Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

A key passage from today's article by Warren <$NoAd$>Strobel on the Knight Ridder wire ...

Several U.S. officials and law enforcement sources said Thursday that the scope of the FBI probe of Pentagon intelligence activities appeared to go well beyond the Franklin matter.

FBI agents have briefed top White House, Pentagon and State Department officials on the probe in recent days. Based on those briefings, officials said, the bureau appears to be looking into other controversies that have roiled the Bush administration, some of which also touch Feith's office.

They include how the Iraqi National Congress, a former exile group backed by the Pentagon, allegedly received highly classified U.S. intelligence on Iran; the leaking of the name of CIA officer Valerie Plame to reporters; and the production of bogus documents suggesting that Iraq tried to buy uranium for nuclear weapons from the African country of Niger. Bush repeated the Niger claim in making the case for war against Iraq.

"The whole ball of wax" was how one U.S. official privy to the briefings described the inquiry.

Read the whole thing.

Looking back over the RNC one of the clear objectives was to reconstruct the picture of the last four years in which the previous administration left the country vulnerable to the 9/11 attack and President Bush revolutionized our defenses and doctrines in order to combat the threat.

That view of matters was the conventional wisdom until roughly a year ago when it started to be pulled apart by a series of official investigations and belatedly aggressive journalism.

In fact, the president ignored the terrorist threat during his first months in office. After the war in Afghanistan he pulled resources away from the war against al Qaida to fight the war in Iraq -- which played a key role in allowing bin Laden and other key AQ leaders to slip the noose. And along the way he used systematic deception to game the country into the conflict.

(The Senate intel Report tries to work its way around that fact. But I suspect that Report will be taking a bit of a hit in the next few weeks.)

I don't mean to rehash all that's come out in the last eighteen months. But there was an effort to deny all of it through the use of effective rhetoric without rebuttal. The Dems will have to start deconstructing it again now.

From Reuters .<$NoAd$>..

Sen. Zell Miller, whose scathing speech at the Republican convention outraged fellow Democrats, was so booked with television interviews that he could not sit in President Bush's guest box at the convention on Thursday as first planned. The Bush re-election campaign initially intended for the Georgia senator and his wife, Shirley, to sit among the honored guests with first lady Laura Bush and other VIPs as the president accepted the Republican nomination to a new term in office.

The campaign later released a guest list that dropped Miller and his wife from the list. Bush campaign spokesman Scott Stanzel said Miller was not in the box because the Bush campaign had scheduled him to do too many television interviews.

Stanzel said the campaign was delighted that Miller, a conservative Democrat, participated at the convention.

From NBC ...

After gauging the harsh reaction from Democrats and Republicans alike to Sen. Zell Miller’s keynote address at the Republican National Convention, the Bush campaign — led by the first lady — backed away Thursday from Miller’s savage attack on Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry, insisting that the estranged Democrat was speaking only for himself.

Late Thursday, Miller and his wife were removed from the list of dignitaries who would be sitting in the first family’s box during the president’s acceptance speech later in the evening. Scott Stanzel, a spokesman for the Bush campaign, said Miller was not in the box because the campaign had scheduled him to do too many television interviews.

There was no explanation, however, for why Miller would be giving multiple interviews during Bush’s acceptance speech, or what channels would snub the president in favor of Miller. Nor was it made clear why Miller’s wife also was not allowed to take her place in the president’s box 24 hours after his deeply personal denunciation of his own party’s nominee. The change was made only a few hours after Laura Bush, asked about Miller’s speech, said in an interview with NBC News that “I don’t know that we share that point of view.” Aides to President Bush and his campaign said.

Let me share with you some quick and hastily-assembled thoughts about the evening just concluded.

I thought the president tonight was better than his speech. And what I mean by that is that he seemed confident, assured, and at ease -- all the qualities that he should have conveyed and embodied. But the speech itself, while good, seemed like less than it could have been. In many ways I thought Cheney's was better.

I trust you'll understand that it's a given that I didn't think much of the content of either speech. But purely evaluating them in terms of political effectiveness, I thought the president's speech left unaddressed issues that I thought he should have and could have dealt with more effectively.

My watching of the speech was disrupted in a jarring way because I happened to be sitting two seats away from one of the protestors who was hustled out of the arena during the president's speech. An unassuming women had been sitting on our press row for the couple hours prior to the speech. And about half way through out of the corner of my eye I saw a plainclothes police officer lunge in our direction. I looked back to see the woman who -- without my having noticed -- had tossed on a pink slip over her dress and I guess was about to start some sort of chant or statement.

He grabbed her; there was a brief commotion. Other officers rushed in our direction. And then before I could even figure out what was going on, she was gone.

There are some more details to the story, including the journalist sitting next to me, who started yelling at the woman -- or perhaps better to say, aggressively scolding her -- as she was dragged off. But I'll leave that till tomorrow.

Remember how President Bush has said, any country that looks at me the wrong way, that's a country I'm going to wipe from the face of the earth? And do you remember how he said that if he didn't read the August 6 PDB that that wasn't his problem and people should stop complaining about it?

I admit that I probably can't point to a direct citation for those things the president says. But then I don't know if George Pataki or the others can point to where John Kerry said he would only attack terrorists after they attacked us first.

"The whole week was double-ply, wall-to-wall ugly. The tone was set early on ... Allowances should be made for rhetorical excess ... But, even so, the Republican Party reached an unimaginably slouchy, and brazen, and constant, level of mendacity last week ... [President Bush] is in "campaign mode" now, which means mendacity doesn't matter, aggression is all and wall-to-wall ugly is the order of battle for the duration."

Joe Klein
August 31st, 1992

"Our tribe will attack their tribe. And then we will kill their men, make their livestock our own and take their women to mate."

This, I'm told, is from the draft version of Zell Miller's speech, before word came down that Zell really shouldn't hold back.

After all the grief Howard Dean got way back when, I'll be watching to see how much follow-on there will be after Miller went from delivering that speech to going on Chris Matthews' show and challenges him to a duel.

(The transcript is really worth reading, if you didn't see it live.)

It's also worth glancing at this CNN interview that they did with Miller just after the speech, in which they pointed out that most of the factual assertions he made in the speech were false.

(CNN's still in awfully bad shape; but credit where credit is due.)

Kevin Drum has a nice run-down of responses from across the web.

Actually I think Atrios get props for the best out of the box response to Miller when he said: "Wow, I never thought Zell would be able to improve on the original German version of Pat Buchanan's '92 speech, but he did."

An important story, though one we're likely to hear little about: former Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim was released today after his (by all accounts trumped up) sodomy conviction was overturned by the country's high court.

The latest numbers from ARG ...

John Kerry and George W. Bush remain tied nationally. Among all voters in a survey conducted August 30-September 1, Kerry is at 48% and Bush is at 46%. Among likely voters, Bush is at 48% and Kerry is at 47%.

With Ralph Nader in the race, it is Kerry 46%, Bush 45%, and Nader 3% among all voters and Bush 47%, Kerry 47%, and Nader 3% among likely voters.

Kerry has lost support among Independents <$NoAd$>in the past month.

Among all Americans, 48% disapprove of the way Bush is handling his job and 45% approve. When it comes to handling the economy, 51% of all Americans disapprove and 43% approve.

Again, as I said before, Kerry has lost ground -- as ARG notes, among independents, which is the only fluid part of the electorate this year. But you can't really say he's out of it as he's not even clearly behind.