Resignation Of Campaign Legal Adviser Seen As Tough Break For Bush Camp
Network newscasts yesterday gave extensive coverage to what ABC World News Tonight called "a very high-profile resignation from the Bush campaign. Election lawyer, Benjamin Ginsburg stepped down after acknowledging he had been quietly advising the Swift Boat Veterans." ABC added that "this latest twist in the swift boat vets saga has thrown the Bush campaign on the defensive." NBC Nightly News, meanwhile, called the controversy "new fuel for the Kerry charge that the Bush campaign was behind the Swift Boat ads." The Financial Times says this morning that Ginsberg's resignation "exposes a vulnerability for Mr Bush, reinforcing suspicions that the Swift Boat Veterans have been working with the Bush campaign's blessing." According to the New York Times, Republicans, "who only a few days ago were saying that the Swift boat controversy was a problem for Mr. Kerry's campaign because it raised questions about Mr. Kerry's war credentials, began to say Wednesday that the issue was not helpful for Mr. Bush." The Wall Street Journal says Ginsberg's resignation "dealt a political setback to the president."
Kerry Aides Take Cue From NYTimes Article, Denounce "Web Of Connections."
In their response to Ginsberg's resignation, the Kerry camp chose to use language lifted from a New York Times article published last Friday, which said there were "webs of connections" between the Swift Veterans, President Bush and his advisor Karl Rove. This morning, USA Today quotes Mary Beth Cahill, Kerry's campaign manager, as saying, "The sudden resignation of Bush's top lawyer doesn't end the extensive web of connections between George Bush and the group trying to smear John Kerry's military record. . . . In fact, it only confirms the extent of those connections." On CNN's Inside Politics, Kerry campaign strategist Tad Devine said, "There is a web of connections here which is growing by the hour. And until the president does the right thing, stand up and tell the American people that these ads are dishonest and dishonorable, he'll be failing on his obligations as commander in chief."
Dingell Asks DOJ To Probe "Illegal Coordination" Between Swift Boat Group, Bush.
The AP reported late last night that a senior House Democrat, Michigan Rep. John Dingell. "sent a letter asking Attorney General John Ashcroft to investigate the possible 'illegal coordination' between the two. The Bush campaign and the veterans group have denied any coordination. "
Bush Officials Deny There Was Coordination, Point To Kerry Lawyers Advising 527s.
Bush advisor Karl Rove appeared on Fox News' Special Report last night, where he said, "No one in the Bush campaign has coordinated with the Swift Boat Veterans. Ben Ginsberg. . .was our outside counsel and also outside counsel to the 527 group. That's normal. The legal counsel for the Kerry campaign is counsel to 527 groups there. The DNC legal counsel is the legal counsel for MoveOn.org, as well. They're fulfilling a legal function; they're not political consultants." The Washington Post reports, "Bush campaign officials charged that Kerry's campaign has been advised by lawyer Robert F. Bauer, who also represents several of the Democrats' biggest 527 organizations, and said that DNC counsel Joseph E. Sandler also acts as the attorney for MoveOn.org."