Posts Tagged ‘Sam Stein’

While Justin Hart continues to insist that the push-poll scandal is an non-story, stories abound. This, friends and well-wishers, is how not to manage a crisis. Note how the political primitives of team Romney allow their pursuers to develop one revelation after another, just enough to keep the story alive, just enough to justify the next wave of scrutiny.

Please understand: issuing piecemeal denials, rationales, explanations etc. in exchange for every new revelation only confirms people in their suspicions. Examples follow.

“More facts emerge that further raise questions about the Mitt Romney Phone Scandal phone calls placed to two Iowan supporters of Mitt Romney, Marshan Roth and Rose Kramer,” writes eye of eyeon08 in a post titled Iowa Romney staff/’voters’ change story

They both told reporters that they received phone calls on Wednesday of last week. Marshan Roth told the Salt Lake Tribune that she “got a call on Wednesday night.” Rose Kramer told Dave Lightman from McClatchy that she was “waiting for the TV show ‘House’ to start at 8 p.m. Tuesday when a pollster called.” However, she then told Reid Wilson from RCP that “she received around 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday.”

Meanwhile:

“Deepening the mystery surrounding the anti-Mormon polling calls, the Romney campaign is confirming that it referred reporters to two recipients of the calls without disclosing that the two were also on the Romney campaign payroll, TPM Election Central has learned,” writes Greg Sargent in a TPM ElectionCentral post titled Exclusive: Romney Campaign Referred Reporters to Anti-Romney Call Recipients Without Disclosing That They Were On Romney Payroll

In response to questions from TPM Election Central, Romney spokesman Kevin Madden confirmed that the campaign had failed to disclose this info to reporters. Madden suggested that the campaign had identified them as “supporters,” which is a far cry from being directly paid by the campaign, as the two call recipients were.

The revelation could add grist to the theory — now spreading on conservative blogs and even getting coverage by news organizations — that the Romney campaign itself is behind the calls. Some have speculated that the calls — which attack Romney and refer to his Mormon faith while saying positive things about McCain — are an effort by the campaign to test negative messages about itself while getting McCain blamed for the calls.

Elsewhere:

“Yet another connection, albeit an indirect one, now ties Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign to the recent spat of anti-Mormon phone calls made in New Hampshire and Iowa,” writes Huffpo’s Sam Stein in an article titled Mystery Deepens: Several Recipients Of Anti-Mormon Calls Are Romney Staffers

Several recipients of the calls, which raised questions about Romney’s Mormon faith and military deferments, are prominent supporters of the former Massachusetts governor.

Marshan Roth of Fairfield, Iowa, who is paid $500 a month as a GOTV (get out the vote) consultant for the Romney campaign, received a call on this past Wednesday night. Rose Kramer of Dubuque, Iowa, who co-chairs Romney’s Iowa faith & values steering committee and is a $1,000-a-month GOTV consultant, received a call either that same day or a day earlier, depending on conflicting reports.

Roth and Kramer are now the third members of Romney’s Iowa campaign to have publicly acknowledged received the calls. Ralph Watts, a state representative in Iowa, who also backs the former governor, was one of the first people to come forward.

And yet, during subsequent press interviews, neither Roth nor Kramer disclosed the positions they held on Romney’s team. In fact, as several other reporters have pointed out, both individuals drastically downplayed their campaign associations. And in an interview with the Salt Lake Tribune, Roth took the opportunity to lash out against Sen. John McCain, the presidential candidate initially thought to be behind the calls.

Dear Team Romney. Either prepare to die the death of a thousand cuts, or get your lazy pear-shaped side-ways organization in gear and get out in front of this. The only way you can do that is to

(a) immediately reveal everything that you know about this,

and,

(b) mount your own investigation promise to take action against any staffer who may be involved.

You need to position yourself as being on the side of law and order. Right now, Team Romney, your’e behaving as if you’re hiding something.

Were you anything other than a joke-campaign—and if your negatives were not higher than space—we would further recommend mounting and circulating a vigorous counter-narrative. Do you remember Prosecutor Star and the constant revalations about Monica Lewinski etc. leading up to Pres. Clinton’s impeachment? Clinton partisans has a counter-narrative that they repeated constantly: THIS IS ALL ABOUT SEX. This would not work for you, however. Your candidate’s ultra-high negatives and icy-cold humanoid persona will not support a negative message.

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

In a race42008.com post titled Western Wats Speaks Some More … , the intrepid Justin Hart attempts to diffuse the push-poll scandal issue:

  • … In many cases [insists Hart's source at Western Wats] they have no idea who the end client is. (this way they don’t taint the data one way or the other)
  • [Hart's source]indicated that he would love nothing more than a political entity to force their hand on this and reveal the client. But his hands are tied.
  • [Hart's source] believes that if the script is ever made available that the reaction will be “Is this all? that’s not a big deal” … etc.

Yes. Only the Romneys botched their response to the issue by cynically attempting to blame the intended victim of the smear, Sen. John McCain. See:

Romney denounces decorated war veteran Sen. John McCain on issue of recently-reported push polls—no, we’re not joking—we may be laughing merrily at Romney’s oafish opportunism, but we’re not joking

This blithering-idiot level mistake resulted in a grass-roots backlash so fierce that Team Romney can neither control nor even contain it:

… “But a far more conspiratorial take is gaining steam in the blogosphere,” writes Sam Stein for HuffPo in a release titled Could Romney Be Behind the Anti-Mormon N.H. Phone Calls?

The theory is that Romney’s campaign orchestrated the scheme, in hopes that the fallout would taint GOP rivals as character assassins.

On its face it seems preposterous. But commentators, online columnists, and political blogs are giving it increasing credence. And the idea is being talked about among insiders and higher-ups.

For starters, they note, the company behind the phone calls, Western Wats, is based in Orem, Utah, and its former executive, Ron Lindorf, is the founder of the BYU School of Business; meaning the anti-Mormon calls were, suspiciously, coming from a company with strong connections to the Mormon community. In addition, Western Wats’ past client list includes several high-profile Romney supporters. The company has worked for Allan Bense, the Florida House Speaker who chairs Romney’s Florida Statewide Steering Committee, and has made calls for Michigan State Representative Gary Newell, who serves on Romney’s Michigan Leadership Team.

Then, they say, there is the money. A review of campaign finance data reveals that Hugh Black, a programmer at Western Wats has donated $500 to the Romney campaign, while Jeffrey Welch, a business manager, offered up $500 of his own. Amanda Earnshaw, a dialer (the job title is often emphasized by others) maxed out with $2,300. And Neil Hahl, who is currently on the board of American Capital Strategies, which acquired Western Wats in 2005, gave $4,600, half of which was returned.

Asked about these reports, Kevin Madden Romney’s spokesperson responded: “Citizens have a right to donate, but we would reject outright any insinuation that these [calls] are tied to this campaign.”

Comment: Way to repeat the charge, Kevin. Shades of Nixon’s (in)famous “I am not a crook!”—or Pres. Clinton’s (in)famous “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Monica Lewinski.” Are you sure you’re not a mole for a rival campaign, Kevin? Back to Stein:

Even so, some sites have noted, there are direct personal relationships between Romney and Western Wats. Teena Lindrof, the sister-in-law to the founder and chairman of the company, is reportedly a friend and supporter of the former Massachusetts governor. And back in 2002, when Western Wats was seeking reimbursements from a customer service assessment agent, it was represented by Honigman, Miller, Schwartz and Cohn LLP, the firm of G. Scott Romney, Mitt’s brother … etc.

So an event that should have, or could have been a non-event—or an event that could have redounded to Romney’s credit since he was—perhaps, we suppose—one of the intended victims of the smear—has boomeranged back on Romney, and not because of anyone else but Romney. The same boomerang effect occurred when Romney-flunkie and famous dirty-trickster Paul Weyrich tried to smear the National Right to Life Committee:

Harris: “[Romney] should understand that despite their campaign’s every effort, groups like the National Right to Life Committee’s PAC (NLRC-PAC) cannot be bought”—the Romneys get taught another painful lesson in what it means to go negative when your own negatives are astronomically high

Memo to the political primitives of Team Romney: Are you beginning to detect a pattern, you super-geniuses? Dudes!—wake up!—your negatives are too high—and your candidate is too icy-cold—to support a negative message!

Has their ever been a more fabulously funded yet totally-completely inept campaign? Do we really want this man to be our president?—we mean, really?

yours &c.
dr. g.d.





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