Posted at 3:05 PM on September 25, 2006
by Tom Scheck
The legal counsel for the National Republican Senatorial Committee just held a conference call discussing last week's blogger incident. William McGinley says they're sending a letter to Democrat Amy Klobuchar's campaign asking several questions about last week's incident (if you don't know by now- go back to step one here). McGinley is requesting specific information from Klobuchar's campaign on the controversy. Specifically:
1) The timeline of events from the time Tara McGuinness (the aide who was asked to resign after watching the ad) was contacted by local blogger Noah Kunin to the time of public disclosure.
2) How the information from the ad was used by the Klobuchar campaign.
3) Did anyone else inside or outside the Klobuchar campaign access the secure password protected website concerning any other Republican Senate candidates or committees.
McGinley wouldn't divulge what the next step would be if Klobuchar's campaign doesn't give them the information they want. He says he takes Klobuchar campaign's protestations of innocence at face value but still wants answers to his questions. The Klobuchar campaign has declined comment on some of these questions because they say the issue is being investigated by the FBI.
So here are the big questions (sorry, Eric Black): Is the NRSC really worried about this incident or do they see a political opportunity to keep the story alive another day?
Make no mistake about it, it's a serious issue but Klobuchar campaign treated it as such. If this story has legs and if voters will punish Klobuchar for this are the remaining questions.
This isn't the only blogger controversy plaguing political campaigns. Someone actually put a blog scandal guide online. Guess who makes an online post on one of the sites? Noah Kunin, yes that Noah Kunin. He basically says thanks for putting the information out there.
Kennedy is out with a new ad that focuses on taxes. He doesn't mention Klobuchar by name in the ad but uses the "straw man" argument. He says "some people think we need to spend more money. Raise taxes. Raise income taxes, social security taxes, gas taxes, death taxes..."
Interesting ad note...
I talked to nine different people who took part in the MPR/St. Paul Pioneer Press poll for comments on the Senate race. Three of them mentioned (unprompted) how they didn't like Kennedy's criticism of Klobuchar in this ad. This isn't a scientific sample (that's why we do polls) but it struck me that respondents felt that strongly about this one particular ad. It makes me wonder if there's a negative ad backlash going on across the nation. NPR had a story this morning saying a negative ad is causing a backlash in Vermont's Senate race.
Klobuchar's campaign is also using Kennedy's ad to raise money. Klobuchar campaign manager Ben Goldfarb sent a fundraising letter to supporters detailing the ad:
Given what we know about Mark Kennedy, it should be no surprise that he has wholeheartedly adopted such Washington beltway-style tactics. Kennedy is pushing these intensely negative ads to try to distract Minnesotans from his own record in Congress of putting the wishes of George Bush, the Republican leadership and Washington's most powerful special interests ahead of the people of Minnesota.
The bottom line is that Mark Kennedy knows he can't run on his record so he is doing what he always does -- launching fiercely negative slash and burn personal attacks. When faced with the insurmountable obstacle of people who have no interest in sending another Bush yes-man to Washington, Kennedy simply follows the DC-insider playbook and attacks to distract.
Goldfarb then asks the reader for money to counter the ad. Klobuchar is clearly trying to move away from the blogger controversy and get the focus back on the issues. She is scheduled to discuss the donut hole in Medicare Part D on Tuesday.
One unscientific poll I'd like to do of people who are aggrieved over "negative ads" is ask them if they think President Bush should be impeached. The answer might illuminate which ox is really getting gored.
One the other hand, I wonder if people are not reacting to the content so much as the scary music and sonorous narrators. I don't care much for that myself, on either side. Makes me feel like someone is trying to manipulate me.
"3) Did anyone else inside or outside the Klobuchar campaign access the secure password protected website concerning any other Republican Senate candidates or committees."
How is Klobuchar supposed to know about the actions of those who are outside the campaign?
Did you ask them WHY they didn't like that ad? It really seems pretty mild to me, but I might not like it either if I'm a big supporter of Amy. I wish attack ads didn't work and that all campaigns didn't use them, but they seem to be effective, especially when they are pointing out that someone isn't telling the complete truth.
From the media usage book
Attack Ad - (noun) (1) Any ad by a Republican canidate for office. (2) Any ad that mentions a Democratic canidate for office.
For another take on the "previewing the Kennedy ad" so-called "blogger scandal", see "On tobacco money, unsecured websites and small railroads with Big Plans" .
The above post did not register the URL of the article, "On tobacco money, unsecured websites and small railroads with Big Plans". It is http://www.minnesotamonitor.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=376 .
Mr. Goldfarb needs to proof read his emails. In one sentence, it reads, "they've got another think coming." I believe he meant "thing."
Actually Mollie, "they've got another think coming" is probably exactly what the Klobuchar campaign intended to say. It's a pretty common colloquial expression, and it fits in with the rest of the sentence:
"Well, if they think a petty personal attack is going to stop us from telling the truth about what Mark Kennedy's been up to in Washington and talking about the issues that matter in this election, they've got another think coming."