Patterico's Pontifications


Secret Service Rejects Dana Milbank’s Claim regarding Press Treatment at Palin Rally

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 8:00 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Yesterday I posted in an update to this post regarding Dana Milbank’s claim that the Secret Service was running interference at Sarah Palin rallies to keep the press away from her supporters:

“I wasn’t at the Scranton event, but I have to say the Secret Service is in dangerous territory here. In cooperation with the Palin campaign, they’ve started preventing reporters from leaving the press section to interview people in the crowd. This is a serious violation of their duty — protecting the protectee — and gets into assisting with the political aspirations of the candidate. It also often makes it impossible for reporters to get into the crowd to question the people who say vulgar things. So they prevent reporters from getting near the people doing the shouting, then claim it’s unfounded because the reporters can’t get close enough to identify the person.”

Today the Secret Service denied Milbank’s claim:

“It’s not a function of the Secret Service to prevent or limit reporters from interviewing the people at events,” said Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan. “We’ve never been asked by any campaign to do that.”

Donovan said that at rallies for all the candidates, the Secret Service sometimes separates the press corps that is credentialed to cover the event—known as the pool—from the general public. That is for logistical and security reasons, he said.

“Being in a press pool gives them special access,” said Donovan. “But the other side is that they have to stay together. You keep national press away from the local press for the same reason.”

Any journalist can get around these restrictions simply by attending the rally as a member of the public rather than a part of the press pool, he said.”

Milbank attended an early October rally in Clearwater FL where he also reported a slew of slurs by Palin supporters and was among the first to report that someone at a GOP rally yelled “Kill him.” William March at the Tampa Bay Online raised doubts about this incident, reporting that while one anonymous contact claimed someone yelled “Kill him” regarding William Ayers, two other persons heard a man near Milbank yell “Tell him” which could have been mistaken for “Kill him.”

Milbank’s most recent comments were made, in part, in response to a claim by a Scranton PA reporter that another Palin supporter yelled “Kill him” at a Scranton rally, a claim the Secret Service has since called unfounded.


FBI Investigating ACORN (Updated)

Filed under: 2008 Election,Civil Liberties — DRJ @ 4:14 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The FBI has confirmed it is investigating ACORN for voter registration fraud:

“The FBI is investigating whether the community activist group ACORN helped foster voter registration fraud around the nation before the presidential election. A senior law enforcement official confirmed the investigation to The Associated Press on Thursday.

A second senior law enforcement official says the FBI was looking at results of recent raids on ACORN offices in several states for any evidence of a coordinated national scam.”

I hope the FBI interviews the former ACORN employees in this El Paso Times’ article:

A former ACORN worker alleges he was fired four years ago by the organization after complaining about voter-registration irregularities to the El Paso County Elections Office.

“I was punished unfairly for being a whistleblower, because I complained about what I observed at the ACORN office,” said Daniel Mahar, a bartender and a stock-market day trader.

The El Paso Sheriff’s Office investigated his complaint about alleged voter registration irregularities but dropped it after the district attorney’s office turned down the case for prosecution.

An entry in the 2004 report by Detective Neil Baker states “I was contacted by (Assistant District Attorney) Steven Spitzer that the requested grand jury subpoena would not be issued due to the circumstances surrounding (Mahar’s) termination from employment and the allegations made do not constitute other than misdemeanor offenses.”
Another former ACORN employee, Irene Galindo, told the detective “that ACORN, under the supervision of Jose Manuel Escobedo, has terminated almost all of the American citizen volunteer deputy registrars and replaced them with immigrants that are not eligible to vote,” according to the report.

Escobedo said Galindo, a former rising star in ACORN, was another disgruntled employee who was dismissed around the time Mahar was let go, and denied the allegations.”

Both were fired and may have an ax to grind, but it’s interesting that they were apparently fired after complaining about ACORN’s alleged ethical and/or criminal lapses.

I’m not surprised the local officials weren’t interested in pursuing misdemeanor charges but I hope the FBI is more motivated. Given the timing, though, I’m afraid this may go down a post-election black hole at the DOJ.

PS – Baseball Crank analyzes the relationship between Obama and ACORN if you need a refresher on why ACORN is particularly important in this election.

UPDATE: The Obama campaign has asked the DOJ to investigate the investigation:

“[Robert Bauer, general counsel to the Obama campaign,] wrote to Attorney General Michael Mukasey a day after the Associated Press, citing unidentified law enforcement officials, reported that the Federal Bureau of Investigation was investigating ACORN. *** Bauer said the news leaks are part of a coordinated effort by McCain’s presidential campaign and Republicans. They are “fomenting specious vote-fraud allegations and there are disturbing indications of official involvement or collusion,” Bauer said.

“It is apparent,” he wrote, that law enforcement officials are serving “improper political objectives” that could inhibit voter participation in the Nov. 4 election. The aim is to “suppress the vote and to unduly influence investigations and prosecutions,” Bauer wrote.”


Rohter-Rooting at the New York Times

Filed under: 2008 Election,Media Bias — DRJ @ 3:32 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Jim Treacher goes fisking at the New York Times and discovers Rohter-rooting.


A Sad, Cruel Irony If McCain Loses A Close Election — McCain-Feingold And Obama’s Buying Of The Presidency

Filed under: 2008 Election — WLS @ 2:35 pm

Posted by WLS:

I’ll have more on this next week when the Obama campaign submits its campaign fundraising report to the FEC for September.

But if John McCain loses a close election to Obama, he’s going to spend some long evenings watching the Arizona sunset while thinking about how his bipartisanship in helping the Dems pass campaign finance reform in the Senate was returned by them. He’ll have to think about Russ Feingold cheering Obama on while he literally buys his way to the Presidency.

What I think we are going to discover in the aftermath of this election is that, by virtue of having opted out of the public financing system, Obama not only unshackled his campaign from the limit of spending only $84 million in this race but he also detached his campaign from the visceral obligation to spend no more than you can raise during the campaign.

Facts are coming into focus to show that the Obama campaign is likely spending vast sums of money in excess of any amount they hope to raise before election day — in essence they are running this campaign on a huge credit card. They are counting on the fact that a victory means they will possess the continuing fundraising clout as a President-elect to raise more than enough money to pay the campaign’s debts after the election from people who hope to have influence with the new administration.

The fact is that Obama started September 1 with $77 million in the bank. The most he raised in any one month at any point in the entire 2008 election cycle was $65 million. Even if you were to assume that he can raise $100 million a month in September and October, that would give him only $277 million to spend.

But we know from anecdotal reporting that he’s spending far more than that. Obama’s campaign apparatus is vastly bigger than McCain’s, Bush ’04 or Kerry ’04. That means more hard expenses like paid staff, offices and equipment, travel and lodging, etc. Obama himself, in touting the “executive experience” he was getting from running the campaign, pegged their operational expenses at $2 million a day back in August. It’s got to be significantly higher than that now.

Add to that the advertising expenses they are incurring at an unprecedented rate. A Politico story earlier this week said Obama was spending $3.5 million a day on advertising in late September and early October. That’s about $25 million a week or $100 million a month.

But yesterday Karl Rove in a WSJ article pegs Obama’s current advertising expense at $35 million a week.

There is no way they are paying for this ad time as they go — they are taking it on account, giving them 30 or 60 days to pay for it.

If their ad spending was $100 million in September and is now $140 million for October, along with the hard campaign costs of at least $60 million a month to run the apparatus — well, the math doesn’t add up. That alone would be $360 million between September 1 and the election.

As reported by David Fredosso in his book “The Case Against Barack Obama”, the lesson Obama took away from his first run for office — where he won by having all his competitors disqualified from the ballot — was the following:

“If you can win, you should win.”

When the numbers are all in and tallied, if Obama wins, we are going to find that he will have spent somewhere in the neighborhood of $750,000,000 between the primary and general campaigns in order to buy himself and the Democrat party the White House.

Hopefully McCain can get past calling Russ Feingold “My Good Friend”.

Don’t Believe The Hype in the Press — This One Ain’t Over. The Polls Tell The Story.

Filed under: 2008 Election — WLS @ 1:43 pm

Posted by WLS:

We’re seeing more and more stories in the media calling the race effectively over. Obama is feeding this storyline by dumping money into states where he’s got little chance to win, but giving the press reasons to report a looming Obama “landslide” since he’s “competing” in West Virginia, Kentucky, South Carolina, etc.

But let’s consider for a moment the impact of Joe The Plumber since Obama’s rope-line encounter with him on Monday afternoon in Ohio and the McCain campaign’s emerging message on “spread the tax/wealth”.

As Dick Morris noted on Wednesday after the debate, “Joe The Plumber” turned the tax issue in this election from an issue about the “rich” and corporations into an issue about the middle class. The exchange took place on Monday, it got some press attention on Tuesday, moved more into focus on Wednesday, and then exploded after the debate. Among the various tracking polls, you would have expected to see a little bit of influence in polling done Wednesday, much more influence in the polling done yesterday, and probably even more on polling being done today.

So, is there any evidence that Obama’s “Joe The Plumber” moment has had an impact?


Taking the Election to Court

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 1:17 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Kansas City lawyer and Obama supporter Mary Kay Green filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday against John McCain, Governor Sarah Palin, and campaign manager Rick Davis. Green asserts the McCain campaign has used false hate speech to work its supporters into a frenzy, leading to death threats against Obama:

“I will not tolerate another assassination [apparently a reference to John and Robert Kennedy],” Green said. “I have an obligation as an attorney to speak out and use my voice to say to John McCain and Sarah Palin that you must stop this behavior. You are participating in these death threats and have lost all protection from the First Amendment.

Green alleges she has been injured by the GOP’s campaign tactics and has suffered “terror of the heart, anxiety and grave fear” for Obama’s life. She also claims $6M in damages but says the money is not important since her purpose is a moral plea to the Republicans to temper their language.

The case has been assigned to a federal court mediation program.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Sixth Circuit’s ruling that the Ohio Secretary of State must do more to verify new voter registrations. The Court held the Ohio GOP did not have standing to bring the suit.

What a coincidence. The U.S. Supreme Court may decide the 2000 election and the 2008 election.


Perdigao Arrested for Hacking

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 1:04 pm

For those of you following the Perdigao story out of Louisiana, there is an update: Perdigao has been arrested and charged with hacking into Adams and Reese’s computers.

I still think there may have been something to some of his previously reported allegations against Adams & Reese and/or the U.S. Attorney’s Office, although there is no hard proof of the more serious allegations. And as to the current hacking allegations, it is good to remember that an accusation is not proof. This is, however, a reminder that the man who has made these allegations does not have clean hands.

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