Opinions, Context & Ideas from the TPM Editors TPM Editor's Blog

In Tuesdays Kerik round-up

In Tuesday's Kerik round-up, Newsday reports that one thing the background checkers came across was a wife Kerik had never mentioned to anyone before -- his first wife, the former Ms. Linda Hales of North Carolina, who Kerik married in 1978. Regrettably, Newsday adds that there is some question as to whether marriage #1 and marriage #2 (to Jacqueline Kerik) may have well ... overlapped.

Contacted yestereday, an aide to Kerik told Newsday that Kerik disputed both the date of his second marriage found in his autobiography and the date of his divorce in his first marriage provided by an attorney for the former Ms. Hales (now named Linda Priest).

Said the aide: "[T]hey made a mutual agreement between the two of them never to talk about it."

Another Newsday article explores how Rudy and the New York City managed not to find out about any of Kerik's shenanigans when he was on the public payroll.

The competition is heating

The competition is heating up in the TPM-Giuliani "I really never knew Kerik all that well" TPM-Shirt contest.

Last night reader RB made a strong early entry with this quote from today's piece in the Times. Later on, TPM reader HR wrote in with another strong contender from the same article.

And through the course of the day I've been getting unconfirmed reports from readers about various statements Giuliani has made on the talk shows (we'll check those by the transcripts when they come out).

Now TPM reader KS just chimed in with another good one from tomorrow's Times.

In a story about the New York City's Department of Investigation's look at Kerik's alleged ties to mob figures, Giuliani said this ...

But Rudolph W. Giuliani said in an interview yesterday that none of those facts were brought to his attention in August 2000 when, as mayor, he appointed Mr. Kerik as New York's top police official.

...

"I didn't get to consider it then," Mr. Giuliani said, "and I did not know much about it all until this confirmation process started for homeland security."


But while KS's entry gains points on alleged lack of (Rudy) knowledge grounds, that passage is followed by this one ...

Mr. Giuliani said he did not believe any of the revelations he had heard would have changed his mind on Mr. Kerik's appointment.


And there this entry seems to come up short on true betrayal and abandonment grounds.

In non-contest-related news, the article notes that New York City officials say that such highly sensitive information would likely only have been shared with the Mayor and the city's top lawyer. So maybe Rudy's got his own problems.

Two names now getting

Two names now getting a lot of play for the Secretary of DHS are Fran Townsend,White House homeland security adviser and Joe Allbaugh, Bush right-hand-man and former Director of FEMA.

I would think a big qualification for DHS would be some major executive experience, given the organizational challenges facing the new Department; and Allbaugh probably has a stronger resume in that regard.

On the other hand, the words I hear about Townsend are competent, honest, clean and other such terms.

Allbaugh, meanwhile, checked out at FEMA right about the time the first bombs started falling over Baghdad to hang out a shingle in the Iraq contracts rain-making biz as New Bridge Strategies in order to trade on his connections to President Bush.

New Bridge, as you'll recall, was set up for Allbaugh by uber-GOP-lobbyist Haley Barbour's firm, Barbour Griffith & Rogers, Inc, which was also generous enough to let New Bridge operate from their offices.

So I guess you could say that at least a couple of those adjectives don't apply to him.

Weve mentioned this a

We've mentioned this a couple times. But a reader just brought it up again, so I think it's worth returning to. Who's the nanny? Or, rather, is there really a nanny?

Let me be clear. I don't think there's any reason to reveal this woman's identity, if she exists. And I'm certainly not trying to.

On balance, I figure it's probably more likely than not that she does exist. But as near as I can tell, no specific details about this woman's identity or what she did for Kerik's family have ever been published. Nor have I seen any reports in which a given journalist writes as though he or she was privy to such details, even if he or she chose not to publish them to protect the woman's privacy.

And I don't think I can remember any "nanny" story in which such details have remained so secret. Given the fact that we now know there were a few dozen revelations (and counting) that would have sunk Kerik's nomination, you have to wonder. To paraphrase the old saw, if this nanny hadn't existed, the White House or Kerik might have been awfully tempted to invent her. And perhaps they did.

So, a couple questions. If you're a journalist who's working this story and you've been given details about the nanny issue that give you confidence that this person exists and that the basic outlines of the story we've been told are true (that she worked for Kerik, that she was an illegal, that she's returned to her country, etc.), I'd appreciate if you'd drop me a line. Your identity and the details will remain private. I just want to hear if any details at all have been shared.

If you're following the story and you think you've seen a report which fleshes this out more than I've seen, drop me a line too.

And back for a

And back for a moment to Jim Tobin, former New England Bush-Cheney campaign chief arraigned today on charges stemming from his role in the 2002 New Hampshire phone-jamming scandal. Who was he working for at the time he did the deed? Right, Sen. Bill Frist, then-chair of the NRSC.

Maybe he and Rudy can commiserate over fallen lieutenants?

Talk to me like

Talk to me like a man, baby!

Bernard Kerik on Judith Regan, in the perhaps somewhat awkwardly-timed (unless you're VF Editor Graydon Carter or writer Judith Newman) Regan profile out now from Vanity Fair ...

"She is brash, very assertive, extremely demanding, and talks like a man…. But you know what? I've run the largest police departments in the country, I've run the largest jail. Sometimes it takes a person like that to get things done."

New Hampshire judge gives

New Hampshire judge gives hookers a bad name!

I'd heard about this over the transom throughout the day. And now the AP provides confirmation.

Former New England Bush-Cheney campaign chief Jim Tobin was arraigned today in federal court in Concord. Tobin, as first reported here on TPM, was at the center of the 2002 New Hampshire phone-jamming scandal.

Prosecutors said they thought he posed no flight risk and asked that he be released on his own recognizance.

But U.S. Magistrate Judge James Muirhead disagreed. He ordered Tobin to surrender his passport and any weapons and report to pretrial services.

"He’s no different," said Muirhead, "than a street hooker in Manchester. If he’s guilty, then I find his crime as offensive as any other crime."

Election tampering, he went on to say, is an "outrage against the constitution."

Another thought to consider.As

Another thought to consider.

As we've noted earlier, after the end of Bernard Kerik's and Judith Regan's affair or the end of their workouts, whichever you want to call it, she hired a bodyguard to protect her from Kerik's 'hounding'.

Now, TPM has a large readership (I was going to say a 'broad' readership, in an unintentional double entendre, but caught myself). So I'm wondering, if you were a successful, high-profile female book publisher and you were carrying on an affair with the police commissioner, and things went sour between you, how threatened would you have to feel before you hired a bodyguard?

I figure you'd have to feel pretty threatened -- at least, harassed in a pretty serious fashion. And I guess you'd reason that calling the police for help probably wouldn't work out all that well.

On top of that, there's that never-quite-adequately-explained incident from March 2002 when Regan lost her cell phone and a necklace at Fox Studios in New York and Kerik followed up by sending homicide detectives out to question five Fox employees he suspected of possibly being the thiefs. (Kerik claimed a subordinate had given the order. Police later found the phone in a garbage can outside the studio and Regan found the necklace in her purse.) The five who were visited told the Times (see NYT, 3/11/02) that the officers came to "question them, fingerprint them and tell them they would have to take lie detector tests."

After the Fox employees went public about Kerik and threatened legal action, Kerik told the Times that "they should be worried about [the theft of Regan's property] more than who sent the people there. They should be worried about the thief among them."

So, a couple questions.

How serious was the harrassment and/or threats that Regan faced? When did the workouts stop? And is this bizarre incident about six months after 9/11 have anything to do with it?

Andrew doesnt this qualify

Andrew, doesn't this qualify for one of <$NoAd$> your awards?

It's like when the hijackers took over those four planes on Sept. 11 and took people to a place where they didn't want to go. I think a lot of people feel that liberals have taken our country somewhere we don't want to go. I think a lot more people realize this is our country and we're going to take it back.


Missouri State Representative Cynthia Davis, as quoted in the Times.

Late Update: TPM reader JB sends in this election listing for Davis in which Davis writes "People are tired of silly political games. I always have treated everybody with dignity and honor regardless of our political affiliations. Likewise, I have colleagues from both parties who show me a great deal of respect. My goal is to stand up for principles, not politics (emphasis added)."

Even Later Update: TPM reader SS writes in to note that further down on the aforementioned election listing, Davis says that the current tax system is unfair and that "the only way to have a fair tax is to have a flat tax or a poll tax (emphasis added)." A poll tax. Base our national tax system around a poll tax. I'm ashamed that this woman got elected to anything in the state where I was born.

LiveWire