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vt.Buzz ~ a political blog

Political notes from Free Press staff writers Terri Hallenbeck, Sam Hemingway and Nancy Remsen



Daggers drawn

Hasn’t there been anything else going on? "anonymous" queries. Why, yes, anonymous, there have been a few things. Perhaps even a few things too many. So we have fallen slack in our blogging.

We are awash in abundant signs that the political daggers have been drawn, and they are sharp. Here's a sampling of recent examples:

Monday, after the story broke that a campaign staffer for Martha Rainville had plagiarized policy statements, it didn’t take long before Vermont Republican Party Chairman Jim Barnett sent out a statement chronicling how a letter from Democratic Party Chairman Ian Carleton to President Bush contained wording that mirrored Democratic National Committee talking points.

Democratic Party spokesman Bill Lofy responded that a party official taking talking points from his own party is different than lifting another candidate’s words. As we spoke, Lofy hauled out a 1992 newspaper article in which Republican U.S. Senate candidate Jim Douglas made the same argument when he was accused of using another Republican candidate policy points.

Barnett, surprisingly, did not have a copy of the 1992 article within arms length, but guessed – correctly – that in it, Democrats were the ones accusing Douglas of copying those points.

Fast forward to Thursday. Democrat Peter Welch’s campaign announced that Rep. John Murtha will be visiting Vermont next week. Within hours, Barnett sent out an alert calling on Welch to answer questions about Murtha since the release of a 1980 video, as written about in a recent "American Spectator" article and discussed on Fox’s Hannity & Colmes. Murtha was investigated as part of the Abscam bribery scandal and never charged.

According to Fox’s Web site, Murtha’s response was: "This is nothing but a political stunt designed to distract attention away from the message that we must change the direction of the war in Iraq. I am the guy that didn't take the money. I have been re-elected to Congress 13 times since this tape was made 25 years ago. I will not be distracted."

So tell us, dear bloggists. Are these distractions? Are they points well made? Or what?

— Terri Hallenbeck

Even on her revised web-site, Martha Rainville is still using plagiarized policy statements. Her new web site says:

"Too often when people switch jobs their health insurance isn't portable, forcing them to change doctors and coverage or lose it entirely"

Rick O'Donnel's Web site says:

"People switch jobs but their health insurance isn't portable, forcing them to change doctors and coverage or lose it entirely."

Martha Rainville doesn't understand healthcare. She copied somebody else's policy.
Oh please! Stop this foolishness. No has original ideas anymore in Congress. Any originality is stomped out like a small brushfire by leadership of both parties. The last original idea I heard being bandied about was the flat rate tax, and we all know how far that got. Genius is not required for being a leader in this country, so let's not expect candidates to be sharp enough to think up their own ideas.
Congressman may not have original ideas, but they should use their own words when describing their policies.

Martha has such a small understanding of healthcare policy that somebody had to write the entire policy statement for her. She is clueless.
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