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May 19, 2014

Mudslinging In Mississippi

Over the weekend a horrendous story broke in the GOP Senate primary in Mississippi. Some nutjob (he thinks Glenn Beck and his staff are CIA agents) broke into the nursing home where Senator Thad Cochran's wife has lived for the past decade or so. She suffers from Dementia and this lunatic took pictures or video of her and posted them on his website.

For this despicable violation he has been arrested and held pending bail.

Where it gets political is the alleged stalker supports Cochran's primary opponent Chris McDaniel. He has no official connection to the campaign and when some members of McDaniel's team heard about the video when it was posted for a few hours back on April 26th they did what they could to have it removed.

McDaniel's campaign manager learned of the arrest on Friday night from a local political blog and on Saturday morning called Cochran's campaign manager to express their disgust and to assure Cochran that they had absolutely nothing to do with this insanity.

UPDATE 4: Noel Fritsch with the McDaniel campaign has released a statement clarifying the timeline of when the McDaniel campaign learned of the arrest and break-in:

"Melanie noticed the political blog post at around 1:00 AM CDT Saturday and was alarmed that it was likely Ms. Cochran who had been photographed based on the preponderance of evidence, including the name of the rest home and the comments on the blog.

"At around 7:30 AM CDT, Chris was notified only briefly of the incident and the need to personally reach out to Sen. Cochran.

"Shortly thereafter, Melanie called Cochran campaign manager Kirk Sims to express in strongest terms the campaigns' condemnation of the alleged crime. Alex Jaffe interviewed Chris at around 9:30 AM CDT during an event, at which time Chris had still not been fully briefed. Chris was not fully briefed until he left event around 10:30 AM CDT, at which point the campaign issued a statement at 10:49 AM CDT.​"

For their decency the McDaniel campaign was subjected to attacks from Cochran's campaign and the National Republican Senatorial Committee insinuating that McDaniel's team was some how either involved in this heinous act or in some way connected with the man who perpetrated it.

First they wondered how McDaniel's campaign knew about the arrest before it was made public in a local paper. Apparently your standard issue Republican is unable to process the idea that someone could learn something before it's in a morning newspaper.

Next they tried to insinuate that the McDaniel campaign was contradicting itself when some members of the staff said they never heard of the guy while others said they knew about the video.

Yes, it turns out that in an organization of more than one person not everyone knows all the same things. This is their deep conspiracy.

"Absolutely -- I've never even heard his name," said Noel Fritsch, communications director for McDaniel.


Scott Brewster, coalition director for McDaniel's campaign, contacted Saturday, indicated he was aware of the video.

"I do remember when it came out," Brewster said. "I think people made some phone calls (to have it removed). I didn't personally -- nobody personally talked to (Kelly). I don't know if anybody made phone calls about it. I'm not sure. Just, I remember all of a sudden it was gone."

The NRSC thinks they have a big scoop that McDaniel's camp knew of the video! Except they never said otherwise.

Now they have [warning-autoplay video] released the phone message McDaniel's campaign manager left for her counterpart on the Cochran team (I predicted over the weekend they'd never release it but I'm glad they did).

She says "we don't know this guy" and then she says "there was some stuff several months ago where this guy was doing some insane stuff online".

I guess that's a contradiction if you read "we don't know this guy" to mean more than "he doesn't work for us".

If this is a conspiracy to cover-up connections between the blogger and the McDaniel campaign, it's the worst ever what with her calling and leaving this message. If you're guilty of what Team GOP is trying to insinuate why would she call and leave all of this on a voicemail for them to use against her?

So for this act of basic decency and not being willing to traffic in open secrets about Cochran's personal life, the McDaniel campaign is being attacked by a desperate NRSC and longtime incumbent Senator.

But if we're going to talk about associations real and imagined, let's talk about Cochran's long time aide who sold his office for tens of thousands of dollars in entertainment tickets to Jack Abramoff. Meet Ann Copland and her sworn statement of criminal guilt.

4. From March 2002 through May 2004, Abramoff, Boulanger, Ring, and others provided a stream of things to defendant COPLAND - including tickets to concerts, sports, and other entertainment events, and meals and drinks at expensive D.C. area restaurants - with an approximate total value of more than $25,000 but less than $30,000.


11. On December 9, 2002, Boulanger emailed defendant COPLAND and one of her
colleagues requesting that they ask a different staffer to facilitate, among other things, an additional $2 million to an existing appropriation for the Mississippi Tribe.

12. On February 11, 2003, defendant COPLAND emailed Boulanger asking if she could
have the entire box suite at Camden Yards in Baltimore for a baseball game in June.
Boulanger responded, "I'll make it happen. BTW, did [another staffer] pull out the
[Mississippi Tribe's] IHS language [from an appropriation's bill]?" Defendant
COPLAND replied, "[the other staffer] said this morning that he'd triple check. I saw
3the notes, and there was a defiant note to take care of it. On the other thing: you are awesome."

It goes on like that.

So if we're going to talk about connections to unsavory characters let's compare:

An out of control blogger with no official connection to the McDaniel campaign and on the other a senior aide who worked for Cochran selling his office underneath his nose.

Choose wisely Mississippi.

Thanks to Andy (@TheH2) and John (@JohnEkdahl) for links and editing help.

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posted by DrewM. at 01:24 PM

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