Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

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Okay, we're getting pretty amazing reports about veritable bamboozlement typhoons sweeping across several of the evening chat shows. We hear that Hardball was probably the worst, with a series of ridiculous claims by Ken Mehlman and later Ed Rogers. If you watched, please let us know what you saw and heard. We've set up this special discussion thread to chronicle the bamboozlement on this evening's show.

We also hear Rogers made a bamboozlement pit stop at the Newshour. Share what you saw there on this thread.

Ouch! The AP gets reeled in after chomping down hard on the GOP bamboozle bait. We join the unfortunate moment in <$NoAd$> progress (emphasis added) ...

Still, Charles Black, a longtime GOP strategist, predicts Rove will survive.

"It's good fodder for a feeding frenzy. And Democrats are pouncing on Karl because they fear and hate him. But, based on what we know that Karl did, there's nothing wrong with that," Black said.

"The question at the time that was put to McClellan in 2003 was did Karl or these other guys intentionally leak the woman's name, which is a criminal offense. He didn't do that," said Black.

A 1982 law prohibits the deliberate leaking of CIA agents' names. Plame is the wife of former U.S. Ambassador Joe Wilson, who accused the administration of manipulating intelligence on weapons of mass destruction to justify the invasion of Iraq. Wilson suggests his wife's name was leaked as retaliation.

Black has apparently found black letter law showing that Rove had to use Plame's actual name, which Cooper's email suggests he didn't do. And the AP buys it.

Only the law doesn't say anything remotely like that.

You can read the whole thing here. But here are some examples of the language the law uses ...

identifies a covert agent, intentionally discloses any information identifying such covert agent ... intentionally discloses any information identifying such covert agent

Intent is a very important component of the law, as is how the person in question learned the information. And either could be enough to get Rove off the hook. But the idea that the individuals name has to be used is completely ridiculous. But that didn't stop Charlie Black from bagging the AP pretty nicely on this one.

Fox News runs with new bamboozlement line ...

Cooper's e-mail said Rove warned him away from the idea that Wilson's trip had been authorized by CIA Director George Tenet or Vice President Dick Cheney.

"He gave proper guidance to a reporter who got disinformation in a leak" meant to assign responsibility to Cheney, former Bush aide Ed Rogers told FOX News.

Karl Rove, anti-leak warrior.

A TPM Reader frames it very nicely: Is the president going to stand by his word or stand by his man?

Emerging Bamboozlement Alert!

Newt throws lifeline to Rove and W.! Katie Couric mans the deck!

In his appearance this morning on the Today Show Newt Gingrich said: "The president's been pretty clear: if somebody's broken the law they will be fired. The question is whether or not, uh, what karl did was in any way breaking the law."

When did the president say anything about breaking the law? Didn't he just say that he'd fire whoever was involved in the leak?

Have you seen other examples of emerging bamboozlement strategies? Let us know in this discussion thread.

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!