Coming out of their respective conventions, Barack Obama had a bounce in his step while Mitt Romney stumbled and Republicans were starting to pass the blame.
Polls show Obama leading in Ohio, Virginia, Colorado, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Iowa and Nevada. Florida’s tied. Rasmussen’s tracking poll has Obama at 50% and Romney at 45%. Gallup had Obama at 50% and Romney at 44%. Nate Silver says Obama has an 80% chance of winning the presidential election. Romney needs to win multiple states in which polls have never shown him leading in order to win the election. Obama can lose multiple states he won in 2008 — including Florida — and still win.
Romney’s campaign, you will no doubt be surprised to hear, disputes all of this. Romney pollster Neil Newhouse sent a memo out to the press (it’s also been posted on Romney’s campaign site) arguing that the Republican nominee has the president right where he wants him. Is this because of their “internals” or something else polling-related? Not really!
“While some voters will feel a bit of a sugar-high from the conventions, the basic structure of the race has not changed significantly. The reality of the Obama economy will reassert itself as the ultimate downfall of the Obama Presidency, and Mitt Romney will win this race,” Newhouse wrote.
“In his acceptance speech, President Obama did not offer any solutions for the millions of Americans unemployed or underemployed. But his convention speech was not the only big letdown to voters, as Americans also dealt with yet another dismal jobs report last week. President Obama is the only president in modern American history to stand before the American people asking for re-election with this many Americans struggling to find work. The key numbers in this election are the 43 straight months of 8% or higher unemployment, the 23 mln Americans struggling to find work, and the 47 mln Americans who are on food stamps.”
So it’s still the economy.
Here’s the extent of the polling data that the memo actually mentions: “Wisconsin is now in play,” one poll shows the race in New Mexico “closing,” and the Obama campaign is “laying the groundwork for a stealth withdrawal” from North Carolina. Those are not really the three crucial states this year. (Also, New Mexico still seems out of reach for Mr. Romney, barring an unexpected landslide.)
The memo also mentions “Historical Data,” by which they mean the 1980 election. “Political campaign historians will recall President Jimmy Carter led Ronald Reagan by a near double digit margin late in the fall in 1980,” Newhouse writes, although that’s not true. Reagan was polling ahead of Carter as early as the spring. The 1980 election remains a regular Romney campaign talking point, though, which is bizarre. I understand why the Republicans would like to pretend it’s 1980, but a 1980 election repeat requires not just a depressed economy and an out-of-touch liberal incumbent, but also an inspiring and likable challenger and — most important! — a major foreign crisis. Reagan didn’t just win on the strength of his debate performance. The Iranian hostage crisis basically sealed the deal. There’s nothing remotely equivalent sinking Obama. (Unless his apology tour emboldens our enemies, I guess? Still time for that to happen!) Furthermore, as John Sides says, in 1980 the GOP convention gave Reagan a huge lead that Carter never overcame — which, again, didn’t happen this time. (Includes report from Alex Pareen, Salon.com)
SPINNING FOR DOLLARS. Paul Krugman blogs at NYTimes.com (9/10) that the Romney camp may be spinning furiously in an attempt to deny that Obama is pulling away in the presidential race because Romney is trying to preserve his one big advantage: “a huge pile of cash,” which he might lose if his contributors start hedging their bets. “Much of this pile comes from committed right-wing zealots, like the Koch brothers. But a good chunk comes from business interests, Wall Street in particular, that historically try to buy influence with whoever they think will win. They like Romney better than Obama — he doesn’t look at them funny — but they’ve placed a very big bet on the Republicans this time compared with previous occasions, and they have to be feeling nervous,” Krugman wrote.
“If they come to the conclusion that they invested in a loser, they will try to cover their position by rushing a lot of cash to Obama in the final weeks of the campaign. And that will blunt the one big advantage Romney still has.
“So the Romney campaign has to do all it can to obscure and deny reality, lest perceptions that their candidate is a lemon turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy.”
REPUBS START EYEING LIFEBOATS. Mark Halperin, the keeper of the Conventional Wisdom in Washington, D.C., noted at Time.com (9/10) that Romney is facing some tough Electoral College reality as “key Republicans” are acknowledging that Romney is behind in Ohio and other must-win states. Obama outraised Romney in August and weak Romney and Paul Ryan answers in interviews on such topics as health care, the military and the budget had the Fox News Sunday roundtable (9/9) sounding “like a postmortem explaining a Romney loss,” Halperin wrote.
He noted that Romney still has the debates, millions and millions of dollars for TV ads and weeks of campaigning to try to turn things around. “But he faces the immediate threat of both quiet and loud we-told-you so’s from Republicans who last year had the very worries they fear are being manifested now. Romney is an awkward, unlikable candidate. The author of Romneycare is ill positioned to attack Obamacare. And Romney’s shifting positions make him an easy mark for an aggressive White House.”
MITT CAN’T GET BACK TO CENTER. Romney is having a hard time heading back to the center, as he seeks to appeal to independent voters. On Meet the Press (9/9) he said “there are a number of things that I like” about Obamacare and suggested he would retain 1) the guarantee that insurance companies couldn’t discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions and 2) the provision that allows young adults to stay on their parents’ plan. A few hours later, his campaign told the conservative National Review that Romney actually opposes those provisions of Obamacare: “In reference to how Romney would deal with those with preexisting conditions and young adults who want to remain on their parents’ plans, a Romney aide responded that there had been no change in Romney’s position and that ‘in a competitive environment, the marketplace will make available plans that include coverage for what there is demand for. He was not proposing a federal mandate to require insurance plans to offer those particular features.’”
RYAN TOUTED MILITARY CUTS HE NOW BLAMES ON OBAMA. During an appearance on Face the Nation on Sunday (9/9), Paul Ryan denied voting for military spending cuts, telling host Norah O’Donnell that he only supported the sequestration measures included in the Budget Control Act. The 2011 law provides for across-the-board automatic cuts to the federal budget amounting to $1.2 tln, including an estimated $492 bln from military spending. The reductions will go into effect on 1/2/13 if Congress does not offset them. On CBS, Ryan blamed the Obama administration for including $487 bln in cuts, but Nate Niemann noted at ThinkProgress.org (9/10) that in August 2011, while selling the law to conservatives, Ryan highlighted the very military savings he’s now trying to distance himself from. More than 200 House Republicans voted for the BCA and Ryan praised it profusely, saying that the law “represents a victory for those committed to controlling government spending and growing our economy.”
The previous day, Romney told NBC’s David Gregory it was “a big mistake” for Republican leaders (including his own running mate) to agree to the military budget cuts.
GOP’S LOST WEEKEND. If Romney loses the election, Joan Walsh wrote at Salon.com (9/11), it will be the weekend after the Democratic convention that did him in. “I want to take a moment to make sure we fully appreciate Romney-Ryan’s disastrous weekend,” Walsh wrote. “I focused on Romney’s own stunning flip-flop-flipping on Obamacare, in which he promised to keep the law’s ban on discrimination against people with preexisting medical conditions and a provision that lets young adults stay on their parents’ insurance plans – and then his campaign said he didn’t really mean it. But Paul Ryan’s performance on ABC’s This Week and CBS’s Face the Nation may have been more devastating, because it underscored the cost of the Romney campaign’s dishonest insistence on obscuring all facts about how he would govern. Pretending he doesn’t believe what we know he believes, Ryan looked like Sarah Palin during her Katie Couric interview, unable to point to policy specifics a Romney-Ryan administration would pursue.
“Republicans from Rupert Murdoch to Laura Ingraham are squawking about Romney’s empty suit strategy. But so are voters. In the latest Washington Post/ABC News poll, 63% of those polled say Romney hasn’t given enough information about what he’d do as president (only 31% said he’s revealed enough). And 48% believe he’s intentionally misleading people, compared with 43% who say he’s not.
“When Romney picked Ryan, some people (myself included) thought it might herald a clear ideological battle throughout the fall. The architect of the Ryan budget is a right-wing economic and culture warrior; he can turn from budget slashing to antiabortion extremism on a dime (hopefully, one that still says ‘In God We Trust.’) Now, I’ve never bought the line that Ryan was a Serious Intellectual. That’s the fiction spun by a Beltway media elite determined to ignore that the Republican Party has gone full-tilt crazy and obstructionist. They need Ryan to be a man of conservative principle and bold ideas, even if he’s not.
“Yet while Ryan may not be the Wise Man of his Beltway reputation, I’m quite sure he can handle an interview. But when confronted by CBS’s Norah O’Donnell and ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, he seemed shady and incompetent. When Stephanopoulos grilled Ryan on the details of Romney’s tax plans, he insisted now isn’t the time to get into details. He gulped. He blinked. He sighed. He gulped some more. He looked too small for his suit.”
She concluded, “I’ve never been a fan of choosing a president based on who you’d like to have a beer with, as the media did in 2000 with George W. Bush. And Ronald Reagan’s famous optimism seduced voters into backing an economic agenda that eroded the foundations of the middle class. But Obama’s trustworthiness and likability is proving to be a powerful advantage in a time when many voters are still worried about the economy and haven’t yet seen recovery. They don’t trust Romney and Ryan, and their fact-free, post-truth campaign is increasing their doubts, not reassuring them.
MITT BREEZES PAST 600 LIES AS RYAN JOINS ‘WAR ON FACTS.’ Paul Ryan, the House Budget chairman from Wisconsin, proved an apt running mate for Mitt Romney as Ryan’s speech at the Republican convention included at least half a dozen liberties with the facts, including blaming Obama for a plant closure that actually took place the month before Obama took office. That got Ryan the nickname “Lyin’ Ryan.”
It was too much even for Fox News, whose Sally Kohn wrote: “To anyone paying the slightest bit of attention to facts, Ryan’s speech was an apparent attempt to set the world record for the greatest number of blatant lies and misrepresentations slipped into a single political speech.”
But disregard for the truth seems to be standard operating procedure for the Romney-Ryan campaign whose pollster said the campaign is not concerned with being labeled false by independent fact-checkers. “Fact checkers come to this with their own sets of thoughts and beliefs, and we’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers,” Romney pollster Neil Newhouse said at a forum hosted by ABC News and Yahoo! News (8/28).
Ryan has a ways to go to catch up with Romney, who lays claim to the title of the most shameless liar in US politics — a considerable feat, given the competition. He spent several days out of the public eye during the Democratic National Convention, but he still told at least 16 lies during that week, Steve Benen reported in the 33rd installment of his “Chronicling Mitt’s Mendacity” series at Maddowblog.com (9/7). That brings the running total to at least 618 lies told by Romney since Benen started documenting the GOP presidential nominee’s departures from the truth in January. See http://on.msnbc.com/RU1YdE for Benen’s 9/7 edition, with links to previous installments. New ones are posted on Fridays.
With secretive corporate-funded “super PACs” as well as campaigns able to repeat these lies with advertisements despite the fact-checkers’ refutations, James Fallows of The Atlantic (8/29) sees the media moving into the “Post-Truth Age.”
MESSING WITH VOTERS IS PART OF GOP PLAN. As good as the pre-election polls look for Obama and the Democrats, the more Republicans dust off their playbook of dirty tricks. Demos, a progressive think tank, released a report, “Bullies at the Ballot Box” (9/10), that predicted an epidemic of voter challenges at the polls. “This, alas, is neither new — challenging Hispanic voters at the polls is how William Rehnquist got [his] start in politics — nor is it particularly surprising,” Charles Pierce noted at Esquire.com. “The new voter-suppression laws in several states are only half the plan. Some of the people whom you would not like to have voting this time around might arrange actually to get the new IDs. What is to be done then? The purpose of those laws is not to make voting merely inconvenient. It is also to make the voters whom the laws target nervous about moving through the various (government) steps required to comply. The solution to the problem of the braver voters who navigate the new landscape is either to knock them off the rolls through techniques like voter ‘caging,’ which we all became familiar with in Florida in 2000, or simply to get in their face at the polls and intimidate them directly.
There already have been dry runs. Demos reports several examples from previous elections, such as:
“... a new threat emerged in 2010 when an organized and well-funded Texas-based organization with defined partisan interests, the King Street Patriots, through its project True the Vote, was observed intimidating voters at multiple polling locations serving communities of color during early voting in Harris County. Members of this Tea Party-affiliated group reportedly interfered with voters — allegedly watching them vote, “hovering over” voters, blocking lines, and engaging in confrontational conversations with election workers. Under Texas law, poll watchers are not allowed to speak to a voter.
And: “In a 2011 special election in Massachusetts, a Tea Party group was reported to have harassed Latino voters and others at the polls in Southbridge, Massachusetts. The Southbridge town clerk protested these actions, reporting that targeted voters left saying, ‘I’ll never vote again,’ while a retired judge witnessed ‘citizens coming from their voting experience shaken or in tears.’”
Also: “In the June 2012 Wisconsin recall election, many students reported being challenged by True the Vote poll watchers, as the organization even mocked the students on Twitter. The Wisconsin Government Accountability Board issued a statement saying ‘in recent elections we have received disturbing reports and complaints about unacceptable, illegal behavior by observers. Voters expect a calm setting in which to exercise their right to vote.’”
The report includes a passage from a reporter who got into a True The Vote meting and heard an official of the organization tell the group: “... they should enjoy bullying liberals because they were doing God’s work. ‘Your opposition are cartoon characters. They are. They are fun to beat up. They are fun to humiliate,’ he intoned. ‘You are on the side of the angels. And these people are just frauds, charlatans and liars.’”
Pierce concluded: “I’ve been warning people for several months that there may be outright brawls at a number of polling places, which, at best, will be blamed on the terrible incivility in this country for which ‘both sides’ are responsible and which, at worst, will be said to demonstrate why Some People are unworthy of representative democracy. (The TV coverage of such episodes is likely to be nightmarishly ‘balanced.’ Expect to see a lot of that ‘intimidated’ woman happily chatting on her cellphone in Philadelphia while The New Black Panthers stand there in the foreground doing nothing.) Most poll workers are volunteers, many of them are elderly, and quite a few of them have only the most rudimentary training in what is and isn’t allowed at the polls. The treasurer of the local Kiwanis may be the person who has to keep order. The Demos report is something of a guideline for them, and for the voters whose rights may be infringed by organized hooliganism in the pay of corporate money. Be tough, but be smart, too. Like the kidz say, read the whole thing.”
Look for “Bullies at the Ballot Box” at demos.org.
POLL SHOWS BACHMANN IN PERIL. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) may be in more danger than most suspect, as a new poll (9/10) shows her lead cut down to just 2 points. Independent voters have swung against her by nearly 20 points in just two months, from a 4% advantage to a 15-point disadvantage in the internal poll conducted by Democratic pollsters Greenberg, Quinlan Rosner for Democratic challenger Jim Graves’ campaign, Alex Seitz-Wald reported at Salon.com. The poll which shows Bachmann leading Graves 48-46 percent, finds Graves gaining ground with independents as his name recognition grows.
GOP VOTERS CREDIT MITT WITH BIN LADEN KILL. Republican voters in Ohio and North Carolina are so out of touch with reality that a solid majority is least willing to consider that Mitt Romney deserves more credit for Osama bin Laden’s death than President Obama does. Public Policy Polling found Obama leading Romney 50-45 in its first post-convention poll in Ohio (9/9) but it also found that 15% of Republicans in Ohio think Romney is “more responsible” for bin Laden’s death than Obama, who actually ordered the attack on bin Laden’s compound, while 47% of Ohio Republicans were “not sure” whether Obama or Romney deserves more of the credit.
Rachel Maddow noted that a similar PPP survey in North Carolina, which found Obama leading Romney 49-48, in a virtual tie (9/10), also found 15% of Republican voters crediting Romney as “more responsible” for bin Laden’s death, while 59% said they were not sure.
DEMS FIGHTING FOR SENATE CONTROL. Things are looking up for Democratic hopes to keep control of the Senate, where they hold a 53-47 majority but Dems are defending 23 of the 33 seats up for election.
Progressive Democrats who are up for election this year include Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Ben Cardin of Maryland, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania and Shelton Whitehouse of Rhode Island as well as occasional populists Bill Nelson of Florida, Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Jon Tester of Montana, Bob Menendez of New Jersey, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Maria Cantwell of Washington (as well as progressive independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont) and centrists Dianne Feinstein of California, Tom Carper of Delaware and Joe Manchin of West Virginia.
The best Democratic pickup opportunities are in Massachusetts, where Elizabeth Warren, who electrified the Democratic convention with a populist speech challenging the banking industry, faces Sen. Scott Brown (R), who is playing down his ties to Wall Street; in Nevada, where Rep. Shelley Berkely, a progressive Dem from Las Vegas, hopes to unseat interim Sen. Dean Heller (R); and lndiana, where Rep. Joe Donnelly, a moderate Democrat, hopes the Tea Party ouster of veteran Sen. Richard Lugar (R) in favor of right-winger Richard Mourdock, will make the Democrat more attractive to independents and centrist Republicans. Republicans likely will lose a vote with the retirement of Olympia Snowe in Maine, but Angus King, the moderate independent former governor who is the odds-on favorite to succeed Snowe, has sent mixed signals as to which side he would caucus with.
Democrats also must replace seven retiring senators. In Connecticut, Rep. Chris Murphy, a progressive Dem, faces professional wrestling promoter Linda McMahon (R) for Joe Lieberman’s old seat; Rep. Mazie Hirono, a progressive Dem, faces Republican former Gov. Linda Lingle for the seat Daniel Akaka is giving up in Hawaii; former Sen. Bob Kerrey (D), a wild card who moved back after 12 years in New York to run for the seat Ben Nelson is giving up in Nebraska, faces Deb Fischer (R), a rancher and legislator from north central Nebraska who defeated the state’s attorney general and treasurer in the GOP primary; Rep. Martin Heinrich is a progressive Dem facing former Rep. Heather Wilson (R) in the race to succeed Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico; former state Attorney General Heidi Heitkamp (D) is running a strong campaign as a prairie progressive for the seat Kent Conrad is giving up in North Dakota; former Gov. Tim Kaine (D) stands a good chance of beating former Sen. George “Macaca” Allen Jr. (R) in the race to succeed Jim Webb in Virginia; and Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D) is a strong progressive candidate but faces former Gov. Tommy Thompson (R) in the seat Herb Kohl of Wisconsin is giving up.
TEXAS AG ENJOYS SUING FEDS. Texas Attorney General Gregg Abbot (R) has spent $2.58 mln in taxpayer money filing 24 lawsuits against the federal government, totaling around 14,000 in staff-hours to work the cases in what Abbott says is “a fight against the unprecedented ideology coming from the Obama Administration.” Many of those lawsuits have resulted in defeats, including the recent high-profile lawsuits defending Texas’ strict law requiring voters to show state-issued photo IDs at the polls and the new state-approved legislative and congressional districts that a federal appeals court ruled were discriminatory toward minorities. Those two cases alone cost more than $2 mln, according to records obtained by the Associated Press, but the meter is still running in those cases because Abbott said he will appeal them to the Supreme Court. AP’s Will Weissert reported that of 27 lawsuits Abbott has filed against the feds since he took office in 2002, including three against the administration of George W. Bush, Texas has lost 8, won 5 and had 2 dismissed. The other 12 are pending.
State Rep. Jessica Farrar (D-Houston), leader of the Texas House Democratic Caucus, noted that budget shortfalls have forced the state to cut billions from public schools and health programs and may spark a fight over reducing public employee pensions. “There’s not enough money for these things,” she said, “but there’s money to go toward lawsuits.”
JOBLESS RATE DOWN AS EMPLOYMENT RISES, BAD NEWS? The unemployment rate declined from 8.3% in July to 8.1% in August, with 96,000 jobs added last month, according to data out this morning from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. The improvement in the unemployment rate was due to workers dropping out of the labor force, not to an increase in employed workers, the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) noted.
Jobless rates for adult men stood at 7.6%; adult women, 7.3%; teenagers, 24.6%; white workers, 7.2%; African American workers, 14.1%; and Hispanics, 10.2% — all of these showed little or no change in August.
The percentage of workers who are unemployed, underemployed or have dropped out of the labor force decreased from 15% in July to 14.7% in August.
Although the number of jobs created in August is roughly what the nation needs to keep up with population growth, EPI economist Heidi Shierholz points out that “we need much faster job growth to meaningfully bring the unemployment rate down in a reasonable time frame. For example, we’d need to add around 350,000 jobs a month to get back to the pre-recession unemployment rate in three years.”
The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was little changed at 5 mln, and as Shierholz notes, “the persistent high unemployment is holding down wage growth—both hourly and weekly wages saw slight declines in August.”
The slow pace of jobs growth should be a sign — again — for Republicans in Congress to stop blocking legislation aimed to grow our economy. Republicans continue obstructing policies that will create jobs and restore growth while holding the middle class hostage to their demands for more tax cuts to benefit the richest 2% of Americans.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said, “We urgently need Congress to take decisive and bold action to create jobs on a scale that will make a difference. Yet Republicans in Congress have voted repeatedly to block key elements of President Obama’s American Jobs Act. Sadly, Republican intransigence has not been based on patriotic differences of opinion, but rather a brazen desire to make Obama a one-term president.” (Tula Connell, AFLCIO.org)
UNCOMFORTABLE TRUTHS FOR REPUBLICANS. William Spriggs, the chief economist at the AFL-CIO, noted at the labor federation’s blog that Republicans attack President Obama’s performance in reviving the economy but they succeeded in keeping George W. Bush’s tax cuts intact throughout Obama’s first term and the Democrats approved additional tax relief for small business. One-third of the cost of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (the stimulus act) was tax breaks, but while business investment is up and profits have rebounded, jobs have not come back to the 2007 level and the wage share of new income continues to fall.
“Oddly, the president has carried out, objectively, what Republicans want and clearly that set of policies is not enough. In fairness to President Obama, he made additional proposals that Republicans have blocked. Republicans refused to pass the portion of the American Jobs Act in which the president proposed to give states money to keep teachers in the classroom and police on the beat. While private-sector employment is now higher than in January 2009, when the president took office, public-sector employment continues to decline; and most disturbingly, with nearly 300,000 fewer in local schools.
“Were Republicans to defend their approach on the basis of the president’s record, then they would have to acknowledge that he has succeeded with 30 straight months of job growth in the private sector and a private-sector labor market that is better than four years ago. But, that is not the story they tell on the campaign stump ...”
Spriggs concluded, “Can Mitt Romney do better than President Obama with continuing the economic recovery? Not hardly. Of course if Republicans continue their obstructionism to block the broader agenda of President Obama to increase investment in America, then we will continue to have the ‘recovery’ Mitt Romney would deliver.”
BOYCOTT OF PALERMO’S PIZZA CONTINUES. After more than three months on strike, workers at Palermo’s Pizza and their supporters continue to put pressure on Costco, the largest retailer of Palermo’s products. Because of mounting public pressure and more than 50 actions at various Costco locations all over the country, Palermo’s CEO Giacomo Fallucca met with AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka (9/7) to begin a discussion to resolve this issue for workers and Palermo’s customers. But Fallucca is still refusing to meet with the organizing committee of the Palermo Workers Union, reinstate fired workers or recognize the union.
Workers from Palermo’s Pizza have been on strike since 6/1, protesting unfair labor practices. The workers are seeking union recognition and reinstatement after Palermo’s fired more than 75 workers. Many workers at Palermo’s face serious health hazards, have no sick days and make little more than the minimum wage. Jackie Tortora wrote at the AFL-CIO blog, “After more than three months of striking, Palermo’s workers are more energized than ever.”
TEXAS NURSES WIN UNION VICTORY. In a major win for nurses, patients and three Texas communities, registered nurses (RNs) in El Paso, Corpus Christi and Brownsville gave final approval to contracts yesterday in first-ever collective bargaining agreements, reports National Nurses United (NNU). The agreements improve working conditions for RNs, patient care standards and the quality of care at the four facilities. The contracts cover RNs at Corpus Christi Medical Center, two El Paso facilities (Las Palmas Medical Center and Del Sol Medical Center) and at the Valley Regional Medical Center in Brownsville. All are members of the National Nurses Organizing Committee (NNOC)-Texas/NNU. (Jackie Tortora, AFL-CIO.org, 9/6)
DON SIEGELMAN BACK IN PRISON. Don Siegelman, former Democratic governor of Alabama, was returned to federal prison (9/11) to serve nearly six more years in prison on charges that he took a $500,000 political contribution from health-care executive Richard Scrushy before reappointing Scrushy to a state medical commission. US District Judge Mark Fuller sentenced Siegelman to 78 months in prison, but gave him credit for nine months he had already served before a panel of judges on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta released him finding “substantial questions of law or fact likely to result in a reversal.” Later, a different panel, consisting entirely of Republicans, affirmed his conviction. Despite 113 former state attorneys general and constitutional law professors arguing that the law, as it was applied in his case, gives dangerous discretion to prosecutors to choose those whom they wish to silence, the Supreme Court would not take the case. Siegelman has filed another notice of appeal to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Siegelman’s daughter, Dana, has set up a petition at www.freedonsiegelman.org urging the President to free the former governor.
From The Progressive Populist, October 1, 2012
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