look less like what you seem to get from it. I can't find a citation at the moment but if anyone can, I'd appreciate it --Utopianfiat (talk) 19:27, 16 April 2008 (UTC)

WikiProject Politics?[edit]

I see that this article is considered part of Wikipedia:WikiProject Biography and Wikipedia:WikiProject Crime. These categorizations seem somewhat beside the point. In a vague sort of way, of course, this article is a biography -- and of course Willie Horton is a criminal -- but the notable aspect is not the biography as such but the use of this man as an icon in political discourse.

Is the article better categorized, perhaps, within Wikipedia:WikiProject Politics or still better, Wikipedia:WikiProject Propaganda if such a thing were to exist? (talk) 00:18, 25 April 2008 (UTC)

No recorded statement?[edit]


There has been no recorded statement from him since his incarceration.

If this means (as I think) that he has not spoken publicly i.e. to the media since the 2nd arrest/conviction it is definitely not true. He talked to reporters during the 1988 campaign and he did a long interview with The Nation sometime in the 90s. I'll check for the Nation article when I get the chance but Nations online archives are pay-access. Ellsworth (talk) 22:39, 3 August 2008 (UTC)

Here's the citation for the Nation article: Elliot, Jeffrey M.. "The 'Willie' Horton nobody knows. (William Horton, Jr.)(interview) (Cover Story)." August 23, 1993. The Nation.
Here's a pay link to the full article:
h/t User:Anomalocaris. Ellsworth (talk) 05:35, 24 December 2008 (UTC)

Recently removed material, preserved here[edit]

Hi. I recently removed a handful of material that sat tagged as "without verifiability" since 2008/2009. This is per WP:V, and particularly WP:ALIVE. The claims made are interesting, so I leave them here in hopes that someone finds suitable verifiability for them so they can be put back into the article. Regards. --Ds13 (talk) 16:54, 29 December 2012 (UTC)

  • Dukakis continued to argue that the program was 99 percent effective; yet, as the Lawrence Eagle-Tribune pointed out, no state outside of Massachusetts, nor any federal program, would grant a furlough to a prisoner serving life without parole.[citation needed]
  • In April 1988, Lee Atwater asked aide Jim Pinkerton for negative research to defeat Dukakis.[citation needed]
  • After giving the focus group the material Pinkerton provided on the index card, most of the voters switched from favoring Dukakis to favoring Bush.[citation needed]
  • The following week at the Illinois Republican convention in Springfield, Bush began to press the argument against Dukakis by declaring that Dukakis had let Horton loose to 'terrorize innocent people' and continued support of the furlough program until the Massachusetts legislature changed the law.[citation needed]
  • Bush again mentioned Horton at the National Sheriffs Association in Louisville, Kentucky and declared himself in favor of 'life without parole' for convicted murderers.[citation needed]
  • The commercial was filmed at an actual state prison in Draper, Utah, but the individuals depicted – thirty in all, were paid actors.[citation needed]

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Move Request[edit]

I think a strong case can be made that this article should be moved to William Horton. We literally have quote from the man in this article saying he did not go by Willie and, in fact, resented the name. "Willie Horton" may be the name he was most commonly known by, but I cannot think of another living person whose article title is a name that person never personally went by (and was contrived in order to attack that person). The ad is the "Willie Horton ad," but the person is William Horton. -- (talk) 23:41, 15 March 2017 (UTC)