Daniel Schulman

Senior Editor

Based in DC, Dan covers politics and national security. His work has appeared in the Boston Globe Magazine, the Village Voice, the Columbia Journalism Review, and other publications. He is the author of a forthcoming biography of the Koch family, Sons of Wichita, which will be published in May by the Hachette Book Group. Email him at dschulman (at) motherjones.com.

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GOP Strategy in Maryland: Pretend You're a Dem

| Tue Nov. 7, 2006 7:28 PM PST

Now this is truly bizarre. In Maryland, where I spent most of the day reporting on technical snafus with the state's electronic voting system, the GOP was handing out campaign literature that listed Maryland Governor Bob Ehrlich, who's running for reelection, and Lt. Governor Michael Steele, who's running against Ben Cardin for an open Senate seat, as Democrats. "The intent could not be clearer: to confuse those looking to vote a straight Democratic ticket," the Washington Monthly reports. It gets stranger from here:

I talked to the man who handed me the pamphlet. A thirty-something African-American who wouldn't give his name, he told me that, starting last Friday, some people had come to the Philadelphia homeless shelter where he said he volunteers, and had begun to recruit residents. Eventually, he said that 300 people filled five buses. He said he was paid $100 for the day's work.

And this just in from the AP:

Governor Ehrlich's campaign is acknowledging that it paid for fliers handed out on Election Day, suggesting Ehrlich and Michael Steele are Democrats.

I guess desperate times call for desperate measures.

UPDATE: As Clara notes below, it looks like Steele's Senate bid was unsuccessful.

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Hostettler's Out in Indiana

| Tue Nov. 7, 2006 7:03 PM PST

Roll Call reports that John Hostettler, the Indiana Republican, has been unseated by Brad Ellsworth, a county sheriff. A handful of other Republican incumbents in Indiana could share Hostettler's fate, among them Mike Sodrel, Anne Northrup, and Chris Chocola. Stay tuned.

Massachusetts Elects its First Black Governor

| Tue Nov. 7, 2006 6:47 PM PST

Deval Patrick, a former Clinton administration official, has just been declared the winner of Massachusetts' widely watched gubernatorial race, becoming the first black governor in the state's history. Judging from the poll figures, he gave his opponent, Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey, a drubbing too.

More Coverage of Push Polling

| Mon Nov. 6, 2006 3:05 PM PST

The New York Times weighs in today on the GOP's push polling efforts in contested districts, noting this gem from a recent smear on Jon Tester, the Montana Democrat who's running against Conrad Burns: "Does the fact that Jon Tester says he would have voted against common-sense, pro-life judges like Samuel Alito and John Roberts, and Conrad Burns supported them, make you less favorable toward Jon Tester?"

According to the Times, ccAdvertising (a/k/a FreeEats.com), which I reported on recently, has been robo-calling on behalf of an attack group called Common Sense Ohio, which "was formed in July to run issue advertisements in the governor's race there, and it became involved in the Senate races in Maryland, Missouri, Montana, Ohio and Tennessee, and in the abortion referendum in South Dakota." FreeEats, which is chaired by Donald Hodel, a Reagan-era cabinet official and the former president of both the Christian Coalition and Focus on the Family, has also been working on behalf of the Economic Freedom Fund, a 527-committee bankrolled by Bob Perry (of Swift Boat Veterans fame).

The Times notes that "some experts question how much impact the calls will have amid the rest of the political fog, especially since some voters quickly get annoyed with the technique." Gabriel Joseph, the president of FreeEats, would beg to differ. As he told me, "When you make 3 ½ million phone calls a day, we generally talk to more people than watch television, listen to the radio, or read the newspaper combined."

Midnight Rider Terminates Iraq Reconstruction Watchdog

| Fri Nov. 3, 2006 8:41 AM PST

Secreted into a military authorization bill that was signed by the president two weeks ago is a provision that will shutter the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction effective October 1, 2007. The office, headed by former White House official Stuart W. Bowen Jr., was established in October 2004 to investigate the potential fraud and abuse of reconstruction funds. Since then it has filed one explosive report after another, revealing, most recently, that the military could not account for hundreds of thousands of weapons it provided to Iraqi security forces. Perhaps Bowen's agency did its job a little too well.

The New York Times reports:

Susan Collins, a Maine Republican who followed the bill closely as chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs, says that she still does not know how the provision made its way into what is called the conference report, which reconciles differences between House and Senate versions of a bill.

Neither the House nor the Senate version contained such a termination clause before the conference, all involved agree.

"It's truly a mystery to me," Ms. Collins said.

It's no longer a mystery. According to the Times, the provision was placed in the bill by Congressional staffers working for Duncan Hunter, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee (who recently announced he's running for president in 2008).

"I just can't see how one can look at this change without believing it's political," Rep. Henry Waxman told the Times.

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