Fat Steve's Blatherings

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

More on the Schiavo Memo

      Last week, I posted my solution to the Schiavo memo story: a real Republican list of talking points by Senator Mel Martinez of Florida was altered by Democratic aides.  Mudville Gazette links today to a Washington Times story with new information.

      Briefly, all Republican senators deny either writing the memo or even seeing it before it appeared in the papers.  And the only Democratic senator who claims any knowledge is Tom Harkin of Iowa, who said through a spokeswoman that he saw it on the floor.  (Senator Bill Nelson of Florida confirmed Harkin's involvement, saying Harkin told him of the memo.)  Of course, speaking through a spokeswoman, Harkin didn't have to answer any inconvenient questions about the content of what he saw.

      Senators Reed and Reid, of Rhode Island and Nevada respectively, refused to talk about the issue.  One other Democrat is backing off:
    Joe Shoemaker, a spokesman for Senate Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin, Illinois Democrat, said in several conversations over three days that his boss saw the memo on the floor.
    Asked independently, however, Mr. Durbin said he never saw it.
    "No, I did not see it," he said. "I heard about it reported on the news."
    Asked about the discrepancy, Mr. Shoemaker later said that the senator's floor staff thought he had seen it.  The staffers saw a "gaggle" of senators standing around discussing a document during floor debate, and Mr. Durbin walked over to them.

      Note those words: "discussing a document.  This tends to confirm that there was a "document," Martinez's press release, which a Democrat altered.  The fact that Harkin only talked about this through a spokeswoman, while Reed & Reid wouldn't talk at all, suggests at least one knows where it came from, but doesn't want to talk.

      The rats are deserting the sinking ship, you betcha.

      My guess as to what's up next: stonewalling by Democrats, and charges of a Republican conspiracy.  But I don't think that will convince anyone who doesn't want to be convinced.

      The wild card here is the New York TimesThey said that it was "Democratic aides" that:
passed out an unsigned one-page memorandum that they said had been distributed to Senate Republicans.

      Will the Times name those aides?  Senator Lott, chairman of the Rules Committee, has promised to look into this.  If the Times talks, the aides will get subpoenaed and have to talk or face contempt of Congress charges and job loss.  If the Times won't talk, it makes them look bad: 'We won't help get to the bottom of this, but trust us anyway."  The Washington Post and ABC News, who originally reported the story, are also going to suffer.  They failed to properly confirm that any Republican senators had actually seen the "memo."

      Some Democratic screwed up big time with this fraud.  It will be interesting watching it play out.  This could be as much fun as Rathergate.

      Update: OOPS!  See here.



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