Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

John Kerry responds to Rick Santorum's claim that Massachusetts liberalism is the cause of pedophilia and priest abuse of minors ...

"The families of Massachusetts soldiers who have given their lives for their country in Iraq know more about the mainstream American values of Massachusetts than Rick Santorum ever will.

As a prosecutor in Massachusetts putting criminals behind bars, I saw some of the worst criminals who had abused children and not once did I hear them hide behind Sen. Santorum's bizarre claim that the state was responsible for their acts.

Rick Santorum owes an apology to the families of abuse victims and an apology to the faithful who fill the pews of Massachusetts churches every Sunday."

Nothing more to add<$NoAd$>.

Late Update: Okay, I have nothing to add. But Sen. Kennedy does.

Sen. Norm Coleman (R-WH) speaks out!

"My Democratic friends would be doing the nation a great service if they spent half as much time getting legislation passed that will benefit the country as they do in attacking Karl Rove. When you're out of ideas and lack vision, you are left with nothing but personal attacks and negativity. We have enough to do in the Senate in minding our own business than to be sticking our noses into someone else's business. Everyone needs to cool the rhetoric, focus on the business of the people, and allow the investigation to run its course."

Late Update: This clip from an April 2005 article in The Forward suggests Norm Coleman knows who his daddy is ..."In 2001, Rove disrupted Pawlenty's plans to run for the Senate against the late Democratic Sen. Paul Wellstone. Rove was backing Norm Coleman, who was elected in 2002, and Pawlenty ran for governor instead."

Even Later Update: Another golden oldie from Sen. Coleman (R-WH), this one from October 1st, 2003: "What we're hearing is a little rank political hypocrisy when it comes to claims about a special prosecutor, and I also want to note, the president of the United States has been very, very, very clear. If someone in his administration leaked information or did something that is illegal, they will be held accountable."

Too much hilarity!

Yesterday, Karl Rove protege and RNC chairman Ken Mehlman sent out an anti-Joe Wilson smear sheet in an effort to throw a lifeline to his mentor.

As we've now mentioned several times, one of his claims is that Wilson was caught lying when he claimed Cheney had sent him to Niger -- something which, of course, he never said.

But look at one of the news clips Mehlman adduces as evidence ...

Joe Wilson: “What They Did, What The Office Of The Vice President Did, And, In Fact, I Believe Now From Mr. Libby’s Statement, It Was Probably The Vice President Himself ...” (CNN’s “Late Edition,” 8/3/03)

So there it is. Wilson saying that it was the vice president himself.

Look at the actual transcript of the show Mehlman is referring to with the parts Mehlman chose to leave out in bold (we come into the interview with Wolf Blitzer talking to Wilson and about to play a tape of another interview with Condi Rice) ...

BLITZER: I know you were sent to go on this mission long before the State of the Union Address. When Condoleezza Rice, the president's national security adviser, was on this program a few weeks ago, on July 13th, I asked her about your mission. Listen to this exchange I had with her.


DR. CONDOLEEZZA RICE, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: I didn't know Joe Wilson was going to Niger. And if you look in Director Tenet's statement, it says that counter-proliferation experts, on their own initiative, sent Joe Wilson. So, I don't know...

BLITZER: Who sent him?

RICE: Well, it was certainly not at a level that had anything to do with the White House.


BLITZER: Is that true?

WILSON: Well, look, it's absolutely true that neither the vice president nor Dr. Rice nor even George Tenet knew that I was traveling to Niger.

What they did, what the office of the vice president did, and, in fact, I believe now from Mr. Libby's statement, it was probably the vice president himself...

BLITZER: Scooter Libby is the chief of staff for the vice president.

WILSON: Scooter Libby.

They asked essentially that we follow up on this report -- that the agency follow up on the report. So it was a question that went to the CIA briefer from the Office of the Vice President. The CIA, at the operational level, made a determination that the best way to answer this serious question was to send somebody out there who knew something about both the uranium business and those Niger officials that were in office at the time these reported documents were executed.

This is Mehlman's evidence for his claim that <$NoAd$> "Wilson Falsely Claimed That It Was Vice President Cheney Who Sent Him To Niger."

Any talking head going to call him on this?

You too can be part of the rough and tumble with the GOP slime and spin machine!

On show after show this week, Republican bamboozlers like Newt Gingrich, Ken Mehlman and others are going on the air and spouting the most ridiculous lies. But in most cases their talking head interlocutors don't call them on it. One example among many is the GOP claim that Wilson lied when he claimed Cheney had either sent him to Africa or 'authorized' his trip. Of course, as we noted below, Wilson never said any such thing. It's just one more made up story.

Katie Couric this morning on Today is one. Chris Matthews is another.

But we need your help to put together our rogues' gallery of the GOP's willing-self-bamboozlers in corps. Really, this is important and there's no other way to keep track of all the waves of mendacity that will be crashing over the nation's tv sets today.

Watch the shows; watch the lies; write down which talking heads let them stand or join in the orgy of bamboozlement themselves; then send them in to us. TPM Shirts for the best catches!

Gingrich enlisted in the lie and smear campaign! The Old Bulls suit up to spout the Mehlman bull! More soon!

A TPM T-Shirt to the first person who can find me a transcript of Gingrich on the Today show this morning!

Another TPM Reader <$NoAd$> checks in ...

You're overlooking something HUGE in Novak's quote

Re-read the following quote: "I didn't dig it out, it was given to me. They thought it was significant, they gave me the name and I used it." And then compare that with the Rove testimony (and right-wing noise machine) claiming that Rove, at least, did not supply Plame's name to Cooper et al. Because here we have Novak, back in real time, saying straight out "they gave me the name." The only remaining question is, who? More importantly, Novak's admission should knock this particular meme (that nobody in the administration supplied Plame's name) out of the park, should it not?

Good point. See this post below for the quote the reader is referring to.

The comedy still doesn't end!

Wall Street Journal headline: "Karl Rove, Whistleblower."

On the other hand, can you blame them? Most of the kids there want White House jobs or other GOP-based promotions.

Larry Johnson is a retired CIA officer who was a classmate of Valerie Plame's when both entered the CIA in the mid-1980s. Johnson just did a guest post over at TPMCafe in which he explains the damage that was done when administration officials revealed Plame's identity, who's lying and who's not.

Check it out.

As Atrios rightly notes, the real scoop or hint in Murray Waas's blog post tonight is the suggestion that Fitzgerald is looking seriously at conspiracy or obstruction charges against Rove et al. and perhaps even Novak himself.

Here are two key passages ...

Federal investigators have been skeptical of Novak's assertions that he referred to Plame as a CIA "operative" due to his own error, instead of having been explicitly told that was the case by his sources, according to attorneys familiar with the criminal probe.

That skepticism has been one of several reasons that the special prosecutor has pressed so hard for the testimony of Time magazine's Cooper and New York Times reporter Judith Miller.


Also of interest to investigators have been a series of telephone contacts between Novak and Rove, and other White House officials, in the days just after press reports first disclosed the existence of a federal criminal investigation as to who leaked Plame's identity. Investigators have been concerned that Novak and his sources might have conceived or co-ordinated a cover story to disguise the nature of their conversations. That concern was a reason-- although only one of many-- that led prosecutors to press for the testimony of Cooper and Miller, sources said.

They're right to be skeptical of Novak's mendacious claim.

I know I've been something of a <$Ad$> broken record on this. But I have to again refer back to this October 9th, 2003 post which I think shows quite clearly that Novak has a history of being careful and precise when he uses the term 'operative' in a CIA or intelligence context.

A review of Novak's earlier columns shows he only uses it to refer to clandestine or covert agents.

To suggest that in this one case he simply lapsed into a colloquialism (as one might refer to a 'Democratic political operative'), as he has repeatedly claimed, just doesn't pass the laugh test.

And, if you'll indulge me, a reference to one more old post, this one from several hours earlier on the same day, October 9th, 2003.

As I've stated above, once the Plame story burst into the open and the DOJ got involved, Novak made the rounds claiming that neither he nor his sources knew she was covert. But, particularly with the alleged spate of phone calls between Novak and his White House sources, the relevant question would be, What was he saying before the story caught fire?

As we noted in that earlier post, there's a way we can get at this question.

The first newspaper report on the Plame outing was written by Timothy Phelps and Knut Royce in Newsday on July 22nd, 2003, about a week after Novak's column first ran.

The story's lede read: "The identity of an undercover CIA officer whose husband started the Iraq uranium intelligence controversy has been publicly revealed by a conservative Washington columnist citing 'two senior administration officials.'"

As you'd expect from that introduction, the whole focus of the article was Novak's exposure of an 'undercover' or covert agent. And the article, as you might also suspect, had a number of quotes from Wilson and others arguing for how damaging it was to have revealed the identity of a covert agent.

They interviewed Novak too. And this was his response: "I didn't dig it out, it was given to me. They thought it was significant, they gave me the name and I used it."

Plame's covert status was a centerpiece of the article. Phelps and Royce must have raised the point when they talked to Novak. Yet, at this point, before the controversy became a big media story and prior to the beginning of a DOJ investigation, Novak made no attempt to claim that his article said anything other than what it appeared to say. He made no effort to claim he didn't know Plame was covert, that his sources didn't know; or that they were the source of his knowledge.

All he said is that he thought it was newsworthy and so he used it.

Given what we know now, I think that speaks volumes. Novak's claims that he didn't mean 'operative' when he wrote 'operative' don't hold up against his history of intelligence reportage. And he only started making this claim after federal investigators got involved -- and after, it would seem, a series of phone conversations with Rove and other White House officials.

Slim Pickins?

I'm told the RNC is telling reporters that Sen. Cornyn, Sen. Coleman and Rep. Peter King are the designated point-men on Rove.

For all his occasional zaniness and bad positions on various issues, I've got a certain respect for King.

But these three are the water-carriers?

This is the best they can do?