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Any way you cut it, it's clear that the robo call really arrived this year -- and was mostly overlooked as a prominent new weapon in campaign strategists' arsenals.

Underscoring its reputation as a "stealth" campaign tactic, a new poll shows that two-thirds of registered voters got at least one robo call during the midterm election season.

The poll, conducted by The Pew Internet and American Life Project, found that 64% of registered U.S. voters got at least one recorded phone call in 2006. And that's across the country -- you can bet that percentage was much higher in competitive districts.

Only direct mail was a more popular method for campaigns, reaching 71% of voters. But the robo call blew out other more traditional forms of campaigning like going door to door (only 18% of voters were reached that way) or getting a phone call from a real live human being (24%). Pew didn't even bother to track robo calling in 2004.

So, what percentage of those who got a robo call got two, three, or a dozen more? How many got six calls in a row? We still don't know.

We're getting a better picture of the results of the federal "identity theft" raids last week. And it's increasingly clear that if the Feds were trying to protect citizens from identity thieves, they failed.



Unfortunately, while the Department of Homeland Security held a press conference immediately after the raids to announce nationwide totals for arrests, they have been less chatty about the number of detainees charged with criminal violations, and the Department of Justice has announced indictments in each state as they are handed down from grand juries.

As a result, the picture is incomplete: We know that 1,282 workers were detained in the raids ten days ago. Over 100 were charged with a variety of crimes. So far, grand juries have handed down indictments for 58 of them: 20 from Worthington, Minn.; 15 from Grand Island, Neb.; and 23 from Marshalltown, Iowa, according to reports in local papers. I have not seen indictments reported from the raids in Cactus, Texas, or Greeley, Colo.

Meanwhile, the Bureau of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement has not released a tally of the number of innocent legal workers its agents detained in the raids but later released, nor details on how long they were held before being let go.

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Report: Berger Hid Archive Documents "On the evening of Oct. 2, 2003, former White House national security adviser Samuel R. "Sandy" Berger stashed highly classified documents he had taken from the National Archives beneath a construction trailer at Ninth Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW so that he could surreptitiously retrieve them later and take them to his office, according to a newly disclosed government investigation.

"The documents he took detailed how the Clinton administration had responded to the threat of terrorist attacks at the end of 1999. Berger removed five copies of the same document without authorization and later used scissors to destroy three before placing them in his office trash, the National Archives inspector general wrote in a Nov. 4, 2005, report.

"After Archives officials confronted him and accused him of taking the documents, Berger told investigators he "tried to find the trash collector but had no luck." But instead of admitting he had removed them deliberately, Berger initially said he had removed them by mistake.

"An Archives official claimed to have seen Berger fiddling with what appeared to be a piece of paper "rolled around his ankle and underneath his pant leg," but Berger told investigators he was pulling up his socks, which Berger said "frequently fall down." (WaPo, NYT, AP)

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More on Rep. Virgil Goode's (R-VA) warning of "many more Muslims" flooding over the nation's borders.

Last night, The Council on American-Islamic Relations called on Goode to apologize for his "bigotry" against Muslims. Predictably, he's so far refused.

But like the menacing Muslim hordes in Goode's feverish dreams, the story's spreading. Two national outlets (AFP and McClatchy) picked up the story today, so the pressure continues to build.

It's official -- the election mess in Florida's 13th District is heading to the House of Representatives. January will be an interesting month, indeed.

Meanwhile the court case in Florida proceeds along. Today, an expert testifed on behalf of Democrat Christine Jennings that glitches with the voting machines cost her the election.

Details about the challenge are provided in the Jennings campaign press release below. You can read our prior coverage of Florida's 13th here.

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We've been on the phone all day trying to nail down congressional leaders on where they stand on President Bush's idea of increasing the troop level in Iraq. Here's the result of our day's work.

The Democrats' top leadership in the House and Senate are united against. The details are below.

Our calls to the top Republicans, however, garnered only one response. The spokeswoman for incoming Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said that he didn't have a position on the increase, because "in order for the Senator to comment on a plan, he'd have to see it first, but the Congress has not been briefed on the President's proposal, because he hasn't proposed it yet." Senate Minority Whip-elect Trent Lott (R-MS) was travelling in Mississippi and could not be reached. My calls and emails to the incoming House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) and Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-MO) were not returned.

As for the Democrats...

After initially indicating an openness to the "surge" idea (providing that "it's part of a program to get us out of there"), incoming Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) issued a statement yesterday that he's no longer open: "I don't believe that more troops is the answer for Iraq."

The next Majority Whip, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) told reporters this past weekend that "sending more soldiers to Iraq after the holidays would further drain an already depleted military."

House Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) issued a statement today rejecting the idea of a surge.

And House Majority Leader-elect Steny Hoyer (D-MD) earlier released a similar statement.

Responding to our question, here's a statement from the incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on President Bush's idea of increasing the troop level in Iraq:

There are no easy answers in Iraq, but there are wrong ones. I do not support increasing troop levels in Iraq to further the President's current failed course. Americans have called for a New Direction, but the President's press conference this morning showed that he has still not faced reality about Iraq and gave no indication that he is willing to make the changes needed to reverse this disastrous situation. There needs to be fundamental change in our Iraq policy and in the mission of our troop in order for events in Iraq to improve. Our troops should not be expected to be primarily responsible for dealing with sectarian violence associated with a civil war. As long as that remains their task, the situation in Iraq will remain grave.

In Iowa, indictments have come down from DHS's massive immigration raid last week. Not surprisingly, the number of workers who have been charged with a crime represents a fraction of the number of workers who were arrested in the December 12th raids.

The U.S. Attorney from the Southern District of Iowa has indicted 23 workers from Swift's meat-packing plant in Marshalltown, Iowa, on "immigration and identity theft charges," according to a Justice Department press release. Ninety workers were arrested in Marshalltown last week.

As Justin has pointed out before, only a very small number of the 1,300 detainees from last week's raids of six Swift plants face criminal charges.

Joe Lieberman's web site crashed the day of the Democratic primary. Lieberman's camp swiftly leveled accusations that Ned Lamont's supporters were behind it. There were strong indications, however, that the Lieberman campaign's techies were just cheap... and incompetent. The feds launched an investigation. Since then, nothing.

And now, they're done. The conclusion?

"The investigation has revealed no evidence the problems the Web site experienced were the result of criminal conduct," Tom Carson, spokesman for U.S. Attorney Kevin O'Connor, said Tuesday.

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal confirmed the joint investigation "found no evidence of tampering or sabotage warranting civil action by my office."


As we flagged at the time (though there is no direct evidence of this and no indication the FBI is pursuing it), if the Lieberman campaign knew that the site had not been hacked when they lodged the complaint with the FBI, that would be a crime.

TPMLivewire