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The news gets worse by the hour for John Kerry as his new campaign advisor, Joe Lockhart, admitted that CBS asked him to contact Bill Burkett regarding the National Guard story:
At the behest of CBS, an adviser to John Kerry said he talked to a central figure in the controversy over President Bush's National Guard service shortly before disputed documents were released. ...
Lockhart said [CBS producer Mary] Mapes asked him the weekend before the story broke to call Burkett. "She basically said there's a guy who is being helpful on the story who wants to talk to you," Lockhart said, adding that it was common knowledge that CBS was working on a story raising questions about Bush's Guard service. Mapes told him there were some records "that might move the story forward. She didn't tell me what they said."
First, let's consider the obvious. We now have CBS personnel pimping their sources to the Kerry campaign in order to do what -- coordinate the smear piece with timely attacks from leading Democrats? If you'll recall, a number of people commented on how quickly Democrats such as Tom Harkin and Terry McAuliffe seemed to get a grasp on the material. Now it appears that Lockhart gave them all a head start ... with a huge assist from CBS.
So now we can consider CBS an adjunct of the Democratic Party. If you think that's hyperbole, can you envision any scenario in which a CBS producer would give a heads-up to Ken Mehlman or Matthew Dowd on a promising oppo source? CBS talks about credibility and independence, but this episode shows clearly that they are nothing more than partisan shills for the Democrats.
For this alone, the entire management staff at CBS News should get the heave-ho, along with Mapes and Rather. Such a level of coordination between a major broadcaster and one political party is unprecedented.
But looking beyond the obvious, the fact that CBS went to Joe Lockhart -- who had just joined the campaign -- is intriguing, in all senses of the word. Lockhart came to Kerry via his long association with the Clintons, part of the new team of advisors that Democrats urged Kerry to invite aboard to re-energize his campaign. Democrats hoped for more of the Clinton magic. Instead, Kerry got the Clinton sleaze, and that may just be the start of it.
Kerry was asked earlier about the Clintonistas joining his campaign, and he laughed off suggestions that they may sabotage his candidacy to ensure a clear field for Hillary in 2008. Lockhart may just be imcompetent, but I'll bet Kerry isn't laughing now. Lockhart calling Burkett may be the stupidest move ever by a senior campaign advisor -- or the stupidest since Sandy Berger stuffed top-secret documents in his jacket and in his socks to sneak them out of the National Archive.
And come to think of it -- Berger's a Clintonista, too ...
UPDATE: Michael Moore tries cheering up the demoralized Kerry supporters, or what's left of them, by reminding them that Kerry has embraced Clinton's team. Talk about being behind the news cycle!
UPDATE II: Kevin at Wizbang -- one of my RNC cohorts -- suggests who Burkett claimed as his source when dealing with CBS. I don't see why that would make for an "unimpeachable" source, but who knows; maybe it does in CBS World.Sphere It View blog reactions
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