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October 4, 2006
Patty Wetterling Overplays Her Hand

Patty Wetterling has done few things right in her latest campaign to win a seat in Congress. She seriously misrepresented Michele Bachmann's position on taxes this past weekend in an ad so poor that even the Star Tribune noticed. The Mark Foley scandal seemed tailor-made to Wetterling' she made her name as a tireless advocate for missing and exploited children after the tragic loss of her own child in the 1990s. She could have been expected to contrast Foley's now-suspect interest in the subject with her own bona fides, leveraging that track record to scold the Republican leadership for not protecting the teenaged pages on Capitol Hill.

Unfortunately, she has managed to remind voters of her ongoing problems with the truth. After posting a tough but largely accurate statement on her site yesterday, Wetterling fabricated details for her latest television and radio ads:

It shocks the conscience. Congressional leaders have admitted to covering up the predatory behavior of a congressman who used the internet to molest children.

I've been no silent supporter of the Republicans in this scandal, but Wetterling flat-out lies about the case in this ad. In the first place, no one has accused Foley of molestation. He stands accused of harassment and of inappropriate communications with teenagers. Perhaps he would have engaged in illegal sexual contact had he gotten the opportunity, and maybe he did and no one has come forward to speak about it. At this time, though, no one has alleged any molestation.

Wetterling also includes a strange statement about supposed Republican admissions of wrongdoing. No Republican leader has admitted to covering up anything about this case, contrary to Wetterling's accusation. Denny Hastert, John Boehner, and Thomas Reynolds all claim that they addressed the situation with Foley and did not think that there was anything to cover up. One can accuse them of incompetence or of attempting to cover it up, but no one can state that GOP leaders have admitted to either one.

The Democrats have an opening to exploit in this scandal. Wetterling shows exactly how they will inevitably overplay it, stretching embarassments into lies and speculation into smears. She has an understandable motivation to act in defense of children and teenagers, but in this case she has shamelessly exploited it to spread lies.

See also Power Line, Hugh Hewitt, and Jim Geraghty.

UPDATE: And maybe not a child, either, at least in the case of the IMs. That removes the scandal from the realm of the illegal, at least for the moment, but not from the overall onus of his behavior.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at October 4, 2006 8:21 AM

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I personally haven’t heard anyone admit to a cover up nor have I heard of any molestation that occurred as a result of Foley’s internet messages. The Washington Post notes that the FBI is in a legal gray area on the circumstances surrounding this c... [Read More]

Tracked on October 4, 2006 9:43 PM


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