Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Kerry's Brother Mulls a run for Mass. Secretary of State

By Frank Phillips, Globe Staff | July 27, 2005

Cameron F. Kerry, the younger brother and a close political adviser to US Senator John F. Kerry, said yesterday he is laying the groundwork to run for the 2006 Democratic nomination for secretary of state.

Kerry, a Boston lawyer who has operated in his sibling's shadow for more than three decades, said he met with Secretary of State William F. Galvin yesterday to inform him of his decision to run for the office, but assured him it was dependent on Galvin's vacating the post to run for the Democratic nomination for governor.

Read More: Boston Globe

Monday, July 25, 2005

Rove/Plame Scandal: Just the Facts sorts out the facts and tells it like it is. Here's their very useful timeline of the events and facts as we know them. No spin.
The Wilson-Plame-Novak-Rove Blame Game

The Timeline
1988-1991 – Joseph Wilson serves as Deputy Chief of Mission in Baghdad, Iraq. In July 1990, he takes over as acting ambassador to Iraq. (Joseph Wilson, The Politics of Truth 451, 2004).

1992-1995 – Nominated by President George H.W. Bush, Wilson serves as Ambassador to the African nations of Gabon, as well as the smaller island country of the Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe. (Wilson, Politics 451).

1995-1997 – Joseph Wilson serves as political adviser to the Commander in Chief of the U.S. Armed Forces in Europe, stationed in Germany. On a trip to Washington DC, Wilson meets Valerie Plame who at the time says she is an “energy executive living in Brussels.” (Wilson, Politics 239-242).

June 1997 – Joseph Wilson returns to Washington DC as Senior Director for African Affairs at the National Security Council. At about the same time, Plame also moves back to the United States (Wilson, Politics 240), in part because the CIA suspects her name was leaked to the Russians in 1994. (Vanity Fair, Jan. ‘04).

April 3, 1998 – Wilson and Plame marry. (Wilson, Politics 276).

July 1998 – Joseph Wilson leaves government service to open a consulting firm specializing in assisting international investment in Africa. (Wilson, Politics 275).

1999 – Joseph Wilson takes a trip to Niger at the behest of the CIA to investigate “uranium-related matters” separate from Iraq (Wilson, Politics lv-lvi). According to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report on pre-war intelligence, Wilson “was selected for the 1999 trip after his wife mentioned to her supervisors that her husband was planning a business trip to Niger in the near future and might be willing to use his contacts in the region.” (Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Report on Prewar Assessment of Iraq Intelligence, 39, July 2004).

April 22, 1999 – Valerie Wilson lists “Brewster-Jennings & Assoc." - later revealed to be a CIA front company—as her employer when making a donation to the Gore campaign. (Gore FEC filing).

June 1999 – Niger’s former prime minister Ibrahim Mayaki meets with an Iraqi delegation wanting to discuss “expanding commercial relations.” Mayaki interprets this as an interest in uranium, Niger’s main export, and later tells Wilson that he did not discuss it because Iraq remained under UN trade sanctions. (Senate Intelligence Cmte., Iraq 43-44, July 2004).

October 15, 2001 – US intelligence agencies become aware of reports from the Italian intelligence service of a supposed agreement between Iraq and Niger for the sale of uranium yellowcake. The State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research considers the report “highly suspect” because the French control Niger’s uranium industry. The CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency, and the Department of Energy consider a uranium deal “possible.” (Senate Intelligence Cmte., Iraq 36, July 2004).

October 18, 2001 – The CIA writes a report titled, Iraq: Nuclear-Related Procurement Efforts. It quotes many of the Italian report’s claims, but adds that the report of a completed deal is not corroborated by any other sources. (Senate Intelligence Cmte., Iraq 36- 37, July 2004).

February 5, 2002 – The CIA’s Directorate of Operations – the clandestine branch that employed Valerie Wilson – issues a second report including “verbatim text” of an agreement, supposedly signed July 5-6, 2000 for the sale of 500 tons of uranium yellowcake per year. (Senate Intelligence Cmte., Iraq 37, July ‘04).

February 12, 2002 – The Defense Intelligence Agency writes a report concluding “Iraq is probably searching abroad for natural uranium to assist in its nuclear weapons program.” Vice President Cheney reads this report and asks for the CIA’s analysis. (Senate Intelligence Cmte., Iraq 38-39, July ‘04).

Responding to inquiries from Cheney’s office, the State Department, and the Defense Department, the CIA’s Directorate of Operations’ Counterproliferation Division (CPD) look for more information. They consider having Wilson return to Niger to investigate. In the process, Valerie Wilson writes a memo to a superior saying, “My husband has good relations with both the PM [prime minister] and the former Minister of Mines (not to mention lots of French contacts), both of whom could possibly shed light on this sort of activity.” One of Valerie Wilson’s colleagues later tells Senate investigators she “offered up his name” for the trip. Wilson says that her agency made the decision and she only later approached her husband on the CIA’s behalf. (Senate Intelligence Cmte., Iraq 39, July 2004).

February 19, 2002 – Joseph Wilson meets with officials from CIA and the State Department. According to a State Department intelligence analyst’s notes, the meeting was convened by Valerie Wilson. She later testifies that she left the meeting after introducing her husband. (Senate Intelligence Cmte., Iraq 40, July ‘04).

February 26, 2002 – Wilson arrives in Niger. He concludes, after a few days of interviews, that “it was highly unlikely that anything was going on.” (Senate Intelligence Cmte., Iraq 42, July 2004).

March 5, 2002 – Wilson reports back to two CIA officers at his home. Valerie Wilson is present but does not participate. (Senate Intelligence Cmte., Iraq 43, July 2004).

March 8-9, 2002 – An intelligence report of Wilson’s trip is sent through routine channels, identifying Wilson only as “a contact with excellent access who does not have an established reporting record.” (Senate Intelligence Cmte., Iraq 43-44, July ‘04). The CIA grades Wilson’s information as “good,” the middle of five possible grades. Cheney is not directly briefed about the report. (Senate Intelligence Cmte., Iraq 46).

September 24, 2002 – The British government issues a public dossier saying, “[T]here is intelligence that Iraq has sought the supply of significant quantities of uranium from Africa.” (British Govt. Report 25, Sept. ‘02). The Washington Post reports later that the CIA tried unsuccessfully to get the British to omit these claims. (“Bush, Rice blame CIA,” July 2003).

October 1, 2002 – The National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) – a summary of intelligence assessments for policymakers – says “a foreign government service” reported that Niger planned to send several tons of "pure uranium" to Iraq, possibly up to 500 tons a year. “We do not know the status of this arrangement,” the NIE says, according to a later declassified version released by the White House. In the NIE, State Department intelligence officials caution that African uranium claims are “highly dubious.” (Background WMD Briefing by Senior Administration Official).

January 28, 2003 – Bush’s State of the Union Address includes this 16-word sentence: “The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.” (Transcript of “State of the Union”).

March 7, 2003 – The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) – the international body that monitors nuclear proliferation – tells the UN Security Council that, after a “thorough analysis” with “concurrence of outside experts,” that the Italian documents— “which formed the basis for the reports of recent uranium transactions between Iraq and Niger—are in fact not authentic.” (Status of Nuclear Inspections in Iraq, March 2003).

March 19, 2003 – President Bush announces the start of the Iraq war in a televised address, saying it is “to disarm Iraq, to free its people and to defend the world from grave danger.” (Bush, “Addresses the Nation”).

Spring 2003 –Valerie Wilson is in the process of moving from non-official to official, State Department cover, according to a later Vanity Fair article based on interviews with the Wilsons. (Vanity Fair, Jan. 2004).

May 2003 – Joseph Wilson begins advising the Kerry campaign on foreign policy issues. (“White House expects calls,” USA Today, Oct. 2003).

May 6, 2003 – A New York Times columnist writes the first account of Wilson’s trip, but not naming him: “I'm told by a person involved in the Niger caper that more than a year ago the vice president's office asked for an investigation of the uranium deal, so a former U.S. ambassador to Africa was dispatched to Niger. In February 2002, according to someone present at the meetings, that envoy reported to the C.I.A. and State Department that the information was unequivocally wrong.” (“Missing In Action: Truth,” New York Times, Op-ed, May 2003).

June 2003 – State Department intelligence officials reportedly prepare a memo on the Niger affair mentioning Wilson’s trip to Niger and Valerie Wilson’s role in selecting her husband for the mission. The exact date is uncertain. The memo doesn’t identify Valerie Wilson or her status as a covert agent. According to one account, the memo was classified and the paragraph containing information about Valerie Wilson was marked with “(S)” to indicate that the information was classified at the “secret” level. The CIA applies this level of classification to the identities of covert officers, according to the Washington Post. (“State Dept. memo gets scrutiny,” New York Times, July 16, 2005; “Probe Centers on Rove, Memo, Phone Calls,”, July 18, 2005; “Plame’s Identity Marked as Secret,” Washington Post, July 21, 2005).

June 12, 2003 – A Washington Post article quotes an “envoy” (Wilson) as saying that the “dates were wrong and the names were wrong” on the Italian document determined to be forged by the IAEA. (“CIA Did Not Share Doubt,” Washington Post, June 2003). Wilson later tells the Senate Intelligence Committee that he may have “misspoken” to reporters, thinking he had seen the documents himself, rather than reading about them secondhand. (Senate Intelligence Cmte., Iraq 44).

July 6, 2003 – Wilson publishes “What I didn’t find in Africa” in The New York Times, identifying himself for the first time as the unnamed “envoy.” He writes, “I have little choice but to conclude that some of the intelligence related to Iraq's nuclear weapons program was twisted to exaggerate the Iraqi threat.” Wilson does not mention that he learned there was a possibility Iraq had sought uranium during a 1999 trade meeting with Niger’s former Prime Minister.

Contrary to later statements by White House officials, Wilson does not claim that Cheney sent him on the Niger trip, only that he was sent to answer questions from Cheney’s “office.” He also doesn’t claim that Cheney was told of his findings, only that it would be “standard operating procedure” for the CIA to brief Cheney’s office on the results of his mission (Wilson, “What I didn’t find," New York Times July 6, 2003).

July 7, 2003 –Secretary of State Colin Powell, aboard Air Force One, reportedly receives a copy of the State Department memo prepared in June about the purported Niger-Iraq uranium deal, which mentions Valerie Wilson’s role in her husband’s trip, according to later media reports. (“State Dept. memo gets scrutiny" New York Times, July 2005; “Shielding Plame’s Identity,” Wall Street Journal, July 2005; “Memo Eyed in CIA Leak Probe,” AP, July 2005).

July 7, 2003 – White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer retracts the 16-word yellowcake claim from the State of the Union address, calling the President's statement “incorrect.” (White House Press Gaggle, July 7 2003).

July 8, 2003 – Columnist Robert Novak calls senior White House adviser Karl Rove, according to subsequent media accounts. Novak tells Rove he had heard that Joseph Wilson’s wife, who worked for the CIA, played a role in Joseph Wilson’s trip to Niger. Rove confirms the story to Novak without mentioning Valerie Wilson’s name or covert status, saying “I heard that, too.” ("Rove Talk on C.I.A. Officer," NY Times, July 2003). Novak will later write that he originally acquired the information from an official who is “no partisan gunslinger.” Novak says, “When I called another official for confirmation, he said: ‘Oh, you know about it.’” (Novak, “CIA Leak” Chicago Sun- Times, Oct 2003).

July 11, 2003 –Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper calls Rove, who cautions him to be careful of Wilson’s story, “‘Don't get too far out on Wilson,’ he told me,” Cooper later writes. Rove tells Cooper that Wilson’s wife works for the CIA on “WMD” (Weapons of Mass Destruction) and that it was she, not Cheney or the CIA’s director, who was “responsible” for sending Wilson to Africa. “Rove never used her name and...indeed, I did not learn her name until the following week,” Cooper later recalls adding, “Rove never once indicated to me that she had any kind of covert status." Cooper says Rove ends the call saying “I've already said too much.”

Cooper also says he talked to Cheney’s Chief of Staff, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, about the story. “I asked Libby if he had heard anything about Wilson's wife sending her husband to Niger. Libby replied, ‘Yeah, I've heard that too,’ or words to that effect. Like Rove, Libby never used Valerie Plame's name or indicated that her status was covert.” (Matthew Cooper, “What I told the Grand Jury,” Time, July 2005).

July 11, 2003 – Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet concedes in a statement that the State of the Union claims about Iraqi attempts to buy uranium from Africa were a mistake and that the “16 words should never have been included in the text written for the President.” (Tenet Statement, July 2003).

July 12, 2003 – Washington Post reporter Walter Pincus is told by an administration official that that White House had ignored Joseph Wilson’s 2002 trip to Niger because it was a “boondoggle” set up by his wife. (“Anonymous Sources,” Nieman Reports 27, Summer 2004). Pincus did not report his conversation because, as he would later describe, “Plame's name was never mentioned and the purpose of the disclosure did not appear to be to generate an article, but rather to undermine Wilson's report.” (“Probe Focuses on Month Before Leak,” Washington Post, October 2003).

July 14, 2003 – Robert Novak’s “Mission to Niger” column is published. This is the first published mention of Joseph Wilson’s wife’s name, her employment at the CIA, and her role in his trip to Niger. In the sixth of ten paragraphs, Novak writes, “Wilson never worked for the CIA, but his wife, Valerie Plame, is an Agency operative on weapons of mass destruction. Two senior administration officials told me Wilson's wife suggested sending him to Niger to investigate the Italian report. The CIA says its counter-proliferation officials selected Wilson and asked his wife to contact him.” The column does not describe her as a covert agent, then, but it does name her as “Valerie Plame” - her maiden and cover name. Novak gives conflicting accounts of whether Mrs. Wilson instigated her husband’s trip or was asked by others to do so. (Novak, “The Mission to Niger,” Chicago Sun-Times, July 2003).

July 14-17, 2003 – Newsday’s Washington bureau chief, Timothy Phelps, tells Joseph Wilson “that he had heard from the CIA that what Novak reported vis- à-vis Valerie’s employment was not incorrect,” according to Wilson’s memoir. “I declined to be drawn into a confirmation even then,” Wilson would later recall. (Wilson, Politics 348).

July 16, 2003 – Wilson speaks about Novak's column with David Corn, Washington bureau chief for the liberal magazine The Nation. According to what Corn writes on his blog at, Wilson says, “Naming her this way would have compromised every operation, every relationship, every network with which she had been associated in her entire career.” Corn says Wilson is still “known to friends as an energy analyst for a private firm.” (“A White House Smear,” The Nation, July 2003; Wilson, Politics 349). Corn's entry is the first instance where someone alleges publicly that the release of Valerie Plame’s name disclosed the identity of a covert agent.

July 17, 2003 – Time publishes online “A War on Wilson?” by Cooper and others, the first time Time names Mrs. Wilson. Cooper quotes, “government officials” as saying “that Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, is a CIA official who monitors the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. These officials have suggested that she was involved in her husband's being dispatched Niger [sic] to investigate reports that Saddam Hussein's government had sought to purchase large quantities of uranium ore.” (Matt Cooper, “A War on Wilson?,” Time, July 2003).

July 22, 2003 – In an article headlined “Columnist Blows CIA Agent's Cover,” Newsday publishes a story as saying, based in part on Wilson’s assertions, that senior administration officials “violated the law and may have endangered her (Mrs. Wilson’s) career and possibly the lives of her contacts in foreign countries.” The newspaper says Wilson wouldn’t confirm that his wife was a covert agent. (“Columnist Blows CIA Agent's Cover,” Newsday, July 2003).

July 30, 2003 – The CIA sends a letter to the Criminal Division of the Justice Department noting “a possible violation of criminal law concerning the unauthorized disclosure of classified information,” according to a letter from the CIA’s Director of Congressional Affairs. (CIA, Letter to Rep. John Conyers).

August 21, 2003 – Wilson, speaking at a public panel discussion, said he was interested in seeing Karl Rove “frog-marched out of the White House in handcuffs” after hearing from reporters that Rove had called his wife “fair game.” (Wilson, Politics 372- 4; 351).

September 16, 2003 – The CIA sends another letter to Justice requesting that the FBI undertake a criminal investigation. (Wilson, Politics 359).

September 16, 2003 – White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan dismisses the idea that Karl Rove was Novak’s anonymous source as “totally ridiculous.” (White House Press Briefing, Sept. 16, 2003).

September 29, 2003 – McClellan says he has spoken to Rove, denies that Rove was involved in the leak, and says, “If anyone in this administration was involved in it [the leak], they would no longer be in this administration.” (White House Press Briefing, Sept. 29, 2003). In a letter sent to Representative John Conyers on January 30, 2004, the CIA will confirm that its Counterespionage Section has asked the FBI to initiate an investigation. (Letter to Rep. John Conyers from the CIA).

September 30, 2003 – The Justice department publicly announces an official criminal investigation. Commenting, Bush says, “And if there is a leak out of my administration, I want to know who it is. And if the person has violated law, the person will be taken care of” (“President discusses job creation,” U. of Chicago, Sept. 30, 2003).

September 30, 2003 – Wilson endorses Senator John Kerry for president. (“Man With an Independent Streak,” Washington Post, October 1, 2003).

December 30, 2003 – Facing allegations of bias, Attorney General Ashcroft recuses himself from the investigation and U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald takes over the investigation as a special prosecutor. (“Ashcroft Recuses Self" Washington Post, 31 December 2003).

May 21, 2004 – Time's Cooper is subpoenaed for the grand jury investigation. Time says it will fight the subpoenas. (“Reporters Subpoenaed" Wash. Post, May 2004).

June 10, 2004 – Bush is asked by a reporter, “[D] o you stand by your pledge to fire anyone found to have [who leaked the agent's name]?” Bush replies, “Yes. And that's up to the U.S. Attorney to find the facts.” (President Bush Press Conference Following G-8 Summit, Savannah, GA, June 10, 2004).

June 24, 2004 – Prosecutors question President Bush, who is not under oath, in the Oval Office for over an hour. (“Bush Interviewed" Washington Post, June 25, 2004).

August 12, 2004 – New York Times reporter Judith Miller, who did not write a story identifying Valerie Wilson, is subpoenaed by the grand jury. (“NY Times reporter subpoenaed” AP, Aug. 2004).

October 15, 2004 – Rove testifies before a federal grand jury for two hours. Fitzgerald assures Rove that he is not a target of the probe. (“Rove Testifies” Washington Post, Oct. 2004).

November 2, 2004 - Bush wins re-election.

June 27, 2005 – The Supreme Court declines to hear the appeal of Judith Miller of The New York Times and Cooper of Time, leaving standing a lower court’s ruling that they must testify to a federal grand jury. (“Reporters Lose” Washington Post, June 28, 2005).

July 1, 2005 – Over Cooper’s objections, Time Inc. turns over subpoenaed material. Time managing editor Norm Pearlstine tells CNN that journalists “regularly point a finger at people who think they're above the law,” and “I'm not comfortable being one of them myself.” (“Time Magazine”, June 30, 2005).

July 6, 2005 – Miller, still refusing to testify before the grand jury, is jailed for contempt of court. (“’Time’ Reporter to Testify", July 6, 2005). Cooper says he receives last-minute permission from his confidential source, Karl Rove, to testify. (Matthew Cooper, “What I told the Grand Jury,” Time, July 2005).

July 18, 2005 – Bush – easing off his earlier promise to fire anyone who leaked – says “if someone committed a crime, they will no longer work in my administration.” (Bush Press Conference with Prime Minister of India, July 18, 2005). His press secretary Scott McClellan declines to say whether a firing would be triggered by an indictment or would require a conviction. (White House Press Briefing, July 18, 2005).

--by Kevin Collins with Jordan Grossman, Jennifer L. Ernst, Matthew Barge, Brooks Jackson

The Wilson-Plame-Novak-Rove Blame Game

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Kerry/Armstrong 2008

One can dream can't he. : )

Congratulations Lance on your 7th Tour Win! You inspire us all and set the standard.

Good luck with your future endeavors. (PS. Nudge, nudge, America could use a fresh progressive independent voice in politics. I can think of a certain Texas Congressional seat that you might consider running for in 2006 )

Friday, July 22, 2005

Kerry Seeks Release of Roberts' Documents

- By JESSE J. HOLLAND, Associated Press Writer
Friday, July 22, 2005

(07-22) 16:53 PDT WASHINGTON, (AP) -- Democratic Sen. John Kerry urged the White House on Friday to release "in their entirety" all documents and memos from Supreme Court nominee John Roberts' tenure in two Republican administrations.

"We cannot do our duty if either Judge Roberts or the Bush administration hides elements of his professional record," said the Massachusetts senator who was his party's presidential candidate last year.

Opening what is expected to be a broader attempt by Democrats to pry loose documents, Kerry issued his statement as Roberts made the latest in a series of courtesy calls on senators in advance of confirmation hearings.

Democratic officials also said Friday they want access to all material regarding Roberts at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California. Roberts served in the White House counsel's office from 1982-1986. He was principal deputy solicitor general in the administration of President George H.W. Bush.

The Reagan Library, in Simi Valley, Calif., holds an unknown number of documents relating to Roberts, arranged by subject matter. While material in some subjects are designated on the library's Web site as available to the public, most is not.

Among the publicly unavailable material is an entry marked "Specter, Senator." Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which will hold hearings on Roberts' nomination, beginning either in late August or early September.

The Democratic officials said Democrats also are eager to learn details of Roberts' activities in Florida in 2000, at the time of the state's contested presidential recount. They spoke on condition of anonymity, saying they were not authorized to provide details.

An attorney in private practice at the time, Roberts flew to the state at his own expense to offer advice to Republican Gov. Jeb Bush, as the governor's older brother tried to clinch the election over then-Vice President Al Gore.

The Democratic officials described the search for information as routine in the case of any nominee to the Supreme Court.

Tracy Schmaler, a spokeswoman for Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee, declined to confirm the disclosure. She said that in general, Democrats intend to seek material relating to Roberts' career.

Kerry is not a member of the committee. But he nonetheless injected himself into the debate at the end of a week in which Bush appeared to catch Democrats off guard by picking a court candidate with conservative credentials, yet one with little judicial experience, and thus, little public paper trail. Roberts would replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who often provided the decisive vote in split decisions, sometimes siding with conservative justices and sometimes with the liberals.

"The American people should know whether John Roberts will protect their constitutional rights if confirmed as a justice to the court," Kerry said in a statement.

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, asked on ABC earlier this week about providing documents to the Senate, said, "I'm not going to prejudge ... at this juncture what the Senate may request and what information that the executive branch is ultimately going to provide to the Senate."

Roberts sat down with senators in their offices for a third day Friday, making the rounds of those who will sit in judgment of his nomination. He has additional visits scheduled for next week.

Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the Senate's No. 2 Democrat, said he voted against Roberts in committee for his appeals court seat two years ago partly because he didn't feel the nominee fully answered senators' questions.

"I urged Judge Roberts, as far as he can legally within the canons of ethics, to be forthcoming and honest with his answers," Durbin said after their meeting. "If he is open and honest, I think it will go a long way."

There was upbeat Republican talk after Roberts' meetings with Majority Whip Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and GOP Sens. Jeff Sessions of Alabama and Tom Coburn of Oklahoma.

Sessions, whose own nomination to the federal bench was scuttled by Democrats before his election to the Senate, said Roberts "has the very natural qualities to make a superior judge."

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

What to Make of Supreme Court Nominee John Roberts?

While not the most outrageous ideologue Bush could have chosen, Roberts is a pleasing pick for the right wing conservatives Bush is hoping to please, mainly because he has flip-flopped on his position of Roe v. Wade, so it's unclear what his true beliefs are. That's convenient for the White House who will undoubtedly sell his position to conservatives as firmly against Roe v Wade, while at the same time they will also try to position Roberts as a Moderate to democrats, liberals, and civil rights and women's groups who are concerned about abortion rights being overturned.

Roberts in a brief he co-wrote in 1990 that suggested the Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade
"The court's conclusion in Roe that there is a fundamental right to an abortion ... finds no support in the text, structure or history of the Constitution," the brief said.

In his defense, Roberts told senators during his 2003 confirmation hearing that he would be guided by legal precedent. "Roe v. Wade is the settled law of the land. ... There is nothing in my personal views that would prevent me from fully and faithfully applying that precedent."

Of course if confirmed Roberts could actually set precedent rather than follow it, so Roe v Wade is definitely in play.

On other issues that will effect Americans for decades, Roberts is clearly a conservative. Expect decisions that are pro big-business, anti environment, and hostile to civil rights and progressive causes. - IFK Editor

See AP Story: Bush Nominates Federal Judge John Roberts

Kerry Calling for Congressional Investigation of Rove

Email to Kerry supporters...

Dear __,

How many more times will Karl Rove make President Bush eat his words and shred his credibility before Karl Rove does the honorable thing and leaves the White House?

Yesterday the President furiously backpedaled from his promise to fire anyone involved in leaking the identity of a covert CIA agent to the press. Now that it's known that Rove and Vice President Cheney's Chief of Staff Lewis Libby were involved, the President has lowered the bar and now says he'll only fire someone who is convicted of a crime.

President Bush is setting a terrible standard of leadership in the White House by protecting insubordinate aides who refused to come forward when the President demanded to know who in his administration leaked Valerie Plame's identity -- and he's sending a disturbing message about our national security.

The President should not wait to find out whether Rove is convicted in the end for his leak. Either Rove lied to the President about this matter of national security, which means he should be fired immediately, or the President is not being straight with the American people about his own involvement in this case.

With all the dissembling coming out of the White House, it's clear that the only way the American people can get to the bottom of this is through full Congressional hearings. I will call for hearings this week -- and you can strengthen this call by adding your name to our petition today:

With both the House and Senate in Republican hands it will be difficult to force Congressional hearings on the Bush White House. Having as many statements as possible from people in every state will help my colleagues and me show that this is what America wants. According to a poll released yesterday by ABC News, 75% of Americans believe that Karl Rove should be fired if he leaked classified information.

More than 300,000 people have signed on so far -- help us double our numbers by forwarding this email to your friends asking them to sign:

Thank you,

John Kerry

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Rove Leak Dredges up WMD Claims Made by White House

More than just leaking a CIA agents name, the Rove story is causing panic in the white house precisely because it reminds Americans that there was clear evidence against the Administration's claims about WMD's in Iraq. The story is a reminder that the Bush administration ignored facts and proceeded to spin their own version of 'truth' to sell the American people on a war in Iraq. Once the WMD claims didn't pan out they quickly changed the subject. Whoops, well Saddam was a bad man who we're better off without. Did we mention freedom? No harm done.

Must read: Follow the Uranium
By FRANK RICH (New York Times)

(excerpt) This case is about Iraq, not Niger. The real victims are the American people, not the Wilsons. The real culprit - the big enchilada, to borrow a 1973 John Ehrlichman phrase from the Nixon tapes - is not Mr. Rove but the gang that sent American sons and daughters to war on trumped-up grounds and in so doing diverted finite resources, human and otherwise, from fighting the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11. That's why the stakes are so high: this scandal is about the unmasking of an ill-conceived war, not the unmasking of a C.I.A. operative who posed for Vanity Fair.

So put aside Mr. Wilson's February 2002 trip to Africa. The plot that matters starts a month later, in March, and its omniscient author is Dick Cheney. It was Mr. Cheney (on CNN) who planted the idea that Saddam was "actively pursuing nuclear weapons at this time." The vice president went on to repeat this charge in May on "Meet the Press," in three speeches in August and on "Meet the Press" yet again in September. Along the way the frightening word "uranium" was thrown into the mix.

By September the president was bandying about the u-word too at the United Nations and elsewhere, speaking of how Saddam needed only a softball-size helping of uranium to wreak Armageddon on America. But hardly had Mr. Bush done so than, offstage, out of view of us civilian spectators, the whole premise of this propaganda campaign was being challenged by forces with more official weight than Joseph Wilson. In October, the National Intelligence Estimate, distributed to Congress as it deliberated authorizing war, included the State Department's caveat that "claims of Iraqi pursuit of natural uranium in Africa," made public in a British dossier, were "highly dubious." A C.I.A. assessment, sent to the White House that month, determined that "the evidence is weak" and "the Africa story is overblown."

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Update: Voter Suppression in Ohio

Yes the media ignored the 2004 Ohio voting report. What else is new? How can that boring story compete with 24 hour hurricane coverage. I hear another is on its way. Is it a coincidence they keep hitting Red States?

Way to go, Ohio
As a new report details massive Election Day failures, the state goes on vacation and the country ignores the lesson

What part of "gross administrative failure" do Ohio legislators not understand? A 204-page report detailing November’s election debacle in the Buckeye State was released last month by the Voting Rights Institute of the Democratic National Committee. The report is scathing, citing evidence of voter suppression; negligent and incompetent election officials; mistakes with registration status, polling locations, and absentee and provisional ballots; unlawful identification requirements; long lines; and uncounted votes. And these problems disproportionately disenfranchised younger voters and minorities.

Read: Full Story

The Shadow President

From going after Bush with the Downing Street Memo to Karl Rove and the Plame case, John Kerry is clearly doing what he said he would: working to hold the Bush administration accountable. He's also been a staunch defender of civil rights, women's rights, veteran's rights, small business owners, the environment, and his signature issue, promoting health care for 11 million children in America who don't have it.

It's about time the Washington Press took some notice. While they write Kerry is 'facing a dilemma', it's clear to those who've followed his career that he's found his voice and is fighting mad. I think Kerry is less concerned about 'pleasing activists', who can be a finicky lot, than going after an administration which he truly believes is corrupt and will lie to Americans to sell its agenda at any cost. -IFK Editor

Sen. Kerry is wielding a double-edged sword

Sen. John Kerry is facing a dilemma.

With an eye towards running for president again in 2008, the Massachusetts Democrat has positioned himself as one of the most pugnacious critics of the Bush administration, often aligning himself with liberal activists. But at times, his aggressive anti-Bush rhetoric risks alienating other parts of his own party.

Kerry’s predicament was apparent this week as he took the lead among Democrats by calling for President Bush to fire his deputy chief of staff, Karl Rove, for Rove’s alleged role in revealing the identity of CIA agent Valerie Plame.

At a press conference Tuesday on homeland security, as Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) nodded in agreement, Kerry said: “Karl Rove ought to be fired.” Kerry also circulated a “fire Rove” petition yesterday through his leadership political action committee to nearly 3 million Democratic activists.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Who's on first?

In case you missed White House Press Secretary Scott McClellen's ridiculously humorous (in an Abbott and Costello kind of way) Q and A about Karl Rove's involvement with the Plame case you won't want to miss this. Here he is in his own words.

Press Briefing by Scott McClellan - July 11, 2005

Q Does the President stand by his pledge to fire anyone involved in the leak of a name of a CIA operative?

MR. McCLELLAN: Terry, I appreciate your question. I think your question is being asked relating to some reports that are in reference to an ongoing criminal investigation. The criminal investigation that you reference is something that continues at this point. And as I've previously stated, while that investigation is ongoing, the White House is not going to comment on it. The President directed the White House to cooperate fully with the investigation, and as part of cooperating fully with the investigation, we made a decision that we weren't going to comment on it while it is ongoing.

Q Excuse me, but I wasn't actually talking about any investigation. But in June of 2004, the President said that he would fire anybody who was involved in this leak, to press of information. And I just want to know, is that still his position?

MR. McCLELLAN: Yes, but this question is coming up in the context of this ongoing investigation, and that's why I said that our policy continues to be that we're not going to get into commenting on an ongoing criminal investigation from this podium. The prosecutors overseeing the investigation had expressed a preference to us that one way to help the investigation is not to be commenting on it from this podium. And so that's why we are not going to get into commenting on it while it is an ongoing investigation, or questions related to it.

Q Scott, if I could -- if I could point out, contradictory to that statement, on September 29th, 2003, while the investigation was ongoing, you clearly commented on it. You were the first one who said, if anybody from the White House was involved, they would be fired. And then on June 10th of 2004, at Sea Island Plantation, in the midst of this investigation is when the President made his comment that, yes, he would fire anybody from the White House who was involved. So why have you commented on this during the process of the investigation in the past, but now you've suddenly drawn a curtain around it under the statement of, "We're not going to comment on an ongoing investigation"?

MR. McCLELLAN: Again, John, I appreciate the question. I know you want to get to the bottom of this. No one wants to get to the bottom of it more than the President of the United States. And I think the way to be most helpful is to not get into commenting on it while it is an ongoing investigation. That's something that the people overseeing the investigation have expressed a preference that we follow. And that's why we're continuing to follow that approach and that policy.

Now, I remember very well what was previously said. And at some point, I will be glad to talk about it, but not until after the investigation is complete.

Q So could I just ask, when did you change your mind to say that it was okay to comment during the course of an investigation before, but now it's not?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think maybe you missed what I was saying in reference to Terry's question at the beginning. There came a point when the investigation got underway when those overseeing the investigation asked that it would be their -- or said that it would be their preference that we not get into discussing it while it is ongoing. I think that's the way to be most helpful to help them advance the investigation and get to the bottom of it.

Q Scott, can I ask you this; did Karl Rove commit a crime?

MR. McCLELLAN: Again, David, this is a question relating to an ongoing investigation, and you have my response related to the investigation. And I don't think you should read anything into it other than we're going to continue not to comment on it while it's ongoing.

Q Do you stand by your statement from the fall of 2003 when you were asked specifically about Karl and Elliott Abrams and Scooter Libby, and you said, "I've gone to each of those gentlemen, and they have told me they are not involved in this" -- do you stand by that statement?

MR. McCLELLAN: And if you will recall, I said that as part of helping the investigators move forward on the investigation we're not going to get into commenting on it. That was something I stated back near that time, as well.

Q Scott, I mean, just -- I mean, this is ridiculous. The notion that you're going to stand before us after having commented with that level of detail and tell people watching this that somehow you decided not to talk. You've got a public record out there. Do you stand by your remarks from that podium, or not?

MR. McCLELLAN: And again, David, I'm well aware, like you, of what was previously said, and I will be glad to talk about it at the appropriate time. The appropriate time is when the investigation --

Q Why are you choosing when it's appropriate and when it's inappropriate?

MR. McCLELLAN: If you'll let me finish --

Q No, you're not finishing -- you're not saying anything. You stood at that podium and said that Karl Rove was not involved. And now we find out that he spoke out about Joseph Wilson's wife. So don't you owe the American public a fuller explanation? Was he involved, or was he not? Because, contrary to what you told the American people, he did, indeed, talk about his wife, didn't he?

MR. McCLELLAN: David, there will be a time to talk about this, but now is not the time to talk about it.

Q Do you think people will accept that, what you're saying today?

MR. McCLELLAN: Again, I've responded to the question.

Go ahead, Terry.

Q Well, you're in a bad spot here, Scott, because after the investigation began, after the criminal investigation was underway, you said -- October 10th, 2003, "I spoke with those individuals, Rove, Abrams and Libby, as I pointed out, those individuals assured me they were not involved in this." From that podium. That's after the criminal investigation began. Now that Rove has essentially been caught red-handed peddling this information, all of a sudden you have respect for the sanctity of the criminal investigation?

MR. McCLELLAN: No, that's not a correct characterization Terry, and I think you are well aware of that. We know each other very well, and it was after that period that the investigators had requested that we not get into commenting on an ongoing criminal investigation. And we want to be helpful so that they can get to the bottom of this, because no one wants to get to the bottom of it more than the President of the United States. I am well aware of what was said previously. I remember well what was said previously. And at some point, I look forward to talking about it. But until the investigation is complete, I'm just not going to do that.

Q Do you recall when you were asked --

Q Wait, wait -- so you're now saying that after you cleared Rove and the others from that podium, then the prosecutors asked you not to speak anymore, and since then, you haven't?

MR. McCLELLAN: Again, you're continuing to ask questions relating to an ongoing criminal investigation, and I'm just not going to respond any further.

Q When did they ask you to stop commenting on it, Scott? Can you peg down a date?

MR. McCLELLAN: Back at that time period.

Q Well, then the President commented on it nine months later. So was he not following the White House plan?

MR. McCLELLAN: John, I appreciate your questions. You can keep asking them, but you have my response.

Go ahead, Dave.

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Monday, July 11, 2005

John Kerry: Fire Rove

Less than two weeks ago, you signed a petition joining members of the community in calling for Karl Rove to be fired for his deliberate attempt to, once again, use the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks to divide America. Now Karl Rove is embroiled in another controversy concerning the leaked identity of a covert CIA agent, which Bush Administration senior officials said was done to punish her husband, a man who had the courage to tell the truth about manipulated intelligence in Iraq.

Karl Rove is the President's top advisor in the White House and what he has admitted doing has deep and troubling consequences for our national security.
Just today the President spoke at Quantico praising our soldiers and the employees of the FBI, CIA, and DEA for their work rooting out terrorism.

He told them, "Your work is difficult. It is dangerous. I want you to know how much your country appreciates you, and so do I."

But at the same time the President was saying these words, it was becoming clear that his top advisor was involved in exposing a CIA agent in the name of politics by telling reporters about her work - making her already dangerous job that much more dangerous.

In order to do what the President called on us to do today - "continue to take the fight to the enemy" - the White House and Karl Rove must stop taking it to their so-called political enemies here at home.

It's perfectly clear that Rove - the person at the center of the slash and burn, smear and divide tactics that have come to characterize the Bush Administration - has to go.

The problem is that, instead of protecting the American people from real threats to our security, this Administration spends its time protecting Karl Rove. That's not leadership.

They're doing their best to brush off this new Rove controversy as just another political story, but this time they are having a harder time getting away with it. That's why, if we raise our voices now, we can really make a difference. Please ask all your friends to sign our "Fire Rove" petition today:

Despite carefully worded denials, it is now apparent that Karl Rove discussed the identity of an undercover CIA agent with a reporter. His clear aim was to discredit that agent's husband who had dared to challenge the Administration in the buildup to the war.

There appears to be no limit to the lengths to which Rove - and this Administration - will go. But, there is a limit to the patience of the American people - and we have reached it. President Bush has a choice to make: Spend the months ahead focused on protecting Karl Rove's job security or spend them focused on protecting America's national security.

We are asking the President and the White House to do what they promised. When the scandal first broke, here's what the President's spokesman, Scott McClellan, said:

"If anyone in this Administration was involved in it, they would no longer be in this Administration." (9/29/03, White House press briefing). Now we will find out if the Administration is good to its word. Call on President Bush to keep his word and fire Rove now:

It's as simple as this: We need President Bush and his White House staff to focus on finally taking action necessary to avoid a quagmire in Iraq. The American people can't afford to wait while the White House spends its time and energy defending a top presidential aide's dangerous political shenanigans.

What the President does in the days ahead will speak volumes. He'll either make good on his promise to hold accountable those who shared the identity of a secret soldier in the war on terror - or he'll prove that promise hollow.

We now know that Karl Rove "was involved" in a breach of national security. Decency - and the interests of the American people - demand an end to Karl Rove's days in the White House. It's time for you to demand it as well.

I urge you to take action right now.


John Kerry

Sunday, July 10, 2005

One of Kerry's signature issues picking up steam

Access to affordable heath care should be a right in this country. An important part of John Kerry's campaign in 2004 was to move the country toward covering the 45 million Americans without any health insurance. His Kids First Act, which he continues to promote is a good start to cover our 11 million uninsured children. This is the future of America we're talking about here.

In a recent article focusing on Ohio (a closely fought swing state in 2004 which ultimately cost Kerry the election) we see how they and other states, along with doctors and even religious organizations are starting to take the lead on advocating for a universal health care system.

No system is perfect, but the goal is to move toward a more efficient yet affordable system which offers basic services to those who would otherwise have no insurance whatsoever. Even corporate America and small business owners are starting to see the merits of a more universal system, as they cope to keep up with skyrocketing premiums.
Universal Health Care Push Being Revived

"There are positives and negatives with all types of health systems," Sheils said. "The question that has to be asked is what are we getting out of our existing multipayer system that is worth all the money we are spending on it?"

In any event, voters are still leery. A Kaiser Foundation poll released earlier this year found that 55 percent of Americans opposed a single-payer health system. Thirty-seven percent favored it.

Knowing that, some states are taking incremental approaches.

Maine started enrolling people this year in a state-private program that offers affordable health coverage to small businesses and families. The goal is to bring coverage to the 130,000 Mainers who lack it by 2009.

And The Leaker is...

All roads lead to Karl Rove.

Newsweek has the latest details.
For two years, a federal prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald, has been investigating the leak of Plame's identity as an undercover CIA agent. The leak was first reported by columnist Robert Novak on July 14, 2003. Novak apparently made some arrangement with the prosecutor, but Fitzgerald continued to press other reporters for their sources, possibly to show a pattern (to prove intent) or to make a perjury case. (It is illegal to knowingly identify an undercover CIA officer.) Rove's words on the Plame case have always been carefully chosen. "I didn't know her name. I didn't leak her name," Rove told CNN last year when asked if he had anything to do with the Plame leak. Rove has never publicly acknowledged talking to any reporter about former ambassador Joseph Wilson and his wife. But last week, his lawyer, Robert Luskin, confirmed to NEWSWEEK that Rove did—and that Rove was the secret source who, at the request of both Cooper's lawyer and the prosecutor, gave Cooper permission to testify.

If it turns out Rove is indeed the leaker he should be the subject of a full investigation and if found guilty of 'knowingly' outing a CIA agent subjected to prosecution under the full extent of the law.

Friday, July 08, 2005

The Democrats' Recipe For A Resurgence

Democrats need to pick up 15 seats to win back the House majority in 2006. Here's how they plan to do it...first by focusing on Kerry Republicans.

Democrats are focusing on 18 House districts captured by 2004 Presidential nominee John Kerry but currently represented by a Republican. Top targets include Rob Simmons and Christopher Shays of Connecticut and suburban Philadelphians Jim Gerlach and Michael G. Fitzpatrick

From BusinessWeek

Can the democrats figure out a way to capitalize on growing public discontent over the Iraq war, sky-high gas prices, and the record-low approval ratings for President Bush and the GOP Congress? With the 2006 midterm elections some 16 months away, Republicans have a huge money edge and gerry-mandered House districts that make Democratic chances of recapturing Capitol Hill remote at best.

But as GOP woes deepen by the month, Dems such as Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Rahm Emanuel of Illinois are trying to put the party in a position to pounce. Job One: Recruit candidates who can take advantage of any political openings. The Democrats are 15 seats short of a House majority, and Emanuel's mission is to make significant progress in 2006 and finish the job in '08, when, according to the game plan, the country will be tired of Bushism, war, and $60-per-barrel oil. But if approval ratings of the Republican Congress remain in the 33% range and Bush hovers around 45%, Dems could pull "an inside straight" and take the House next year, says Charlie Cook, editor of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report. "The situation is pretty ugly for Republicans."

Whether that happens or not, Democrats seem likely to make gains. Emanuel's three-pronged strategy:

Replace Kerry Republicans. Democrats are focusing on 18 House districts captured by 2004 Presidential nominee John Kerry but currently represented by a Republican. Top targets include Rob Simmons and Christopher Shays of Connecticut and suburban Philadelphians Jim Gerlach and Michael G. Fitzpatrick.

Claim the open seats. Republican retirees will give Dems some of their best chances in '06. Among them: the Democratic-leaning seats now held by GOP gubernatorial aspirants Jim Nussle of Iowa and Bob Beauprez of Colorado. If the Democratic tide remains strong, the historically Republican districts of Henry Hyde in suburban Chicago and SEC Chairman-designate Christopher Cox in greater Los Angeles could be in play.

Find the comeback kids. In some competitive districts, Emanuel is urging former House members to mount comeback bids. Among them: Tom DeLay challenger Nick Lampson in Texas and ex-Indiana Representative Baron Hill. "To bump off an incumbent you need somebody with clout and connections," says University of Virginia government professor Larry J. Sabato. "Who better than somebody who has won?" Dems are also trying to enlist outsiders with recognizable names. Atop the list: Coleen M. Rowley, former FBI whistle-blower, in Minnesota.

GOP pollster William D. McInturff acknowledges that Congress hasn't been this unpopular since the 1994 Republican takeover. He feels it's too early to panic but says the party should be concerned if the political environment doesn't improve by next summer.

Meantime, Emanuel's recruits are planning to portray House Republicans as a pack of corrupt, extremist plutocrats out of touch with average Americans. Creating a positive image for themselves is trickier. "Democrats are perceived to have no core set of convictions," says party pollster Stanley B. Greenberg. He and other Dems concede that their current strategic opening has more to do with Republican weakness than a surge for their side. But if Emanuel's strong recruiting continues -- and Republicans remain in the trough -- 2006 could end up a surprisingly good year for the long-bedraggled Dems.

By Richard S. Dunham with Eamon Javers

Independents Are Having Buyer's Remorse

This article pretty much sums up how things are going for Republicans. Can Democrats capitalize remains to be seen?

From BusinessWeek

The Schiavo case has led many swing voters to turn their backs on the GOP

Just nine months after giving George W. Bush the crucial swing votes he needed to best John Kerry, political independents are bolting out of the Republican Big Tent. Angered by GOP meddling in the Terri Schiavo right-to-die case, reeling from record gasoline prices, and depressed by the escalating cycle of violence in Iraq and Afghanistan, unaligned voters are suddenly lining up with Democrats to give Bush the lowest ratings of his Presidency. The disenchantment extends beyond the White House to the GOP Congress: Only 31% of independents say Congress is in touch with their concerns, according to a June 14-15 Fox News/Opinion Dynamics Poll. Amid such dismal data, the only good news for Republicans is that the chronically disorganized Democrats have not convinced swing voters that they are any better -- at least not yet.

But that's cold comfort to the GOP. A June 24-26 Gallup Poll shows independents turning thumbs down to much of the President's second-term agenda, including his stay-the-course stance on Iraq, partial privatization of Social Security, and a pro-drilling energy policy. Equally worrisome: Just 15% of indies approve of Bush's handling of the economy, a June 19-22 American Research Group Poll found -- down from 44% last November.

To gauge the depth of independent anger, talk to Alan Rego Jr., an assistant supermarket manager in Cleveland. Rego, 23, twice voted for George W. Bush. The unaligned voter viewed Bush as a champion of small business and a stalwart in the war on terror. But he now sees a President bogged down in a Mideast quagmire and a Congress obsessed with a Religious Right agenda he does not share. "Congress is involved in too many social issues that it shouldn't be, like Terri Schiavo," he says. "It doesn't want to tackle the issues that it should be fixing, like tax reform, unemployment, and job creation."

For Republicans, an exodus of voters like Rego could have profound repercussions. Because 67% of independents think Bush will appoint a Supreme Court justice whose religious beliefs will inappropriately influence judicial rulings, according to Gallup, Dems may be emboldened to dig in for a long showdown (page 38).

Nearly 30% of the electorate describes itself as independent, though about half of those voters remain registered with a party. So while Republicans have signed up more than 4 million unregistered Christian conservatives in two years, a sizable decline in independent support in the 2006 midterm elections could leave the GOP a net loser outside the South. Particularly at risk are Republicans in states with independent streaks, such as California, Colorado, Minnesota, and New Hampshire.

The swing-voter stampede started after the extraordinary intervention by Bush and the GOP Congress in the Schiavo case. Now socially moderate independents -- who strongly favor expanded stem cell research and oppose overturning Roe v. Wade -- fear that the majority party is in thrall to the Religious Right. "These people lean more Republican because of fiscal issues, but they're much more liberal on social issues," says independent pollster Dick Bennett of American Research Group. "After Schiavo, they said, 'Wait a minute. We didn't buy in for that."'

Add to the toxic political mix sticker-shock at the gas pump and growing worries about post-Saddam Iraq. In an about-face, formerly hawkish indies now side with Democratic war critics. According to Gallup, just 31% of swing voters say Bush has a clear plan for Iraq, and 60% call the U.S. invasion a mistake. Alan Rego recently attended services for a friend's brother killed in Iraq. "The kid was my age," he recalls. "I voted for Bush because he seemed to have a plan to deal with terrorism, but Iraq is becoming another Vietnam."

Third-party opening?
The indie revolt worries some GOP veterans, but the White House seems unconcerned. Some insiders say Bush über-strategist Karl Rove believes Republicans can afford to lose socially liberal swing voters if they succeed in wooing indie and Democratic "values voters" and increasing turnout on the Christian Right. "They obviously have a strategy to change the electorate, and they're willing to give up independents and moderates," says Democratic pollster Stanley B. Greenberg.

But can Democrats capitalize? Even Greenberg's polls show Dems struggling to convince voters that they can keep the nation safe, foster economic growth, and reform pay-to-play politics. He says circumstances are ripe for a strong third-party candidacy in 2008 -- if the right maverick emerges.

During the Bush years, the GOP has kept a majority of indies in its corner by portraying Dems as an unacceptable alternative. That tactic may work again -- if Democrats fail to attract the political center and the third-way option fizzles. But with so many swing voters ready to declare independence from Republican-ruled Washington, Bush and his allies on the Hill can't be so sure anymore.

By Richard S. Dunham, with Ann Therese Palmer in Chicago

Statement from Kerry About London Terrorist Attack

"Every American heart feels for the British people and the families of those killed and injured in today's horrific terrorist bombings in London. As a country which has also experienced tragedy at the hands of cowardly killers and which keeps faith with the special alliance Prime Minister Tony Blair reaffirmed on September 11th, our thoughts and prayers are with you.

"In addition to words of condolence and condemnation, America should offer every assistance to Great Britain in dealing with the aftermath of this tragedy and in hunting down and destroying those responsible. We must reaffirm that cold blooded killers will not for a moment stop the critical work of the G-8 nations in showing the world the strength of our shared values and our commitment to ending poverty around the globe. The terrorists should hear from all of us today: the future belongs not to fear, but to freedom. We must also be vigilant here at home to take every step needed to complete the unfinished work of homeland security, strengthening our port security, rail security, protecting chemical plants, and securing loose nuclear materials abroad. While these attacks remind us that the fight is far from over, they also strengthen our resolve to stand together for the right of free people to live in a peaceful world."

Friday, July 01, 2005

Supreme Court Vacancy: Kerry Urges Fight for Freedoms

Dear ____

The Fourth of July is a time for family, fun and fireworks.

But something happened today that ought to remind everyone what this holiday really symbolizes -- the freedom that makes America great.

That's exactly what hangs in the balance now that Sandra Day O'Connor has resigned from the Supreme Court.

This is no small deal. Over and over, she was the Justice who cast the critical vote in 5-4 cases deciding the most important issues in our nation.

Here's our bottom line for the community heading into the holiday weekend: we can never let her be replaced by a Justice who does not respect the right to privacy and Roe v. Wade, and who doesn't understand the freedoms protected in our Constitution.

So, this weekend, as you enjoy the Fourth -- take a minute to think about what it means, and come back on Tuesday morning ready to fight for our freedom. It's all at stake now, and we need to come together more than ever.

Get ready,

John Kerry