Today started with Howard Dean sending this letter to Ken Mehlman:
Yesterday, the AP ran a story entitled “Phone Jamming Records Point to White House.” This story provides new details about the role of the New Hampshire Republican Party in the phone-jamming scandal and raises serious questions as to whether the RNC and the White House were actively involved.
As you know, on Election Day, a telemarketer hired by the New Hampshire GOP jammed telephone lines at five state Democratic and one firefighters union get-out-the-vote phone banks. The AP noted yesterday that the “records show that Bush campaign operative James Tobin, who recently was convicted in the case, made two dozen calls to the White House within a three-day period around Election Day 2002 — as the phone jamming operation was finalized, carried out and then abruptly shut down.”
The AP story also stated that virtually all the calls to the White House went to the same number (202-456-6173) which currently rings inside the political affairs office. Although the White House declined today to say which staffer was assigned that phone number in 2002, you may be able to shed some light on the subject, as you were the White House Political Director during that time.
You have often spoken of the importance of making sure that every vote counts. In that spirit, we hope that you will take the necessary steps to clear up the lingering confusion surrounding the RNC and the White House’s role in this scandal by answering these questions:
— James Tobin called the White House two dozen times in three days. Whom was he calling? With whom did he speak? Whom did he work with in the office of political affairs?
— Tobin worked directly with Terry Nelson, who was then political director at the RNC. When will Mr. Nelson answer questions about his role in the scandal? Whom else at the RNC did Tobin work with?
— Did the White House authorize this phone jamming scheme and, if so, who specifically did so? Or was the phone jamming authorized by the RNC?
— Was anyone on the White House staff or at the RNC involved in concocting, authorizing, implementing or concealing this scheme?
The overt effort by the New Hampshire Republican Party to suppress the vote on Election Day in 2002 is unconscionable. The people of New Hampshire deserve an apology. And America deserves to know exactly how deeply the White House and the RNC were involved in the planning and execution of this scheme. We hope you will provide the answers we need so we can move forward together.
Governor Howard Dean, MD Chairman
Very good questions that do require answering. If you do not know about the link between the White House and the New Hampshire phone jamming scheme in 2002, check out this article.
Well Mehlman has now responded with this statement:
“As White House political director during the 2002 election cycle, my staff and I regularly communicated with competitive Congressional campaigns and Republican Party organizations. One of the most competitive was the Senate race in New Hampshire and throughout the election season and Election Day, Alicia Davis, my deputy responsible for the Northeast, frequently communicated with the New Hampshire State Party, the RNC and others.
“To be clear, none of my conversations nor the conversations of my staff, involved discussion of the phone-jamming incident. While I have profound policy disagreements with Chairman Dean, I have always tried to maintain what he and I discussed when we were first elected: keep it to the issues.”
Interesting that it isn’t even a direct response from Mehlman, but rather a released statement. True we have heard Republicans make all kinds of denials in the past. Here are a couple:
- “I will stay in this race and win in November” – Tom Delay about his re-election
- “If there is a leaker in my administration they will no longer be in my administration” – Bush about the CIA leak.
Yup – the Republicans have their great history of lying so I would expect this response from Mehlman is much the same.