Sunday, July 11, 2004

Bush the Underdog

A year ago it was predicted that Bush would have an overwhelming advantage in money and number of ads shown. It hasn't worked out that way according to USATODAY.

The Kerry campaign's ads were shown 72,908 times, 3.1% more than the Bush-Cheney campaign's 70,688 showings.

Political groups' ads were shown 56,627 times. All but 513 were ads by liberal, anti-Bush groups such as MoveOn PAC and The Media Fund. The others were by conservative groups.

Taken together, about 129,000 Kerry or anti-Bush ads were aired, 82% more than the Bush-Cheney total.

Last year, former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV caused a huge stir. According to Wilson, references in Bush's State of the Union Address about Iraq trying to buy yellowcake were outright lies. He further went on to say that the Bush administration had tried to get him by revealing that his wife worked for the CIA. There were calls for Bush's impeachment for lying and for the arrest of Robert Novak, the columnist who first printed that Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, worked for the CIA.

Wilson's assertions -- both about what he found in Niger and what the Bush administration did with the information -- were undermined yesterday in a bipartisan Senate intelligence committee report.

The panel found that Wilson's report, rather than debunking intelligence about purported uranium sales to Iraq, as he has said, bolstered the case for most intelligence analysts. And contrary to Wilson's assertions and even the government's previous statements, the CIA did not tell the White House it had qualms about the reliability of the Africa intelligence that made its way into 16 fateful words in President Bush's January 2003 State of the Union address.

Wilson also insisted that his wife had nothing to do with his appointent to investigate the yellowcake story.

The report states that a CIA official told the Senate committee that Plame "offered up" Wilson's name for the Niger trip, then on Feb. 12, 2002, sent a memo to a deputy chief in the CIA's Directorate of Operations saying her 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."

The Washington Post was fooled by Wilson.

The report also said Wilson provided misleading information to The Washington Post last June. He said then that he concluded the Niger intelligence was based on documents that had clearly been forged because "the dates were wrong and the names were wrong."

"Committee staff asked how the former ambassador could have come to the conclusion that the 'dates were wrong and the names were wrong' when he had never seen the CIA reports and had no knowledge of what names and dates were in the reports," the Senate panel said. Wilson told the panel he may have been confused and may have "misspoken" to reporters. The documents -- purported sales agreements between Niger and Iraq -- were not in U.S. hands until eight months after Wilson made his trip to Niger.

All quotes from the Washington Post.

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