Edwards’ Chief Fundraiser Raises New Questions

The Edwards affair scandel has opened a new line of questioning, that is what his chief fundraiser, Fred Baron has been dabbling in illegal activities by covering up the affair using campaign money. These new allegations contradict Baron’s claim that the money he gave Rielle Hunter and Andrew Young the man who claims he is the father of Hunter’s baby. If Baron did use campaign money to finance Hunter and Young’s relocation to California then he should be brought up on charges, however more of an investigation needs to be done to determine how much Edwards knew and if he authorized said payments.

In addition to this there are ties between Baron and Hunter and Young lawyers dealing with rackettering charges. Something stinks here.

New questions emerged Friday about John Edwards’ longtime chief fundraiser and secret efforts that protected the pregnant woman with whom the former presidential candidate has admitted an extramarital affair in 2006.

Fred Baron, Edwards’ national finance chairman and a wealthy Dallas-based trial attorney, has acknowledged that he quietly began sending money to Rielle Hunter, Edwards’ mistress, to resettle in California, along with the family of Andrew Young. Young is the campaign aide who has said he is the father of Hunter’s daughter, born after her affair with Edwards.

But Baron is far more intertwined in the matter than previously known, with long-standing personal connections to the lawyers who represented Hunter and Young, according to a review of legal findings by the Associated Press. Hunter’s lawyer, Robert J. Gordon of New York, was sued unsuccessfully with Baron and Baron’s law firm in 2001 in U.S. District Court in New York in a racketeering complaint. Young’s lawyer, Pamela J. Marple of Washington, was among three lawyers who defended Baron and his firm. The case was dismissed in December 2005.

Baron didn’t return a phone call or respond to an e-mail from the AP on Friday.

The relationships among Baron, Marple and Gordon were first reported in Friday’s editions of the New York Times. The newspaper said Baron acknowledged he might have played a role in hiring Marple and Gordon in the Edwards scandal, after initially saying he did not know how the lawyers were chosen.

Meanwhile, an earlier payment of $14,000 to Edwards’ mistress from the candidate’s political action committee was exchanged for 100 hours of unused videotape she shot producing short Web movies for which she already had been paid $100,000, an Edwards associate told the AP. Neither Edwards’ advisors nor this associate would discuss the purpose of the payment on the record.

That payment from Edwards’ OneAmerica political action committee, which came after Hunter stopped working for it, came in April 2007, months before Baron quietly began sending money himself to Hunter. Baron has described his payments to Hunter as a private transaction.

Edwards acknowledged last week that he had an affair with Hunter in 2006. The former Democratic presidential contender and senator from North Carolina has denied any knowledge of payments from Baron to Hunter.

Baron’s payments could present legal problems, said Washington attorney Cleta Mitchell, who specializes in campaign finance law and who represents Republican candidates and conservative groups. She said all payments to anyone involved in Edwards’ presidential campaigns — including Hunter and Young — should have been fully disclosed under U.S. campaign finance laws.

“That would undermine the purpose of the payments, which was to avoid public disclosure of the affair,” Mitchell said. “The idea that Edwards’ finance chairman can independently hand over substantial sums of money to two campaign workers at a time when Edwards is a candidate and to argue that that is not related to his campaign is a bit preposterous.”

The earlier, $14,000 payment to Hunter is significant because its source was Edwards’ OneAmerica political action committee, whose expenditures are governed by U.S. election laws.

Willfully converting political action committee money to personal use would be a federal criminal violation.

An associate of Edwards, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the $14,000 was paid to Hunter only after she relinquished about 100 hours of cutting-room floor videotape excerpts that were not part of four short Web videos she had produced for Midline Groove Ltd., a company Hunter started with a business partner in 2006.

When Hunter provided the last of more than 100 hours of footage, the firm was paid as contracted for, said the Edwards associate.

Legal experts said it was important for Edwards to demonstrate that the PAC wasn’t paying Hunter merely to keep her quiet about the affair.

“One thing that’s possible is that she was still owed money from what she’d done before for the political action committee, but obviously there are less charitable explanations,” said Richard Hasen, a professor specializing in campaign finance law at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles.

Edwards, who made millions as a personal injury lawyer, has relied heavily on fellow lawyers to finance his political career.

And no single law firm has been more generous than Baron’s. Through Edwards’ election to the Senate from North Carolina and his 2004 presidential bid, the Dallas firm had donated $419,650 to help Edwards win elections, according to the Center for Public Integrity.

Baron, a former president of the main national trade association for trial lawyers and a longtime Democratic donor and fundraiser, also was Edwards’ finance chairman in his 2004 and 2008 campaigns for the presidential nomination.

Baron is also a huge democratic financeer in Texas, donating millions of his own money to start the Texas Democratic Trust . Now considering his recent limelight he needs to be investigated by Congress. But no our Congress would be much more concerned with investigating steroid use in MLB…

 WASHINGTON —  The Dallas lawyer who helped John Edwards’ former mistress move across the country has donated $3.5 million since 2005 to help fuel a Democratic resurgence in Texas, a newspaper reported Saturday.

Fred Baron has been by far the largest donor to a group called the Texas Democratic Trust, and Republicans are now taking aim at candidates who take money connected to him.

Baron, who is Edwards’ longtime chief fundraiser, has helped Democrats rebound from near-obscurity in the Texas House to within striking distance of winning a majority of seats this fall. Baron started the Texas Democratic Trust and gave it $1.9 million in 2005 and 2006, providing more than 80 percent of its funding, according to the Austin American-Statesman.

“Without Fred Baron, none of this would have happened,” Democratic consultant Jason Stanford told the newspaper. “He paid for it. He paid for the work that was absolutely necessary.”

Baron was thrust into the national spotlight after acknowledging that he quietly began sending money to Rielle Hunter, Edwards’ mistress, to resettle in California. Baron has said he did not tell Edwards that he helped Hunter, nor how much money he gave her.

The Edwards saga has given Republicans new ammunition to attack Baron and those who have benefited from his donations. This week, Republicans criticized Democrat Diana Maldonado, who is running for a state House seat, because she received $25,000 from a group that Baron gave $25,000 to in April.

“Making that connection is absolutely in-bounds, and we would be remiss if we didn’t,” said Hans Klingler, a spokesman for the Texas Republican Party.

Slightly more than half of the money raised by the state party’s political action committee in 2005 and 2006 came from the Democratic Trust. Baron’s recent donations are unmatched in Texas by anyone in his party.

As Baron’s money poured in, Democratic gains accelerated. At the start of 2006, Democrats held 63 of the 150 seats in the Texas House. They now hold 71, within five seats of a House majority.

Democrats took control of Dallas County government two years ago and have picked up two congressional seats. But the party hasn’t won a statewide race in 14 years.


The Truth Shall Set You Free

John Edwards recent revelation that he had an affair with ex-campaign employee Rielle Hunter is not in itself important and definitely a private matter. However since he was questioned about it numerous times and lied about it, makes that portion of it a public matter.

What is of concern here is that fact that he had this affair during his lead up to announcing his Presidential candidacy, ended the affair and told his wife of the affair and admits that he had the affair because of his sudden rise in politics, citing his vice presidential run, then has the audacity to announce running for President. This is akin to an alcoholic going to an AA meeting and then turning around and going to the bar afterwards for a nightcap. He contradicts himself in this aspect.

Then he has lied to the public for the past year when questioned about this affair, as recently as two weeks ago. The liberals would like that aspect to be forgotten, but isn’t that just what Bill Clinton did, lied lied lied then told the truth expecting the public to turn a blind eye, which the liberals did and to this day are saying he was impeached for getting a blow job. No you dumb asses, he was impeached for lying under oath. The only difference between Clinton and Edwards, is that Edwards was not under oath, but the core remains he lied to the public and his constituents throughout this situation.

Lastly, in terms of if he is the father, I find it interesting that he does not remember if a child was present at this last meeting with Hunter. Based on his answer I would venture to say yes a child was present, the question is now why would Edwards lie about that? He claims the meeting was because Hunter was having problems and needed to talk, well why would she bring a child to such a meeting. It sounds more like a parental visit to me and he got caught. But that is just my take on it.

Should the child turn out to be Edwards, it proves the lies just continue…

John Edwards admitted to ABC News in an interview with Bob Woodruff Friday that he repeatedly lied about an extramarital affair with a 42-year old campaign employee, but strenuously denied being involved in paying the woman hush money or fathering her newborn child. The former Democratic U.S. senator from North Carolina said he would be willing to take a paternity test and divulge the results publicly.

“Two years ago I made a very serious mistake, a mistake that I am responsible for and no one else. In 2006, I told Elizabeth about the mistake, asked her for her forgiveness, asked God for his forgiveness. And we have kept this within our family since that time.”

Edwards, 55, said he told his entire family about the affair after it ended in 2006, and that his wife Elizabeth, who has incurable breast cancer, was “furious” but that their marriage would survive. The couple have three children, Cate, 25, Emma, 9, and Jack, 7. When he confessed his affair to his wife, “she was mad,” Edwards said.

“She was angry,” he said. “I think ‘furious’ would be a good way to describe it. She didn’t understand. We both went through a process of trying to figure out how it happened, why it happened.” Late Friday evening, Elizabeth Edwards posted a message on her blog, saying that she and her children will stand by Edwards.

“Our family has been through a lot. Some caused by nature, some caused by human weakness, and some – most recently – caused by the desire for sensationalism and profit without any regard for the human consequences,” she wrote on http://elizabethedwards.dailykos.com/. “None of these has been easy.  But we have stood with one another through them all.  Although John believes he should stand alone and take the consequences of his action now, when the door closes behind him, he has his family waiting for him.”  

She too, denied in the blog post that Hunter’s child was fathered by her husband.

Edwards told ABC News that he met secretly with former lover Rielle Hunter as recently as last month in a California hotel room at her request because “she was having some trouble, she just wanted to talk.”

“I wanted her not to tell the public what had happened,” he said at another point. “Very simple. That’s the reason I went.”

Edwards contacted ABC News and requested that he be interviewed about the allegations. He agreed before the interview to place no limitations on the questions he would be asked, but limited the amount of time he would be questioned. He declined to clarify exactly when the relationship began or ended but said it was over before he announced his campaign for the presidency on Dec. 28, 2006.

“I think my family is entitled to every detail,” Edwards said. “They’ve been told every detail…I think beyond the basics…I think that’s where it stops in terms of the public because I think everything else is within my family and those privacy boundaries out to be respected.”

A series of dramatic allegations revolving around the affair have been reported by the supermarket tabloid National Enquirer. The most serious of those allegations is that Hunter has been receiving hush money through the Edwards campaign in order to keep her quiet.

In the interview, Edwards denied knowing anything about any support being provided to Hunter or to Andrew Young, the former Edwards campaign aide who has said that he, not Edwards, is the child’s father.

If any such support was being provided, Edwards insisted, “I had nothing to do with any money being paid, and no knowledge of any money being paid, and if something was paid, it wasn’t being paid on my behalf.”

Edwards’ 2008 national finance chairman Fred Baron said late Friday that he had provided “assistance” to Hunter and others without Edwards’ knowledge.

In a statement emailed to ABC News, Baron said that he “decided independently to help two friends and former colleagues rebuild their lives when harassment by supermarket tabloids made it impossible for them to move forward on their own.”   “I did this of my own volition without the instruction or suggestion of anyone, and made a conscious decision not to tell anyone, including John Edwards, that assistance was provided.  The assistance was offered and accepted without condition.  This is now and shall always remain a private matter between these individuals and me.”

Edwards said he knows he could not be the father based on the timing of the baby’s birth on February 27, 2008.

A grainy photo that appears to show Edwards holding a child was published recently in the National Enquirer, which claimed that the baby was Rielle Hunter’s child Frances Quinn. Edwards said he couldn’t make “sense” of the photo.

“I don’t know if that picture is me,” Edwards said. “It could well be. It looks like me. I don’t know who that baby is. I have no idea what that picture is.”

Pressed to clarify whether the child in the picture was Hunter’s child, Edwards suggested that the tabloid may have digitally altered the picture, but also noted the frequency with which politicians hold babies. “Do you know how many pictures have been taken of me holding children in the last three years? I mean it happens all the time.”

Edwards was asked again about the meeting.

“Are you saying you don’t remember holding that child of Miss Hunter?”

“I’m saying you asked me about that photograph. I don’t know anything about that photograph, I don’t know who that baby is. I don’t know if the picture has been altered, manufactured, if it’s a picture of me taken some other time, holding another baby…I have no idea. I was not at this meeting holding a child for my photograph to be taken I can tell you that.”

Edwards finally told Woodruff that he did not remember a baby being present at the meeting last month in California.

Edwards blamed the affair on the adulation surrounding his remarkable rise into presidential politics.

“I went from being a senator, a young senator to being considered for vice president, running for president, being a vice presidential candidate and becoming a national public figure. All of which fed a self-focus, an egotism, a narcissism that leads you to believe that you can do whatever you want. You’re invincible. And there will be no consequences.”

According to friends of Hunter, Edwards met her at a New York city bar in 2006. His political action committee later paid her $114,000 to produce campaign website documentaries despite her lack of experience. Edwards said the affair began during the campaign after she was hired. Hunter traveled with Edwards around the country and to Africa.

When the National Enquirer first reported the alleged Edwards-Hunter affair last October 11, Edwards, his campaign staff and Hunter vociferously denounced the report.

“The story is false, it’s completely untrue, it’s ridiculous,” Edwards told reporters then.

He repeated his denials just two weeks ago.

Edwards today admitted the National Enquirer was correct when it reported he had visited Hunter at the Beverly Hills Hilton last month.

Edwards made a point of telling Woodruff that his wife’s cancer was in remission when he began the affair with Hunter. Elizabeth Edwards has since been diagnosed with an incurable form of the disease.

Edwards was asked whether he loved Hunter.

“I’m in love with one woman,” he responded. “I’ve been in love with one woman for 31 years. She is the finest human being I have ever known.”

The former senator was asked why his wife was not by his side as he made the admissions about his affair to ABC News.

“I have seen these public figures who bring their wives along when they say they’ve done something wrong; confessing some wrong and the wife – they bring their wives to stand beside them I guess, to show support…Elizabeth didn’t do anything wrong. I…didn’t ask for her to be here. I asked for her not to be here. Uh, this is my responsibility; my alone. I have to be the man and take responsibility.”

Earlier in the interview, Edwards described his experiences in personal, visceral terms.

“I am imperfect,” he said. “And anybody, anybody watching this broadcast or who hears about this who wants to beat me up for this, they should have at it. The truth is – you can’t possibly beat me up more than I have already beaten myself up.”

Click Here for the Investigative Homepage.

Hillary Wins Empty Bag

Hillary’s 55% victory in Michigan is of significant importance because her only rival was Non-Committed, meaning that should the Primaries come to an end with a narrow margin, her rivals can use the non-committeds in MI to tip the scales… and there goes 25 delegates…

Clinton Scores Lonely Victory in Michigan’s Hobbled Democratic Primary

New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton headed off a potentially embarrassing situation Tuesday when she won Michigan’s Democratic presidential primary — a contest, tarnished by a scheduling dispute between the national and state party organizations, in which she was the only top-tier Democratic candidate on the ballot.

Clinton ended up with 55 percent of the vote in the lightly attended Democratic contest, with 40 percent of the voters choosing the “uncommitted” line.

The peculiar contest resulted from the hard line taken by the Democratic National Committee against Michigan’s rule-breaking Jan. 15 primary date, which ultimately led to the national party’s revocation of all 156 of the state’s delegates to the party’s August national convention. The DNC’s demand that most states, including Michigan, stick to a Feb. 5 starting date for the presidential nominating process prompted Illinois Sen. Barack Obama and former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards — Clinton’s chief rivals for the nomination — to withdraw their names from the ballot.

Clinton, though she observed the party’s ban on active campaigning for the Michigan primary, left her name on the ballot; she was accompanied only by two severe longshots, Ohio Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich and former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel , and Connecticut Sen. Christopher J. Dodd , whose very poor performance in the campaign-opening Iowa caucuses Jan. 3 caused him to drop out of the race. As a result, voters who might otherwise have preferred to support Obama or Edwards had only the alternative of voting “uncommitted.”

Despite these circumstances, Clinton’s campaign declared a significant victory. “Tonight Michigan Democrats spoke loudly for a new beginning,” Clinton Campaign Manager Patti Solis Doyle said in a statement. She added: “Your voices matter. And as president, Hillary Clinton will not only keep listening, but will make sure your voice is always heard.”

The diminished status of the Michigan Democratic primary was underscored by the fact that even while the votes were being counted, the three remaining top-tier candidates for the party’s nomination — Clinton, Obama and Edwards — were participating in a national televised debate in Las Vegas in advance of the Nevada caucuses scheduled for Saturday.

It was clear that the scheduling flap depressed turnout in the Democratic primary, well below levels that would have been expected in a state where Democrats hold the governor’ office and both U.S. Senate seats and where Democratic nominees have prevailed in four consecutive elections. According to complete, unofficial returns, turnout for the simultaneous Republican primary exceeded that for the Democratic contest by more than a quarter million voters. Former Massachusetts governor (and Michigan native) Mitt Romney finished first ahead of Arizona Sen. John McCain in the GOP primary.

But the state Democratic Party declared Tuesday’s primary a victory in its effort to break the overwhelming influence that the “first in the nation” Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary have long maintained in the presidential nominating process.

“It’s been painful and disappointing, I don’t want to minimize that, but I think we have expanded the national debate about reforming the system,” Michigan Democratic Party Chairman Mark Brewer told CQ Politics in the wake of his party’s hobbled primary.

“I’m hoping that because of what we’ve done this campaign season, that by 2012 we’ll have reform and no state will be guaranteed the right of always going first,” he added.

Although the national party has stripped the state of its delegates, Michigan Democrats insist they will have their full delegation restored at the national convention in Denver because of Michigan’s importance as a battleground state in the general election.

Brewer added that the skewed turnout for the primary was not an omen for the partisan contest to come. “I can tell you regardless of turnout tonight there’s enormous energy among Democrats in this state just as there is elsewhere in this country, and I expect that we’re going to have record high turnout in the fall,” he predicted.

Kucinich Is The New Black

As much of a wacko Dennis Kucinich is, he seems to have created a political magnet for the Democratic Party. Each camp has been slowly adopting his stance on a wide range of issues.

The change in the political field could be more damning if the public perceives the candidate as flip-flopping on the issues.

Even still Kucinich is still just a blip on the radar for winning the Democrat Primary, however his ideas are gaining momentum.

December 5, 2007 · On issue after issue, says Richard Wolffe of Newsweek, Dennis Kucinich’s views have gone from fringe to mainstream. That pattern became apparent again at NPR’s Democratic presidential debate yesterday, Wolffe says.

Kucinich notions that once seemed crazy to the Democratic Party ended up front and center Tuesday, Wolffe says, and NPR’s debate format gave the Ohio congressman a chance to shine. Kucinich is generally considered among the darkest of dark horses in the race. Yesterday, he spoke out about his opposition to liberalized trade with China and to the war in Iraq.

“We’re borrowing money from China to finance the war in Iraq,” Kucinich argued.

Wolffe says the idea of a Kucinich administration makes no sense to him, but he can’t help noticing a new vogue for Kucinich’s opinions.

“Think what you like about Kucinich and UFOs, but this Democratic field has essentially moved to the Kucinich position on trade, on Iraq, on a whole range of things where people thought he was a real outlier,” he says. “They’re all pretty much in agreement now, when it comes to some of these big issues like trade, like diplomacy and war. And they are where Dennis Kucinich is.”

On our blog, an open thread on the gravitational force of Kucinich.

John Edwards, The President That CAIRed?

CAIR agent under the guise of being a civil rights activist was dispatched to Iowa to ask John Edwards what he would do for Muslims if elected President

One important note is that he says he represents American Muslims, then in the same sentence talks about Muslims that have to wait two to five years longer than other people to become citizens. Well first off, those that are not citizens are not American Muslims. They are not Americans. Period. No where in our constitution does it dictate any time frame for becoming an American Citizen…

Profiling is a useful tool. There are certain people that need to be profiled. It was Arab Muslims that attacked the World Trade Center BOTH times. It was Muslims that attacked England’s transportation system TWICE. It was Muslims that created mass riots in France TWICE…. It is Muslim Terrorists that commit suicide bombings on a regular basis around the world. It is Muslim Terrorists that have hijacked airplanes on a fairly regular basis over the past 40 years. The list goes on…

John, please define torture, that is the biggest question, not whether or not we condone torture, by what constitute torture. Until this is defined in clear terms then you are blowing smoke out of your ass.

Maybe the reason CAIR does not like Rudy or Mitt is because they are afraid that they will be indicted as a terrorist funder as they should be.

CAIRing for John Edwards

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) dispatched its Chicago office director Ahmed Rehab to the Heartland Presidential Forum in Des Moines, Iowa, on Saturday to ask Democratic candidate John Edwards “a question about American Muslims and the civil rights movement,” the group announced yesterday.

CAIR issued a transcript of the question and answer, which it said was accepted with frequent applause.

AHMED REHAB: Senator, my name is Ahmed Rehab from Chicago, Illinois. I’m from the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Chicago and the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights.
REHAB: As a full-time civil rights activist, I receive hundreds of complaints from American Muslims regarding the sort of abuses, and prejudices, and discriminations that they face on a regular basis simply because of their name, physical appearance, or faith affiliation, whether it’s housing discrimination, or employment discrimination, or having to wait two to five years over the average time limit in order to obtain their citizenship.

Sadly, it seems that we’re facing a culture of fear-mongering that is replacing our collective constitutional vision for equal opportunity for all.

Senator, in the ’60s, Malcolm and Martin gave up their lives fighting for justice for all. The civil rights movement is not over. It’s not done yet. We’re still fighting.

Senator, fighting the civil rights movement is what I do on a daily basis, and we would like to know if you will fight with us, if elected president. Thank you.

SEN. JOHN EDWARDS: … We’ve got to stop this racial profiling that’s going on in the United States of America.

And we’ve got to change the entire atmosphere. Here’s what I’ll do as president: I will close Guantanamo, which I think is a national embarrassment.

We will have no more secret prisons, no more rendition, no more — and I use this word intentional — no more illegal spying on the American people by the president of the United States of America.

And then, finally, finally, it is so heartbreaking that we have a debate in America about what kind of torture is permissible. I have an answer to that: No torture is permissible in the United States of America. And those are all things that I would do as president.

CAIR does not appear to care much for Republican candidates Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani, whom they have criticized in past press statements.

Last week CAIR demanded a meeting with Mr. Romney to discuss a statement he made about placing Muslims in his Cabinet. In October, CAIR demanded Mr. Giuliani fire a campaign adviser who is a vocal critic of CAIR.

Audrey Hudson, homeland security reporter, The Washington Times

Liberals Kick Hillary While She Is Down

Wow, I never thought I would see the day that Liberals would be upset with Hillary. With the Iowa caucus coming up and Barak Obama taking the lead in the Democratic poles, her flip flop politics have now come under fire from her own side. I think this may be more of a surprise than the Hugo Chavez story. I really cannot believe this article yet, it could mean there is hope for Liberals after all…

What is odd, is that her policy changes for votes has been the typical MO for the Democratic party for years. I guess they learned from Kerry/Edwards, that it does not work.

Now someone needs to tell George Bush to take a firm stance again and stop his flip flopping because it makes Conservatives look like Liberals…

I can’t wait to see Hillary’s response to these adds, she cannot use the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy theory this time, so I guess her only card will be the Gender Card…

The Democratic fight is starting to look like my son’s Pokemon game…

I think the last sentence of the article would read better if it said she was in a three way with…

I imagine this groups ads will be tracked back to Obama… Here comes Hillarichu vs O-Bama-Ramadan…

WASHINGTON  —  Liberal activists plan to begin airing a television ad against Hillary Rodham Clinton in Iowa this week, the first non-Republican negative ad aimed at a Democratic presidential candidate.

The group, Democratic Courage, has accused Clinton of making policy decisions on the basis of polls, not convictions. It planned to introduce the ad Tuesday.

Glenn Hurowitz, the group’s president, described the spot as a modest buy that would run on cable only, meaning it won’t be seen as much as ads by Clinton and rival Barack Obama, who are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on ads in the state.

Democratic Courage is a political action committee, financed by contributions of no more than $5,000 per person.

“We are concerned that she wouldn’t be the best candidate in the general election or the best president because she is so easily bullied by the Republican attack machine,” Hurowitz said.

Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani and John McCain have all run ads putting Clinton in a negative light.

Hurowitz said the group does not plan to endorse any candidate, though he said it may run a negative ad against another Democrat in the field. He would not identify who that would be. He said the extent of the group’s advertising would depend on the amount of donations its first ad generates.

Clinton is in a virtual three-way tie in Iowa with Obama and John Edwards. The Iowa caucuses are only one month away.

CNN Seeding GOP Debate For Harvesting

CNN still is denying it stage plant against the GOP during the recent YouTube/CNN debate.

Those that buy their story are blind to the political agenda.

CNN has claimed that even though the questions were from democrats that they were very good questions…

Well, let’s see, several people have been exposed as democrat supporters in a higher capacity than the general public and the Democratic YouTube/CNN debate was mainly softball questions, like hair color… Hmm, no political agenda on CNN’s part is there….

It would seem to me that with the recent knowledge of Hillary’s planting of questions at her own events, that it is more than feasible that she had people posing questions at the GOP debate. This would fit her typical MO for politics…

CNN is either allowing these plants are in worse case scenario, creating these plants to move their agenda.

CNN’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy

By Michelle Malkin  •  November 30, 2007 07:09 AM

I wrote a piece for the NYPost published today on CNN’s horticultural journalism (reprinted below). Filed it before we learned about the CAIR intern. CNN host Howard Kurtz quotes CNN senior veep David Bohrman bleating that they “bent over backwards to be fair.” I quote him below, too. Glenn Reynolds notes that CNN used Google…to buy plane tickets for Plant Number One Keith Kerr and other questioners.

Which ones, I wonder?

I’ll be talking about the debacle this morning on Fox and Friends around 8:15am. (Update – Video here.)


IF any more political plants turn up at CNN’s presidential debates, the cable-news network will have to merge with the Home and Garden channel.

At CNN’s Democratic debate in Las Vegas two weeks back, moderator Wolf Blitzer introduced several citizen questioners as “ordinary people, undecided voters.” But they later turned out to include a former Arkansas Democratic director of political affairs, the president of the Islamic Society of Nevada and a far left anti-war activist who’d been quoted in newspapers lambasting Harry Reid for his failure to pull out of Iraq.

Yet CNN failed to disclose those affiliations and activism during the broadcast.

Behold – the phony political foliage bloomed again at Wednesday night’s much hyped CNN/YouTube GOP debate.

Oh, CNN did make careful note that Grover Norquist (who asked about his anti-tax pledge) is a Republican activist with Americans for Tax Reform. But somehow the network’s layers and layers of fact-checkers missed several easily identified Democratic activists posing as ordinary, undecided citizens.

The tallest plant was a retired gay vet, one “Brig. Gen. Keith Kerr,” who questioned – or rather, lectured – the candidates on video and in person about the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy that bans open gays from the military.

Funny. “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was exactly the policy CNN adopted in not telling viewers that Kerr is a member of Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual- Transgender Americans for Hillary.

Sen. Clinton’s campaign Web site features a press release announcing Kerr and other members of the committee in June. And a basic Web search turns up Kerr’s past support as a member of a veterans’ steering committee for the John Kerry for President campaign – and his prior appearance on CNN in December ‘03.

CNN’s moderator, Anderson Cooper, singled out Kerr (who’d been flown in for the event) in the vast audience, giving him a chance for his own filibustering moment. Marvel at it: Not one CNN journalist uncovered the connection or thought it pertinent to disclose that Kerr’s heart belonged to Hillary.

When righty commentator Bill Bennett pointed out the facts to Cooper after the debate, a red-faced Cooper feebly blubbered: “That was something certainly unknown to us, and had we known that, would have been disclosed by us. It turns out we have just looked at it.”

Cluelessness doesn’t absolve CNN of journalistic malpractice. Neither does editing out Kerr’s question (as the network did on rebroadcast, to camouflage the potted plant).

The story is far from over: Cooper and CNN still owe their audience – and the GOP candidates – a bouquet of mea culpas for due diligence and disclosure lapses. Beyond Kerr, Internet sleuths have uncovered several other Democratic activists lurking in the YouTube garden:

* A young woman named “Journey” questioned the candidates on abortion. On her blog (easily accessed from her YouTube channel), she declares herself a John Edwards supporter. Post debate, she immediately posted a video wearing . . . her John Edwards ‘08 T-shirt.

* David Cercone of Florida asked a question seemingly on behalf of the Log Cabin Republicans. He had declared his support for Obama on an Obama ‘08 campaign blog back in July.

* Concerned mother LeeAnn Anderson asked about lead in toys with her two children in her lap. She is actually a staffer and prominent Pittsburgh union activist for the United Steelworkers – which has endorsed Edwards.

On other questioners, elementary Google searches show that:

* Ted Faturos, who asked about ethanol subsidies, had served as an intern for Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.).

* Adam Florzak, who asked about Social Security, quit his job as a welder and is working with Sen. Dick Durbin’s (D-Ill.) staff on the issue.

* Mark Strauss, who urged Ron Paul to run as an independent, had publicly supported Gov. Bill Richardson in July.

Alternative media platforms – talk radio, the Internet and this op-ed page – have spread these facts like kudzu. But the persistent media double standard is obvious to everyone but the manure spreaders at CNN: Had GOP candidates somehow been able to insert their operatives and supporters into a Democratic debate, and had, say, Fox News failed to vet the questioners and presented them as average citizens, both Fox and the GOP would be treated as the century’s worst media sinners.

Whether through, as one blogger put, “constructive incompetence” or “convenient ineptitude,” CNN has committed journalistic malpractice under the guise of “citizen” participation.

In a now richly ironic interview with Wired.- com before the debate, David Bohrman, a CNN senior vice president, explained why videos were picked not by popular vote, but by supposedly seasoned CNN journalists: The Web is still too immature a medium to set an agenda for a national debate, he claimed. “It’s really easy for the campaigns to game the system.” “You’ve seen how effective the Ron Paul campaign [supporters] have been on the Web,” he noted. “You don’t know if there are 40 or 4 million of them. It would be easy for a really organized campaign to stack the deck.”

What does Bohrman have to say about his crack staff now?


Hillary Straps One On For The “Boys”

Hillary Clinton has stepped up her game and gone on the offensive in the Las Vegas Democratic debates… Taking one for the team, she is now trying to potray herself as the dominant one on the playing field by attacking bothe Barak Obama and John Edwards… Pulling from her arsenal of past mistakes, she sees to it Obama stumbles on the Drivers Licenses for Illegals issue and spanks John Edwards for Flip Flopping.

The Lower Ranks of the Democratic candidates also came out swinging in an attempt to show the public their strong sides, not that it will mean much in the long run as they don’t have a shot in hell at winning the primaries…

She is now trying to downplay the gender card and make up for her past mistakes, well folks this could be it. She out smarted the “boys” now that she is thinking clearly instead of emotionally…

LAS VEGAS  —  Hillary Rodham Clinton showed she knows how to use the roughhouse tactics of the political boys club.Two weeks after a rocky presidential debate performance where she appeared at times both defensive and evasive, the New York senator came into Thursday’s Democratic forum ready to rumble.For the first time, she directly challenged the records of her top rivals, Barack Obama and John Edwards. She even chided Edwards, her fiercest critic in this debate and others, for “throwing mud” Republican-style.

Spectators inside the debate hall appeared to echo that criticism, repeatedly booing Edwards and occasionally Obama when they criticized Clinton.

And after days of torturous contortions on whether she supported granting driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants, Clinton was able to stand by and watch as Obama was tripped up on the issue this time.

“To the degree she might have been stumbling in the last debate, she regained her footing tonight,” Democratic strategist Garry South said. “It was a very impressive performance by Hillary Clinton. She showed she could battle back criticism very well.”

It was a night during which many of Clinton’s rivals also turned in strong performances. Joe Biden demonstrated his expertise in foreign policy during an exchange over the growing crisis in Pakistan. Chris Dodd displayed his fluency on education issues, parrying a question on merit pay for teachers by saying he supported such pay for teachers in poor rural and urban districts.

But with exactly seven weeks until Iowa holds its leadoff caucuses, the dynamic between Clinton and her top two rivals loomed large. Polls show Clinton, Obama and Edwards locked in a tight three-way race in the state, and a Clinton win would be seen as her glide path to the nomination. Anything less and the nomination is up for grabs.

After months of avoiding any direct confrontation with her rivals, Clinton adopted a more aggressive tone. She took on Obama on his health care plan, arguing it would leave 15 million Americans uninsured. Obama has said he would first focus on bringing down costs.

She also noted that Edwards hadn’t supported universal health care when he ran for president in 2004. “I’m glad he is now,” she said.

Edwards responded by angrily denying he had “flip flopped” on important issues, as he’s repeatedly accused Clinton of doing.

“Anybody who’s not willing to change based on what they learn is ignorant, and everybody ought to be willing to do that,” he said. “I’m saying there’s a difference between that and saying the exact same two contrary things at exactly the same time.”

If anything, the former first lady showed she knows how to learn from her mistakes.

After her rough outing in the last debate, Clinton lamented the “all-boys club of presidential politics” while her campaign advisers accused her male rivals of “piling on.”

This time, Clinton smoothly deflected questions about whether she had played the gender card.

“It is clear, I think, from women’s experiences that from time to time there may be some impediments,” she said. “And it has been my goal over the course of my lifetime to be part of this great movement of progress that includes all of us, but has particularly been significant to me as a woman.”

To be sure, it wasn’t a perfect debate for Clinton.

Obama again cornered her on how she would keep Social Security solvent, a question she has sidestepped repeatedly. And she was forced to defend her Senate vote to take a more aggressive stand against Iran amid questions from a returning Iraq soldier and his mother who said they feared a showdown with Iran was coming next.

“Her weakest issue right now is Iran. It puts her at an enormous disadvantage in these debates,” Democratic strategist Bill Carrick said.

But Clinton was able to take advantage of other moments to showcase her toughness on foreign policy.

In an exchange over the situation in Pakistan where Gen. Pervez Musharraf has declared a state of emergency, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson said he believed that human rights were more important than U.S. national security.

Clinton flatly disagreed. “The first obligation of the president of the United States is to protect and defend the United States of America,” she said.

The strangest moment in the debate — and the most fortuitous for Clinton — came over a discussion of granting licenses to illegal immigrants, a question that has haunted Clinton since the last debate.

Until this week, she said she generally supported governors’ efforts to find ways to promote public safety in their states in the absence of federal immigration reform. But Wednesday, she completely reversed herself, announcing she opposed giving driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants.

When CNN moderator Wolf Blitzer pressed the candidates on whether they supported granting licenses, Obama gave a long and convoluted answer. When Clinton was asked, she simply said “no.”

Clinton Planting More Than Corn In Iowa

The Clinton camp has been caught planting questions during a Town Hall forum in Iowa. The reprecussions are yet to be seen however the up coming caucus could show a caustic backlash as this area holds sacred the true meaning of open forums.

The biggest problem with this is that her canned speech is designed to force a perspective on Global Warming that may not necessarily be true. See says that young people in Iowa are very concerned with Global Warming and she knows this as so many are asking her about it.

The next area of concern is the political flip flop, isn’t this what the Bush Administration was accused by Democrats and they made a huge issue about it, the only difference, is that the Bush Administration allowed a specific reporter into a press conference, where as Hillary is using college students to influence other college students…

Lastly, it shows that Hillary is afraid of the open market questions, because she got caught off guard during the Democratic debate, so now she needs prepared answers so she does not stumble on the questions in the future. I wonder how many other questions have been plants, and how many more will come.

The Clinton camp has said this is then end, however had they not been caught, obviously this would have been the status quo for them.

Can you smell the fertilizer?

SIOUX CITY, Iowa —  Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton’s campaign admitted Friday that it planted a global warming question in Newton, Iowa, Tuesday during a town hall meeting to discuss clean energy.

Clinton campaign spokesman Mo Elliethee admitted that the campaign had planted the question and said it would not happen again.

“On this occasion a member of our staff did discuss a possible question about Senator Clinton’s energy plan at a forum,” Elliethee said.

“However, Senator Clinton did not know which questioners she was calling on during the event. This is not standard policy and will not be repeated again.”

In a state where the caucus is held sacred and the impromptu and candid style of the town hall meeting is held dear, Clinton’s planted question may come as a great offense to Iowans.

According to a report on the Grinnell University Web site, the Clinton campaign arranged for some of the questions for the candidate to be asked by college students:

“On Tuesday Nov. 6, the Clinton campaign stopped at a biodiesel plant in Newton as part of a weeklong series of events to introduce her new energy plan. The event was clearly intended to be as much about the press as the Iowa voters in attendance, as a large press core helped fill the small venue…. /**/

“After her speech, Clinton accepted questions. But according to Grinnell College student Muriel Gallo-Chasanoff ’10, some of the questions from the audience were planned in advance. ‘They were canned,’ she said. Before the event began, a Clinton staff member approached Gallo-Chasanoff to ask a specific question after Clinton’s speech. ‘One of the senior staffers told me what [to ask],’ she said.

“Clinton called on Gallo-Chasanoff after her speech to ask a question: what Clinton would do to stop the effects of global warming. Clinton began her response by noting that young people often pose this question to her before delving into the benefits of her plan.

“But the source of the question was no coincidence — at this event ‘they wanted a question from a college student,’ Gallo-Chasanoff said.”

The tape of the event shows that the question and answer went as follows:

Question: “As a young person, I’m worried about the long-term effects of global warming How does your plan combat climate change?

Clinton: “Well, you should be worried. You know, I find as I travel around Iowa that it’s usually young people that ask me about global warming.”

The campaign’s admission that it planted the question may be another blow to the New York senator’s image as a trustworthy politician.

Clinton’s critics have accused her of being a double-talker who refuses to answer tough questions specifically. Now her campaign has acknowledged planting at least one question.

Already her rivals have begun to criticize Friday’s revelation.

“In light of a weak debate performance, not to mention a persistent inability to answer the tough questions, it appears the Clinton campaign has adopted a new strategy of planting questions,” John Edwards’ Communications Director Chris Kofinis said.

“It’s what the Clinton campaign calls the politics of planting.”

Hillary’s Switftboat Sinking Fast

Bill is trying to do damage control for Hillary and seems to be making it worse. He is trying to use the John Kerry cry of Hillary being swiftboated, then when called on that by Democrat contenders, he tries to apply unseasoned logic that the whole democratic party is vulnerable to a Republican swiftboat action. What a way to try and recoop from mis-speaking.

Now, in both cases, Bill has it wrong. The swiftboat campaigns was a group of former soldiers that served with Kerry who disputed his account of his actions and service record. Their contention is that he lied. The Democratic debate had non of those traits to it, it was the trailers attacking the leader of their own party. Non on the contender claimed Hillary made up her record on drivers licenses for illegal immigrants, they claimed that she was not answering the question.

As for this setting up other Democrats for swiftwatering, since the basis of Bill first argument is incorrect, then it only follows that his “clarification” is baseless as usual.

This is nothing more than political posturing and hoping to get a sympathy vote pulled from Hillary’s rivals… Cry me a river Bill…

So far the Gender Card has been Used, the Swiftboat Foul has been called, I guess next it will be the Vast Republican Conspiracy….

The Setup:

Clinton Charges Through Iowa, Bill Clinton Likens Attacks on Hillary to ‘Swift Boat’ Ads

With less than two months until the Iowa caucuses, Hillary Clinton is charging through the early-voting state in an attempt to widen a lead that was recently imperiled when her Democratic opponents stepped up their game of hardball against her following last week’s candidate debate.

The frontrunner’s worries that opponents Barack Obama and John Edwards could outflank her in the heartland have set her to hiring 100 new staff in Iowa and possibly doubling that army by election night on Jan. 3.

It also has led to a back and forth about fair play that has even dragged husband Bill Clinton into the fray.

The former president has denounced attacks on his wife, likening criticism of her positions on issues to the attack ads by Swift Boat Veterans for Truth that helped sink John Kerry’s White House hopes in 2004.

“We saw what happened the last seven years when we made decisions in elections based on trivial matters. When we listened to people make snide comments about whether Vice President Gore was too stiff. And when they made dishonest claims about the things that he said that he’d done in his life. When that scandalous Swift Boat ad was run against Senator Kerry,” Bill Clinton told some 3,000 members of the American Postal Worker’s Union at a convention in Las Vegas on Monday night.

“I had the feeling that at the end of that last debate we were about to get into cutesy land again,” he continued. “I think it’s fine to discuss immigration. We should. … But not in 30 seconds, yes, no, raise your hand. This is a complicated issue.”

Hillary Clinton has let her husband do the talking in her defense, instead taking the high road and telling Iowa voters she’s running a “positive campaign.” Her strategy of turning the other cheek plays to Iowa’s long-running antagonism toward negative campaigning.

Clinton is leading in Iowa by a narrower margin than she has been polling nationally, but even her national numbers have slipped in the last week. A Rasmussen poll taken of 750 likely voters between Nov. 1 and 4 showed Clinton with 41 percent support, down from the 49 percent she earned in a similar Rasmussen poll taken two weeks earlier. Her closest opponent, Obama, has 22 percent, the same number he held in the earlier poll.

In Iowa, an American Research Group poll taken between Oct. 26 and 29 of 600 likely voters put Clinton 10 points ahead of Obama, with 32 percent support. A University of Iowa poll taken a week earlier only gave her a two-point lead.

Trying to widen the gap in Iowa, Clinton has visited 33 Iowa cities this week to speak about her plan to increase biofuels production, achieve energy independence and create so-called “green” jobs.

But her pledge to stay positive has done little to silence her opponents, who scoffed Tuesday at her husband’s raising the specter of the Swift Boats ads.

Democratic candidate and Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd called the Clintons’ response to the debate “outrageous.”

“To have the former president come out and suggest this is a form of swiftboating … is way over the top in my view,” Dodd said.

Edwards, the former North Carolina senator who in recent days has led the charge against Clinton, continued the barrage, releasing a statement challenging Clinton to answer five “simple questions” on Iraq and claiming she has provided no plan for ending the war.

Asked in New Market, N.H., if he was piling on the Democratic frontrunner with the rest of the all-male field, Edwards said, “No.”

“I think everyone who is running for president should be held to the same standard, and I have enough respect for all voters, including women voters in America, who know they have to evaluate every single one of us on the merits,” he said.

Obama, the Illinois senator, chuckled in an interview with The Associated Press when he said he “was pretty stunned” by Bill Clinton’s statement. He added that all the candidates need to have a thicker skin.

“I mean, I think it’s assumed that we are running for the presidency of the United States of America and that we’ve got to answer tough questions,” he said, adding that Hillary Clinton’s contradictions attract criticism.

“How you would then draw an analogy to distorting somebody’s military record is a reach,” Obama said of Bill Clinton’s comparison.

A Clinton spokesman on Tuesday urged the New York senator’s Democratic opponents to tone down the anti-Clinton rhetoric and join forces with her against attacks from the Republican Party.

“While Senator Obama copies John Edwards by spending his days attacking other Democrats, Senator Clinton is talking about how she’ll address the nation’s energy crisis,” said spokesman Jay Carson. “Senator Obama is well aware that the former president was saying that the Republicans will do anything to play politics with a serious issue. So instead of launching another attack against the Clintons, Senator Obama should join with them in working to prevent all Democrats from being attacked by the GOP.”

Obama’s spokesman Bill Burton didn’t let that notion rest.

“The only person playing politics today is Senator Clinton. It’s absurd to compare a simple yes or no question about immigration that Senator Clinton still won’t answer seven days after the debate to the despicable Republican attacks against John Kerry. … Senator Obama believes that to truly stand up to the Republican attack machine, we have to be honest and straightforward about where we stand on the major issues facing America,” Burton said.

Clinton is headed to New Hampshire next but plans to return to Iowa Saturday. The packed schedule in Iowa appears to be wearing on her, as she frequently makes reference to her raspy voice.

“My voice is getting a little worn down. I’ve been talking for about 10 months. Especially the last four days,” she said Tuesday in Amana.

FOX News’ Serafin Gomez, Major Garrett and Aaron Bruns and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

The recovery:

Bill Clinton: Debates might leave ’08 Dems open to swift-boating

Watch former President Clinton’s comments in Las Vegas on Monday.

CHICAGO (AP) — Former President Clinton said Wednesday that all the Democratic presidential candidates could be open to a “swift boat kind of ad” if they try to give quick responses to complicated issues like driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants.

A day after being criticized for defending his wife, the former president tried to explain his comments linking criticism of Hillary Rodham Clinton to the swift boat campaign against John Kerry’s military record in the 2004 campaign. Bill Clinton made the comparison Monday during a speech in Las Vegas.

Sen. Chris Dodd said it was “way over the top.” Sen. Barack Obama said he was stunned to hear the former president make such a comparison.

At the end of a Democratic presidential debate last week, Hillary Clinton hedged when asked whether she supported a plan by her home state governor to issue licenses to illegal immigrants.

Dodd, Obama and others have accused her of trying to have it both ways on the issue.

Bill Clinton said Wednesday he didn’t think it was a good idea to tackle such a complicated issue by asking the candidates to answer with hand-raising. He said candidates should have enough time to give full answers.

“I thought it made all the Democrats vulnerable to a swift-boat-kind of ad in the general election,” Clinton told reporters after a rally at a South Side ballroom with several hundred of his wife’s supporters. The event was closed to the media.

“When you have complicated issues, you don’t want to turn them into two-dimensional cartoons,” he said.