Daily Kos
Political analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation

Thursday | September 26, 2002

Pie in Gangske's face

This is a good story:

On Monday, all hell broke loose in Iowa's tight Senate race, when the transcript of a Gangske strategy session was leaked to the press. Gangkse, the GOP challenger to Dem Sen. Tom Harkin, was caught bragging about how he would trash Harkin, but do so with a "smile on my face".

Gagske's campaign went on the immediate offensive, blaming Harkin's camp of a Watergate-style criminal act. The GOP demanded a criminal investigation, while the Democrats denied any involvement.

Tuesday, the Dems were caught in a bit of a bind, as Harkin's campaign admitted leaking the embarrassing transcript to the press. The Dems still insisted they had nothing to do with the taping, but things still looked bad for Harkin -- his camp had been caught in a lie. The story was making national news, and Gagske had new ammunition in the tightly contested race.

"A partial apology from one member of a conspiracy is not enough," the Ganske campaign declared in a statement issued late Monday night. "This was not a social faux pas. It is an apparent criminal felony."

Then yesterday, we got the punchline: the meeting was openly taped by a major GOP donor who had been invited to the meeting. From the (as yet unidentified) donor's statement:

In August, I received an invitation to attend what turned out to be a Ganske Fund Raising Event featuring Ken Mehlman as a speaker. I attended the event specifically to hear Mr. Mehlman. I knew that he was a senior political adviser to the President and I was very interested in hearing what he had to say. I had no idea that Congressman Ganske would be present. I assume I received the invitation because of my relationship with the Greater Des Moines Partnership. The mailing label was identical to those I receive from the Partnership. I have previously been a contributor to Congressman Ganske's campaign.

I was openly present and participating in the event. Rather than take notes of the presentation and discussions, I chose to tape-record them. Congressman Ganske arrived late and in his speech stated that, as for Senator Harkin; "You've never seen a campaign where anyone will attack him like we're going to attack him, with a smile on our face...." I was incensed by Congressman Ganske's attitude and provided the tape to a Harkin staffer.

So, the only conspiracy here was that a GOP donor, invited to the event, and openly taping the event, was so DISGUSTED BY GANGSKE that he kicked a transcript of the tape over to the Harkin campaign. How about that?

Update: The story keeps getting more curious. It turns out that the taper has ties to the Democrats after all. But, he was invited to the meeting, and if the meeting was openly taped, then Gangske's people still have nothing to complain about. And, it also turns out that rather than being a closed-door meeting of his closest supporters, Gangske's campaign had also invited some independents and Democrats. If one of their invitee's openly taped the meeting, then that's their problem. Of course, the message of the meeting ("we're going to attack with a smile on our face") seems to have been lost in all the craziness.

Posted September 26, 2002 10:48 AM | Comments (3)


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