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Mel Martinez' memo exploiting Terri Schiavo a big joke to Fox "All-stars"

Reported by Chrish - April 7, 2005

The "All-Stars" segment on Special Report today 4/7/05 featured conservative Brit Hume hosting, neo-conservative Bill Kristol, ultra-conservative Charles Krauthammer, and moderate Juan Williams. Guess whose side was defended in "Memogate - the sequel" featuring Republican Mel Martinez and co-starring Democrat Tom Harkin?

On Fox News Sunday March 20 Florida Sen. Mel Martinez denied to Chris Wallace that he was responsible for the memo ( typed on plain paper, no letterhead, no signature) that had "talking points" for Republican Senators to use in the politicization of the Terri Schiavo case. MM said he rejected them and had never seen them before that day.

Today it was made known that the memo originated from his office and Brian Darling, a lawyer who worked in his office was "dismissed...allowed to resign" (Brit Hume's inadvertant truth) for writing the memo. In April Martinez handed a copy of the memo from his pocket to Democrat Senator Tom Harkin (who was "a perceived ally in the Schiavo case"; Brian Kincaid AIM) on the Senate floor yet claimed he didn't know what was in the memo. Harkin then exposed the memo to the media and other Democrat Senators.

Bill Kristol first minimizes the memo, as a memo from a staffer to his boss, is that not allowed anymore? He makes the case that there's no evidence it was widely distributed, and says "Martinez should be more careful about who he gives pieces of paper to" and Brit chuckles, maybe he ought to read them first.

Juan Williams says Brian Darling was General Counsel to...Brit interrupts "was counsel to Delay"...Juan says, "no, to Mel Martinez"...and Brit says, "excuse me, Martinez." (Comment: Inadvertant truth #2! Oops, Brian Darling IS connected to Tom Delay !) Juan doesn't know or doesn't pick up on it and continues on to make the point, essentially, that the conservative blogosphere made accusations that Democrats had crafted the memo and framed the Republicans into looking like they were politicizing Terri's situation.

Charles Krauthammer made light of the situation comparing it to an Inspector Clousseau comedy; Mel Martinez launched an investigation to see how the memo got into his lapel. CK says most people, including Senators, have sovereignity over their clothing. He says Martinez is guilty of unbelievable lack of political intelligence. You don't give someone a memo you haven't read and you don't hand it to political opposition who then betrays you, leaks it.

Juan asks why is it a betrayal on Harkin's part? Shouldn't the person who authored it and didn't own up to it be so accused? Charles intimates that Harkin could have (given it back? not said anything?) not used it politically. (Comment - wouldn't THAT be unbelievable lack of political intelligence?)

Juan Williams stumbled when questioned by Bill Kristol and Brit Hume about why would Tom Harkin be given this memo, and Brit Hume got him to say that he didn't think Martinez knew what was in the note, then corrected to say that he believed Martinez had read it but Juan thinks Martinez didn't realize what the specific piece of paper he was handing Harkin was. He may have thought it was a broader brush stand on morality statement ...or "some other document entirely, which is what he claims" says Brit.

Kristol cracks a joke about the level of care and itelligence with which our elected officials go about their business, and Charles wraps it up with "In trying to understand why Martinez did this you've got to choose between stupidity and mendacity. Generally speaking in Washington it's stupidity."

Har, har, har, We all laugh and dismiss this silly incident of cynical exploitation of private end-of-life matters, partisan posturing, and false accusations against Democrats and the so-called liberal media.

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