Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

There's a buzz now about why the House Intelligence Committee still hasn't received a copy of a CIA inspector general's report which examines the Agency's performance during the run-up to the Sept. 11 attacks. Democrats suspect it's being held up until after the election. And even the Republican chairman of the Committee joined the ranking member telling the CIA to stop delaying.

Why stop there, though?

What I'd really like to see is the joint State Department-CIA Inspector General's report on the Niger forgeries that was finished a year ago.

It's got some details about Italy.

I don't know quite what <$Ad$>to think of Pat Robertson's claim that President Bush told him there'd be no casualties in Iraq. Candor requires me to say that, as a general matter, I don't trust this guy as far as I could throw him. I certainly wouldn't put in any stock in his say-so if he were accusing someone I supported.

(Oddly enough, Kevin Drum has the best Bush-exonerating theory on this one, though I think it's a stretch.)

But in this case, it's sort of an admission against interest. Robertson's no Kerry supporter. He has no interest in hurting the president.

And even if you assume that Robertson is acting out of some sort of intra-Republican pique, he's said this before -- and not at a time when the statement would be quite so politically charged.

As Andrew Sullivan notes this evening, back in June on Hardball Robertson said ...

I felt very uneasy about [the war] from the very get-go. Whenever I heard about it, I knew it was going to be trouble. I warned the president. I only met with him once. I said, You better prepare the American people for some serious casualties. And he said, Oh, no, our troops are, you know, so well protected, we don't have to worry about that.

Having said it months ago when the stakes were much lower -- and not having been contradicted at the time -- makes Robertson's claim more plausible. As Sullivan also points out, this looser formulation also has the ring of truth. To say that the US would suffer no casualties is either a rhetorical shorthand or ridiculous on its face.

When he spoke a few months ago, Robertson's point was that President Bush was sure the war would be a painless one.

That sounds a lot like our president.

A reader (MS) brings up another point.

When trying to refute Robertson's claim, Karen Hughes told the Associated Press, "Obviously, we already had casualties in Afghanistan at the time. If you look at that, that (the comment) was not consistent with what was going on."

In other words, Hughes is arguing that the president couldn't have said such a thing because such a statement wouldn't have been consistent with the reality that everyone could see in front of them.

Need I say more?

Back on July 1st a source first told me that Allen Raymond, the man at the heart of the New Hampshire phone-jamming scandal, had fingered Jim Tobin as one of his accomplices. (Tobin's role was reported first on TPM on October 11th.) Tobin, as we've noted earlier, was the New England regional director of the Bush-Cheney campaign until he resigned last Friday.

That's more than three and a half months ago. The Bush campaign has known at least since then. And I suspect much longer. And yet they left him in the post.

That means the campaign kept in place a man implicated in an election tampering scam that took place in the same part of the country over which the campaign had given him oversight.

What does that tell you?

Another point ...

To the best of my knowledge no political reporter covering the Bush campaign has asked a campaign spokesperson 1) when they found out about Tobin's role in the election tampering scheme and 2) why they didn't remove him from the campaign after they learned.

What does that tell you?

If anyone knows of a reporter who's asked or an article where an answer has been published, please let me know.

In other phone-jamming news, yesterday the Justice Department again went to the mat to prevent New Hampshire Democrats from gaining access to evidence about Tobin's role in the case.

Talk about pathetic ...

I don't know how much sense there is getting into the nitty-gritty of which pol has gotten a flu shot and which hasn't. But this is pretty feeble. If you look on Drudge as of around 12:31 AM there's a big headline about the Kerry campaign hitting Cheney, Snow and Frist for getting flu shots, notwithstanding the shortage.

And then just below there's a headline: "BUT CLINTON GOT ONE."


Didn't Clinton have a quadruple bypass like about six weeks ago? And, as long as we're on the topic, isn't Clinton, like ... not on the ballot?

For myself, I don't begrudge the Veep getting a shot. He's over sixty and he has a serious heart condition. But the White House is ill-positioned to make that case since the whole point is that the Vice President is, by definition, not in good health.

I've received a slew of emails over the last twenty four hours asking about the status of the Sinclair situation, and where things stand. I would refer people to the update put up yesterday on the Sinclair boycott site, which gives a good sense of where things are.

Put simply, this isn't over. Not even close.

Sinclair made a largely cosmetic retreat. They won't show 'Stolen Honor' in its entirety -- only, presumably, the most inflammatory parts, along with some padding whining about media bias.

Despite the fact that they've moved the program to Friday and later in the evening, they're still forcing most of their stations to turn over an hour of the airwaves to what seems certain to be an hourlong anti-Kerry smear just before the election.

Unfortunately, I sense they have fooled many into thinking they've backed down. But they haven't.

Anybody who is concerned about this should not be lulled into a sense that Sinclair isn't still using its control of the airwaves in many households throughout the country to game the election. To see what more you can do head back to the Sinclair Boycott website.

Today was a travel day for TPM. Thus the dearth of posts.