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Friday, December 05, 2003

The New York Times continues to pound Dean for not releasing his documents.
--Posted at 3:33 PM | link

Al Sharpton will be hosting this weekend's Saturday Night Live. None of Iowa's NBC affiliates will be airing the show, because of federal equal time provisions. What will they see instead?

WHO and two other stations instead will air a previous episode of the 90-minute show. KWWL viewers in the Waterloo, Iowa, area will get to watch three infomercials pitching the Miracle Blade, Total Trolley and something titled "Attacking Anxiety."
Sharpton's campaign had some nasty words for the Iowa stations:
"Their lawyers must not have finished law school because NBC went through all sorts of research to make sure that it was appropriate," Halloran said.
I wonder if this appearance will give Sharpton a bump in the polls in the rest of the country. I guess it depends on whether anyone watches Saturday Night Live anymore.
--Posted at 3:30 PM | link

Thursday, December 04, 2003

Bush's records in Texas might not be so easily available after all:

How did George W. Bush deal with his gubernatorial records in Texas?

Our research indicates Dubya’s done a better job than Dean of keeping his from public view.

When Dubya left office in Texas in 2000, he shipped his gubernatorial records to his daddy’s presidential library on the campus of Texas A&M. According to Texas State Archivist Chris LaPlante, they were totally inaccessible to the public. There was no staff to catalogue them, said Laplante. And since “They were physically in a federal facility, they were subject to federal, rather than Texas, public-records law.”

After complaints were made, said LaPlante, the attorney general ruled they should be shipped to the state archive for cataloguing. The Bush records arrived in Austin in August 2002. According to LaPlante, it’s going to take another three years to complete the cataloguing. Then they’ll be shipped back to daddy’s library.

By Tuesday everybody, including two of Dean’s Democratic rivals, was piling on. The New York Times’ Jodi Wilgoren reported that “Mr. Bush’s Texas records were moved back to state custody after a ruling from the attorney general, and an archivist for the state said the Bush records were available for viewing.”

Archivist LaPlante called the above statement in the Times story “deceiving.” While the Bush records are officially “viewable,” said LaPlante, actually viewing them is another matter.

“They’re technically accessible,” said LaPlante, “but you might not get everything you ask for, even if we can find it.”

In Montpelier, Vermont, opposition researchers have been able to look through most of Gov. Dean’s records box by box. But in Texas, said LaPlante, a member of the public is not allowed to do so.
Republicans and Dean's Democratic rivals continue to put pressure on Dean to unseal the records. The conservative group Judicial Watch is suing to get the records opened. Their complaint, which alleges an inappropriate use of executive privilege to seal the documents, is available here.
--Posted at 10:52 AM | link

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Wow.

Kerry said he would appoint special envoys to the Middle East and elsewhere, hoping to tap former commanders in chief such as Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton or even the current president's father, George H.W. Bush. Prior to the speech, Kerry spoke to Carter and Clinton.

...

Kerry also suggested former Secretary of State James Baker as a possible envoy, a proposal that drew criticism from rival Wesley Clark, who called the notion of using the Republican who played a role in the 2000 Florida recount "offensive."

In a quick retort, the Kerry campaign said national security should trump party politics in light of the threats the nation faces.
I'm trying to imagine this. Kerry beats the younger Bush. Kerry asks the elder Bush to be a special envoy. The elder Bush, ignoring the fact that Kerry just knocked his son out of office, accepts. Realistic? Nah. But anything that gets Kerry media attention right now is good for him.
--Posted at 7:39 PM | link

Ralph Nader has approved an exploratory committee to raise money for a potential presidential campaign. A director of the committee said that Nader is using it to "test the waters," and that he has not yet committed to running for president.
--Posted at 3:03 PM | link

Howard Dean has been thinking about opening some of his official papers as governor of Vermont to the public. But apparently he has made no firm decisions, and he might not make any until the election.

Also, Dean said that his earlier comment--that he sealed the records to avoid the disclosure of embarrassing information--was a "smarty remark," and he wasn't "serious about it."
--Posted at 3:00 PM | link

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

Dean's opponents have found a new issue to use against him. This time, they're criticizing his decision to keep nearly half of his official papers as governor of Vermont secret for a decade. His two immediate predecessors as governor kept their papers sealed for only six years. Apparently, Dean had a presidential campaign on his mind when he made the decision to seal the documents for a longer time:

Dr. Dean, who initially asked that the records be sealed for 24 years, told Vermont Public Radio before he left office last year that he sought a longer grace period because "we didn't want anything embarrassing appearing in the papers at a critical time in any future endeavor."

A possible presidential campaign was openly discussed in the negotiations between Dr. Dean's counsel, David Rocchio, and the state archivist, Gregory Sanford, according to memorandums about the negotiations.

"It would be impossible to anticipate how opponents might mis/use even the most innocuous of documents," Mr. Sanford wrote to Mr. Rocchio in the summer of 2002. "Setting new barriers to access in an attempt to anticipate attacks would be, at best, unfortunate. Ironically, such barriers would probably become an issue, detracting from the governor's proud record of achievement."
Judicial Watch, a conservative group, is helping the other Democratic candidates out by filing a lawsuit to gain access to the papers. If they become public, we can be sure that Dean's opponents will study every word, looking for something that could hurt him.
--Posted at 12:15 AM | link

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