On today's BradCast: Lock him up! Plus a whole bunch of November 6 midterm fallout, follow-up and fraud. [Audio link to show follows below.]
Yes, despite his many desperate and ever-shifting attempts to explain (lie) his way out of it, all evidence demonstrates that Donald Trump quite clearly committed a major, indictable, campaign finance felony in his hush-money payoffs before the 2016 election to women with whom he had had sexual affairs. We're joined today by longtime campaign finance expert CRAIG HOLMANof Public Citizen for a very sober, clear, point-by-point explanation of Trump's apparent crime in this matter and what can (or, at least should) be done about it.
Holman methodically debunks each of Trump's various claims --- offered via both Fox "News" and on Twitter --- in the wake of the criminal sentencing in federal court on Wednesday, of his longtime personal attorney and "fixer" Michael Cohen. Cohen pleaded guilty for, among other things, facilitating the illicit, covert payoff scheme "directed" by Trump to cover up the trysts so they wouldn't adversely effect his 2016 election chances. Holman elaborates on how any other elected federal official would "absolutely" be indicted for the exact same unlawful scheme.
"Every other government official is subject to the laws of the nation, just like you and I. And we have seen many members of Congress, for instance, and other Executive Branch officials face indictment, prosecution and even imprisonment for this type of felony behavior," he tells me.
The only thing preventing similar accountability for Trump, Holman argues, is the controversial opinion from the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) which states that a sitting President may not be indicted on criminal charges. But, Holman says, citing recent arguments from Richard Nixon's former counsel John Dean, that's precisely what the U.S. Constitution's 25th Amendment was already designed to handle.
"The entire rationale behind [the OLC opinion] it is that indicting a President would incapacitate the Executive Branch, and therefore you just can't indict a sitting President," he says. But "we've got the 25th Amendment in the Constitution, and that sets up an entire transition period if the President becomes incapacitated. So there is no incapacitation. We know the transition. So the president should be subject to indictment."
Beyond the protection of the OLC opinion, Holman notes one very narrow potential argument that Trump might otherwise be able to use to avoid try and avoid legal accountability. But, he concludes, "The evidence is overwhelming that our President committed a felony."
In other news today, Wisconsin's rejected Republican Gov. Scott Walker signed a sweeping host of bills --- adopted with lightning speed by the gerrymandered GOP state legislature in an extraordinary lame duck session --- designed to undermine the Executive powers of incoming Democratic Governor-elect Tony Evers, and Attorney General-elect Josh Kaul, as well as the state's voters. At least one lawsuit in response has already been announced to challenge the new provision that restricts Early Voting in the state. A similar provision was ruled unconstitutional by the federal courts in 2016 (as we discussed recently with the plaintiff in that case.)
In Michigan, Republican Gov. Rick Snyder, also soon to be replaced by a Democrat, signed several bills on Friday that similarly undermine voters.
In North Carolina -- where Republicans invented these very types of unprecedented lame duck power grabs back in 2016 --- the GOP absentee ballot election fraud scandal that has, so far, prevented the certification of Republican Mark Harris' reported 905-vote "victory" over Democrat Dan McCready in the state's 9th Congressional District, may be spreading to a completely different U.S. House District. In Columbus County, in the state's 7th CD, there was reportedly an even larger percentage of mysteriously unreturned absentee ballots from Democratic voters than that which originally sparked the 9th CD's ongoing election fraud probe. In Columbus, a Republican candidate for Sheriff is said to have unseated the Democrat Sheriff by by just 37 votes after hiring the same GOP contractor at the center of the NC9 absentee ballot fraud allegations. As we've been reporting, evidence revealed during the ongoing investigation in NC9 will, almost certainly at this point, result in a new U.S. House election there.
Finally today, in Maine, incumbent Republican Rep. Bruce Poliquin saw his Constitutional challenge to the state's new Ranked Choice Voting system rejected by a Trump-appointed federal judge on Thursday. On Friday, he called off the ongoing hand-count he had requested in his 2nd Congressional District race. Poliquin, after winning the most votes in the first computer tally by more than 2,200 votes, failed to win a majority. In the next round of counting, after voters' second place choices were redistributed to other candidates according to the computerized RCV algorithm now used to tally ballots in the state, Democrat Jared Golden was declared the winner of the November 6th contest. The complicated RCV hand-count began last week and, until ended by Poliquin today, was otherwise expected to continue for several more weeks. The outgoing Republicans says he is still mulling an appeal to the federal court ruling.
While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
* * *
MONTHLY BRAD BLOG SUBSCRIPTION
(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)
As I was digging into the archives, I was reminded again that while many folks know us for our coverage of election integrity issues, voting machine problems, whistleblowers, etc., it was our scoop about a story concerning the George W. Bush White House in the lead-up to the 2004 President Election that was our first to "go national" and have a direct effect on the national political discourse.
It was before we had even begun digging as deep as we eventually would on the e-voting beat, and the fallout from the story itself resulted in national pick-up by the MSM, pressure on officials and questions at White House press conferences, an academic study (years later) and, the most fun part, the Bush White House eventually being forced to spend what must have been an enormous amount of man hours restoring date to the White House website in the week before the actual election that year...
Senator John Edwards took his presidential campaign to Los Angeles yesterday, speaking to a crowd of about 1,000 at the Southern California Public Service Workers' headquarters. While Edwards spent the bulk of his nearly 20 minute speech going after special interests, corporations and lobbyists, he also took a few shots, without naming anyone, at his main Democratic challengers:
"You don't bring about change by shuffling papers, and you don't bring about change by just giving a speech. We have to actually have some guts, some determination and some fight if we want to bring the change that America so desperately needs."
Edwards also said that he was the "underdog" and challenged the crowd to start a grassroots movement on his behalf that will spread across the country like a "tidal wave of change."
As mentioned earlier today, NH SoS Bill Gardner told WMUR in NH that "We did nine of the 12 wards in Manchester, and a lot of the votes were exactly the same...Some went up by a vote or two." He didn't, of course, note that a lot of the vote counts (most of them) were off by 5 or more.
And now, the rest of the numbers from the rest of the Manchester wards are coming on. And get a load of Ward 5:
All of the other candidates seem to have lost votes as well. No clue who received them instead, and must run out to tonight's Oakland screening of UNCOUNTED: The New Math of American Elections. But I thought you'd want to know.
WMUR might want to know too. Since their only source seems to be whatever Gardner tells them. They can be contacted here.
There are more fresh numbers there, but we haven't yet had time to review 'em. Other than that, everything is fine with your election system. Or, as WMUR "reported" at 6pm ET today: "The continuing Democratic primary recount in New Hampshire has not found any voting problems."
The widest variations so far were in Manchester's Ward 5. Vote counters there mistakenly transposed write-in votes for vice president as votes for presidential candidate. As a result, all major candidates lost votes. Kucinich lost three in the ward and has a total of 20 votes there. Hillary Clinton lost 64 with a new total of 619; John Edwards lost 38 and has 217 votes; Barack Obama lost 39 and has 365, and Bill Richardson lost seven, leaving him 39.
We've been on the road, and thus, unable to confirm that explanation one way or another, or even add this update from yesterday's paper until now. But we're happy to share it with you nonetheless (even as some dKos fans in comments, have suggested our lack of pointing it out as some sort of "conspiracy theory". Get over yourself, kids. And stand up for democracy while you're at it!)
(As mentioned in previous items, I'm now on the road --- currently in Oakland for the Thursday night screening of the more-ironically-named-than-ever documentary, UNCOUNTED: The New Math of American Elections --- and doing my best to keep up while moving. So apologies for the terse reports for the moment, as I continue to roll and have limited time online.)
LATEST OUT OF NH: Disparities being found during hand-counts of ballots, in many wards, many candidates. Diebold op-scan memory cards unaccounted for at the moment, Secretary of State (SoS) doesn't track them after elections, doesn't track error reports during elections. LHS Associates (see below) handles all of it instead, according to reports on the ground. Public records request reveals hundreds of ballots in one area scanned as blank due to incorrect ink used on ballots, and other problems on LHS problem report forms.
* * *
Numbers are now being posted from both the Democratic and Republican hand-counts in the NH Primary Election contest. So far, only wards in Manchester (Hillsborough County) have been hand-counted, and disparities between the original counts from the Diebold optical-scan machine and the hand inspections seem to be occurring in many wards, and for many candidates.
While sources on the ground at the counting today have told me that officials were not announcing the originally counted results at the counting room, the SoS web page lists what they claim are the original counts --- previously verified by nobody --- versus the recounted numbers.
The disparities, as I've quickly been able to review them, are small, but consistent, in ward after ward, across almost all of the candidates. I'm told that the manufacturers of the optical-scan machines (in this case, Diebold) have estimated an expected error rate of 1% on this type of tallying device which, as noted by one of our contacts in NH, is ridiculous, if you consider that most states and counties only kick in "automatic recounts" when the margin between the two leading candidates is less than .5% or so.
ADDITIONALLY...Public records requests are being made on the spot, for errors and malfunctions at various voting precincts. An early review of the error forms turned over from the public record request made by Election Integrity experts overseeing the counting, has revealed that in Stratham there were some 550 ballots that were not read by the op-scan at all. They were seen as blank ballots. Officials there noticed the problem, and then hand-counted some 3000 ballots after the error was discovered.
Apparently, as we've seen elsewhere, voters were given the wrong pen to use and the op-scanners did not "see" this particular type of ink.
Some of the election day error and incident reports, as read to me over the phone just now by Susan Pynchon of Florida Fair Elections Coalition and Paddy Shaffer of Ohio Election Justice Campaign, both of whom are on the ground in NH overseeing the counts, and assisting Republican contest candidate Albert Howard...
(Town of Stratham, 9:00pm)
PROBLEM: Printout indicated 550 "blank voted" ballots which indicated that bad pens were used. SOLUTION: Went to Stratham to confirm that approximately 15 bad pens were used on election day. The town had, by that time, hand counted and announced those results as official.
PROBLEM: Too many blanks, used wrong marking pens SOLUTION: Sent Gerry and Tina with lucid machines.
(Town of Lebanon, precinct #2, 9:00 (am or pm?))
PROBLEM: Corrupt Count. SOLUTION: Shut off and back on. Count back to 155.
(Town of Manchester, 9:30pm)
PROBLEM: P/U 3rd Bad Machine per John S. (likely refers to John Silvestro, owner of LHS) SOLUTION:
I spoke with Bev Harris of BlackBoxVoting.org, who is also on the ground in NH, and she asks: "If it wasn't 550 ballots, but just 55 or so in some places, would they even have seen it and known to recount ALL of the ballots?"
She also noted that the error report came from LHS Associates, the private company (with the, um, less-than-reputable background) that is the sole Diebold vendor, programmer, operator and service provider in NH and most of the other New England states.
LHS, apparently, is the one responsible for tracking (or not) and reporting (or not) any such errors, rather than the Secretary of State or local election officials. That tracks with previous BRAD BLOG reporting on LHS, and how they operate in Connecticut, where there are similar concerns for whether or not the SoS even knows what the error rates are for the system they use, since problem reports are given to LHS instead of to public officials.
The BRAD BLOG has reported within the past few days machine problems during the election in a number of towns. In fact, of the first four towns we called that used the Diebold machines, all four reported machine failures of one type or another.
FURTHER...Voting Rights attorney John Bonifaz, legal director of VoterAction.org, was on the scene today, and just told me that he has great concerns about the transparency of both the initial election and the hand-count auditing process that got under way in earnest today.
"I'm very concerned that this is not a fully transparent process that is happening there," he told me.
The sensitive memory cards containing the programming and tabulation from the Diebold optical-scanners are apparently "missing in action" for the moment. Those cards, as viewers of HBO's Hacking Democracy know by now, may be used to hack an election, such that only a proper hand-count of the paper ballots afterwards will reveal the hack. (See the video of that hack for yourself right here. The same exact machine being hacked in that film was used across the state to count 80% of the ballots in NH in last week's primary.)
And yet, says Bonifaz who spent time today speaking with New Hampshire Secretary of State, Assistant Secretary of State and Deputy Attorney General, nobody seems to have any idea where those cards are and what has become of them.
He says he was told by Secretary of State William Gardner that his office doesn't get involved in tracking what happens to those memory cards. Some have reportedly been returned to LHS, and may have had their memory erased already.
"When you have a private company counting 80% of the votes, and you later learn that the memory cards are unaccounted for, you have a serious question about the transparency and accountability in that process," Bonifaz said.
He notes that federal law requires all materials from elections be preserved for 22 months after the election. So if those materials have already been lost, destroyed, or over-written, there are legal questions that must be addressed.
Bonifaz also noted that while representatives and observers for the Hillary Clinton and Dennis Kucinich campaigns were on site, nobody at all seemed to be there from either the Barack Obama or John Edwards camps. (Incredibly enough, I might add!)
* * *
Our earlier report today had a number of important updates that you may wish to review. Including the fact that the Kucinich people have asked for more observers (with video cameras if you have them!) at the State Archives Bldg., 71 South Fruit Street, Concord, New Hampshire, to help oversee the 6 counting teams. Much more in that report as well...
UPDATE 1/17/08 6:25 PM PST by Emily Levy: There are enough volunteers for tomorrow's counting. After Friday's counting, the count will be suspended for the Dr. Martin Luther King Holiday weekend and is scheduled to resume next Tuesday. Folks on the ground in NH ask that you not show up there without talking with someone first, as they don't want anyone to make the trip unless they're needed. Volunteering will be coordinated, and that system is being set up now. Check back here for updates.
For related coverage, please see our index of notable New Hampshire-related BRAD BLOG articles, since the '08 Primary. And please consider donating to our efforts to continue to report on issues of Election Integrity in NH and elsewhere, as what virtually nobody else in the media (MSM or blogosphere!) seems willing to do at this time.
"What we need, is we need paper ballots, so votes can be verified," says John Edwards directly in response to Why Tuesday's video Candidate Challenge. He says a bunch of other good stuff on the topic as well in his brief response...
Edwards is the only Democratic candidate so far (12 candidates from both parties have so far answered the challenge issued by Why Tuesday's Jacob Soboroff) to speak that directly to the issue of paper ballots, and other needed reforms.
On the R side, believe it or not, only Duncan Hunter understands the need for paper ballots. But then again, he also sees imaginary "people that are illegally in the country being rounded up, herded into the polls, we've seen that in California, voting illegally." So we'd have to call his position on election reform a wash.
Also, watch for our buddy Jake's questions on Election Reform to be asked of all of the candidates at tonight's Democratic debate, where his video question was voted into the Top 10 questions (atleast at last count before they shut down voting!) after being voted into the top 10 at 10Questions.com, a project of TechPresident in cooperation with the NYTimes Editorial Board and MSNBC. They will pose all the top 10 questions to the candidates over the next month and ask for a video response, similar to the Why Tuesday? Candidate Challenge. Waytago, Jake!
Why Tuesday? will be at the CNN/YouTube Republican debate in Florida on Nov 28th and The BRAD BLOG looks forward to further partnership with them (Why Tuesday?, not necessarily Republicans, CNN or YouTube)
(CBS/WBEN) - Hillary Clinton continues to be the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination for president, and many voters say they’ll consider supporting her in November 2008 if she becomes the Democratic nominee.
Still, there are obstacles. Many voters think a Hillary Clinton presidency will divide the country rather than unite it. And when Al Gore is added to the list of Democratic candidates, he trails by only five points.
Although he has not declared his candidacy, this poll indicates that were he to enter the race, Al Gore could be a serious contender. Near the end of this questionnaire, his name was added to a short list of candidates vying for the nomination. He came in second among Democratic primary voters at 32% – just five points behind Hillary Clinton. Barack Obama trailed behind them in third place with 16% percent.
We note that his favorable/unfavorable rating among registered Democrats in this poll is currently at 46/29. That's better than than any of the others in the race (Clinton: 26/63 *43/41, Obama: 38/24, Edwards: 30/30)
* UPDATE/ED NOTE 10/27/07: WBEN's favorable/unfavorable numbers for Clinton were incorrect, according to CBS's original numbers [PDF]. Gore still has the best favorable/unfavorable rating of all the Democratic candidates among all registered voters. However, WBEN's contention that Clinton's fave/unfave is at 26/63 is entirely wrong. It's 43/41, as we've now noted above. Their incorrect numbers on her, for that question, seem to be taken from an entirely different question in the poll. At least that's our best guess. Details on all of that now follow below...
Hillary Clinton and John Edwards are caught on tape today at the NAACP Democratic presidential candidates forum seemingly making anti-democratic comments about shrinking the democratic field in future debate settings. (Video available at left.)
Fox "News", who filed the report during Brit Hume's Special Report on Thursday, included sub-titles for the "overheard" post-forum conversation between Clinton and Edwards. They also managed to get in several cheapshots against a number of other Democratic candidates, including Barack Obama.
As subtitled by Fox during the video clip, the exchange between Clinton and Edwards purportedly went as follows:
JOHN EDWARDS: ...at some point...(unintelligible)...maybe the Fall...We should try to have...a more serious and a smaller group.
HILLARY CLINTON: Well...we...we've got to cut the number...because they are...because they are just being trivialized.
EDWARDS: ...and they're...they're not serious. They're not serious.
CLINTON: No...you know...I...I...I think there was an effort by our campaigns to do that. It got...it got somehow...detoured. We've gotta get back to it...because that's all we're going to do between now and then is that...(Barack Obama walks over)...thanks, Barack. (Obama walks away) So...we...us...(Dennis Kucinich walks over) thanks, Dennis (Kucinich walks away)...our guys should talk.
The video includes highlights from John and Elizabeth Edwards's Tonight Show appearance last night. Elizabeth, who looked great and said she feels great, gave an impassioned response to a Leno question about the mixed reaction the Edwardses received from the media after deciding to continue on with the presidential campaign after her diagnosis with incurable breast cancer, stating at one point, "And honestly, people who have been in the same situation all do what we do. Just grab hold of life as hard as they can and do everything they can to make whatever days they've got left mean something."
On the lighter side, Leno questioned Elizabeth about whether she hangs out with "some of the other spouses like Michelle Obama or Bill Clinton" at campaign functions. John Edwards also garnered laughs by poking fun at his highly publicized $400 haircut.
While it's unlikely to get as much attention as Ann Coulter calling him a "faggot" during her speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) last night, The BRAD BLOG has learned that John Edwards is the first Presidential Candidate to announce his support for a growing movement calling for a ban on the use of all Direct Recording Electronic (DRE, usually touch-screen) voting systems in American elections.
The BRAD BLOG was contacted late last night by Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) Board Chair Mimi Kennedy with the news that during a campaign event in Los Angeles Edwards agreed to join her organization in calling for an end to electronic ballots in American elections.
PDA has been one of many groups calling for the ban and other important amendments to Rep. Rush Holt's (D-NJ) new Election Reform bill (HR 811), recently introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Kennedy, an activist and actress well known for her role as Dharma's mother on ABC's Dharma and Greg, told The BRAD BLOG that during a Q & A period following his address last night, she asked Edwards whether he would join PDA in their campaign calling for "the complete removal of all Touch-Screen Direct Record Electronic voting machines from U.S. elections, with or without a paper trail."
Drawing an "X" in the air as the question was being asked, Edwards --- who was reportedly upset at Sen. John Kerry's decision not to contest the 2004 Presidential Election count, or lack thereof, in Ohio --- answered with a definitive "Yes!"
"Yes!" echoed Kennedy in response as the audience reportedly cheered and applauded.
Edwards's public support for a ban on DRE voting systems follows just over a week after Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) was asked a related question by an Election Integrity advocate at a public event at the University of California/Santa Cruz. Waters announced, in response to the query, that she would be withdrawing her co-sponsorship of the Holt bill in the wake of the growing concerns about several troubling shortcomings in the proposed legislation.
Kennedy attended the event, sponsored by the Pacific Palisades Democratic Club, with friend and former TAXI co-star Rhea Perlman, who unsuccessfully tried to video tape the Q & A session on her cell phone. The BRAD BLOG is attempting to locate a complete video of the event and we'll update this item if and when we do.
Before an audience estimated at 400, Kennedy rose and said to the former Vice-Presidential candidate...
But Edwards made the surprising decision to keep the bloggers considering that Donahue and Malkin are two of the country's foremost experts on "hate-filled" "obscene" "vulgar" and "bigoted" speech. Even the New York Times appeared to take their side writing Marcotte "used vulgar language" in a post last year on the Immaculate Conception. The paper of record also quotes from an unrelated Marcotte post about the Duke lacrosse players despite acknowledging it was written sarcastically about the news media:
“Can’t a few white boys sexually assault a black woman anymore without people getting all wound up about it? So unfair.”
Whether or not you find these statements unworthy of an employee of a potential president of the United States, can we all agree that there is an unprecedented amount of rank hypocrisy at play here? Imagine if mainstream media regulars like Bill Kristol or the New York Times' own Thomas Friedman were held accountable for past statements? And what about Malkin who, despite her vile rhetoric, appears regularly on Fox "News"? For truly "vulgar" journalism it is worth reviewing just about any 2002/2003 Judith Miller column in the New York Times.
Similarly, the Washington Post's Cillizza did not seem overly concerned about the hiring of Terry Nelson to run presidential hopeful John McCain's campaign printing nary a word about his checkered past. Clearly, links to Tom DeLay money laundering scandals and illegal phone jamming scandals that subvert democracy and result in four underlings receiving prison sentences are chump change when compared to the hate-filled words of McEwan who called George W. Bush's base "wingnut Christofascist."
Well, I'd hate to ruin my chances of being picked up by a presidential campaign. So, from now on I will not repeat McEwan's mistake and will only refer to Bush's base as "Christofascist wingnuts" and you'll never hear me making sarcastic statements about the MSM. Fact is, I don't know much about Anna Nicole Smith anyway.
This Heartland clip is the perfect complement to the extended threaded discussion BRAD BLOG commenter Big Dan has been leading on corporatism and the media. In this short segment, host John Kasich uses the new home of Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards as the pretext for attacking his two Americas campaign. Surprisingly, Kasich doesn't disagree with Edwards that two Americas exist and even calls Edwards an expert on the subject. The problem, as Kasich sees it, is that Edwards speaks of the great wealth divide when he should use his "sunny disposition" and own experience to "celebrate" all the opportunities afforded Americans. With "some elbow grease and a little ingenuity" even the "John Edwards dream" is possible!***
And that is as simple and clear a delineation of the two sides battling for America that one is likely to get in a 1:37 clip. In the red, white and blue, and incessantly patriotic corner, are Fox News, giant corporations and the super rich that own them. The masses, according to this corner and as articulated by Kasich, should just accept their lot in life without complaint yet remain motivated by the unlikely prospect of striking gold. In the other corner is John Edwards and others not controlled by the vast corporate system that has engulfed society. They are fighting incredible odds to try to revive the principle of equal opportunity for all Americans as well as adopt more equitable economic policies necessary to maintain a healthy democracy.
Which side are you on?
***This is not a guarantee and we make no claim as to the veracity of this statement. By law we are required to state that the odds of this occurring, even with "elbow grease" and "ingenuity," are less than the chances of George W. Bush telling the truth on any subject. This does not minimize the point, however, that the John Edwards dream is real and can happen to you. And that is what America is all about.
In a harshly worded fund raising letter sent to members of John Edwards's 2008 presidential campaign e-mail list late this afternoon, his new Campaign Manager, former Congressman David Bonior (D-MI), holds little back in his sharp criticism of both George W. Bush and Democratic members of Congress for their Iraq War policies and politics. (Email posted in full at end of this article.)
The email --- with the eye-popping, if impolitic, subject line "Total Bull" --- first takes aim at Bush's recent pronouncements, as reported by U.S. News and World Report and elsewhere after Bush's appearance on CBS' 60 Minutes last Sunday, "that Congress does not have the power to stop his proposed escalation of the war in Iraq."
"That's bull," Bonior writes before going on in the email to criticize his former Democratic colleagues in Congress, taking them to task for their failure to "step up to the plate and use their power to stop the president from escalating the war."
"I can assure you that Congress does have the power to stop this escalation," says the 26-year former Congressman.
"Some [in Congress] are calling for symbolic statements that do nothing to stop the escalation," he writes. "If you hear a member of Congress say 'non-binding resolution,' then you're really hearing them say 'pass the buck.'"
"And some members of Congress are waiting for --- well, we don't know what they're waiting for."
Citing Edwards's position "calling on Congress to stand up and take responsibility by using its power to prevent this war from getting any worse," Bonior goes on to announce the campaign's plan to run a full page ad in Roll Call, with a petition against the escalation and the "tens of thousands" of signatures from supporters who've signed it. The e-mail asks supporters to contribute money as well towards purchase of the ad.
Edwards's short petition, which can be signed here, calls on Congress to block funding for Bush's escalation plan. It reads in full:
I am opposed to President Bush's plan to send additional troops to Iraq. Congress must act now to block funding of Bush's escalation of the war — and demand that the President provide a plan to leave Iraq.
LATE RELATED-ISH UPDATE:First Zogby poll out of Iowa shows Edwards leading the Dem pack with 27%. Far ahead of "second tier dog-fight" between Obama, Hillary, and home state Gov. Vilsack. No big surprises on the Republican side with McCain and Giuliani duking it out, though Newt coming in an eyebrow-raisingly close third place. (Thanks reader TC for the tip.)
The e-mail sent to supporters via the JohnEdwards.com mailing list follows in full below...
George Stephanopoulos interviewed 2004 Vice Presidential candidate John Edwards on Sunday's edition of ABC ThisWeek.
Edwards repeated his charge that President Bush is "the worst President of our lifetime." He also condemned Bush and Cheney for doing serious damage to the country. From foreign policy to domestic policy, Edwards said that it "will take us forever to recover" from the Bush Administration. The former V.P candidate also blasted breaking the law and ignoring the Constitution to spy on Americans.
Edwards:I think what's more important than all of that is watching what her father, the Vice President of the United States, has done to this country. It is not an accident that he's unbelievable poorly thought of. I can't remember what his last poll numbers were but they're like in the teens... There's a reason for that. I mean, he is --- if not the principal --- architect of this disaster in Iraq. He put us on an energy path that the American people are paying an enormous price for right now. He paid little or no attention to making sure the government was prepared to respond to the type of disaster that hit our Gulf Coast. We've got a healthcare crisis going on and he's had no proposal of any kind, that I know of. And people don't trust him anymore which is understandable. I wouldn't trust him.
Stephanopoulos: You've also said that his boss, the President, is "the worst president of our lifetime".
Stephanopoulos: Worse than Richard Nixon?
Edwards: Absolutely. Absolutely.
Stephanopoulos: What has President Bush done that is worse than the crimes and the cover-ups of Watergate.
Edwards: Well he's done a variety of things. Things that are going to take us forever to recover from. I think we can recover from them but the damage done to the way America is viewed in the World. The lack of respect for American in the World. What the ongoing conflict in Iraq is doing to America's image. His response to this hurricane on the Gulf Coast which I think is part of a pattern of incompetence.
Stephanopoulos: But if he's worse than Richard Nixon, should President Bush be impeached?
Edwards: I think that the way to deal with this is we need a Democratic President in the next election. I think the damage this President has done --- and I didn't get through the whole list. For example, leading an effort --- an illegal effort, I think it's absolutely clear that it's illegal --- effort to spy on Americans, completely ignoring the law and the Constitution. The President knew and his advisor knew...
Stephanopoulos: He says that he has the authority under the Constitution. Article Two of the Constitution.
Edwards: He is wrong. He is wrong. It is the reason we have a separation of powers in this country. Congress had enacted a [FISA] law that told the President exactly what he was supposed to do and he just ignored it. He intentionally ignored it. If there was any question about this, the least they should have done is to go to Congress and try to get the law changed. Should we be monitoring al-Qaeda? Absolutely. It is necessary to keep this country safe but we can do it under the law and the President is not above the law...