Thursday, June 08, 2006

memories

so i was reading this new york times piece about how katherine harris is becoming a pariah in republican circles (harris, you might recall, was the florida secretary of state who was a little too eager to certify florida's electoral votes for bush in 2000. she's now running a humiliating campaign for senate, despite the pleas of republicans nationwide) and i came across this amusing anecdote, which i apparently missed the first time or forgot in the ensuing years:

In Congress, Ms. Harris has been a reliable ally of the Bush administration on issues like tax cuts, Iraq and opposition to same-sex marriage. She has done little in her three-and-a-half-year tenure to win notice beyond her district — one exception being a speech in which she spoke of a foiled terrorist plot against the city of Carmel, Ind. (Federal officials said the plot never existed; Ms. Harris later said she had heard of it secondhand.)

most of the prominent indiana political blogs weren't even around in august '04 when this happened, but i note that steph was on top of it. still, she linked to a local story that has long since expired. fortunately, cbs news still has the story up:

Harris, who was at the center of the political storm over the disputed 2000 presidential election, made the comments about terrorism and the plot on Monday at a rally for President Bush in Venice, Fla., and a subsequent interview with the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

She told the audience that while in the Midwest recently, the mayor of Carmel told her how a man of Middle Eastern heritage had been arrested and hundreds of pounds of explosives were found in his home.

"He had plans to blow up the area's entire power grid," she said, according to the newspaper.

a terrorist plot in carmel? if you were stuck in indiana with enough explosives to blow up a power grid, wouldn't you at least want to drive the 30 minutes to downtown indianapolis? if you were even going to waste your time attacking a state like indiana, that is.

naturally, the mayor of carmel and other officials denied that any such thing ever took place. mayor brainard even denied ever having spoken to harris. but what's really odd is how harris worded her public "apology":

Questioned Wednesday, Harris' office issued a statement in which the congresswoman said, "I regret that I had no knowledge of the sensitive nature of this situation."

even after harris insinuated that her real crime wasn't spinning a laughable yarn about terrorists attacking the midwestern suburbs, but inadvertantly leaking details about a plot that the government had been keeping secret. as if the bush administration wouldn't want to tell anyone that it had foiled a terrorist plot in america's heartland during an election year. not just one plot, but "more than a hundred".

anyway, it's kind of satisfying to watch harris implode, and it made me curious how ken blackwell is doing in his run for governor of ohio (blackwell was harris's 2004 analogue; his antics as secretary of state helped hand ohio to bush). turns out blackwell is down 16 points in the polls.

5 comments:

Steph Mineart said...

If I recall correctly, Brainerd contradicted himself a bit during the story -- when it was just local coverage of Harris' remarks, (the one I linked to) Brainerd claimed that the incident had really occurred, (arrest of a middle eastern man, terrorist related, power-grid related) but that there were no explosives were discovered. The Carmel police said no arrest ever occurred, although it seemed like it was implied that there was an investigation of some sort.

Later when national news called him for comment, Brainerd reversed himself and claimed the whole thing never occurred and that he never spoke to Harris.

Either way, it seemed like a small-town mayor trying to puff up about a hot national issue, and a brain-dead politician taking silly rumor and spinning it for political gain.

Steph Mineart said...

If I recall correctly, Brainerd contradicted himself a bit during the story -- when it was just local coverage of Harris' remarks, (the one I linked to) Brainerd claimed that the incident had really occurred, (arrest of a middle eastern man, terrorist related, power-grid related) but that there were no explosives were discovered. The Carmel police said no arrest ever occurred, although it seemed like it was implied that there was an investigation of some sort.

Later when national news called him for comment, Brainerd reversed himself and claimed the whole thing never occurred and that he never spoke to Harris.

Either way, it seemed like a small-town mayor trying to puff up about a hot national issue, and a brain-dead politician taking silly rumor and spinning it for political gain.

Steph Mineart said...

Sorry, blogger puked on me.

Steph Mineart said...

A couple other people read the original Herald-Tribune story where Brainard contradicted himself..

http://www.atsnn.com/story/71021.html

http://www.theagitator.com/archives/013653.php

Steph Mineart said...

And the wthr story with Brainard contradictory statements:

http://www.wthr.com/Global/story.asp?S=2127364&nav=9TaiPUHM

Hmm.