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



Scrappy times

In the final days before the election things are turning scrappy.

A few examples of campaign fever:

- Gov. Jim Douglas said yesterday he pays personal expenses out of his own pocket. Democrat Gaye Symington took that to mean he pays campaign expenses out of his pocket and those should be listed on his campaign finance report and as a former secretary of state Douglas should know it. Nate Freeman is asking the AG to weigh in, a day after the AG turned him down on a related question.
Douglas campaign manager Dennise Casey says Douglas never meant that he pays campaign expenses out of his pocket. What he meant was if he called his son on the phone, he'd reimburse that, she said, but it doesn't happen often.
Still hanging in the balance is the issue of whether Douglas' campaign should reimburse the state for campaign travel expenses.

- Republican Secretary of State candidate Eugene Bifano will hold a press conference today to question whether a couple of people who are voting in Vermont but now live elsewhere should be allowed to vote here. Mark Shepard probably won't be among those he's talking about, but it's those sort of situations - the always-murky question of where does one really live.

- The Vermont GOP is accusing Symington of improperly collaborating with Democracy for America on campaign strategy and filed a complaint with the AG.

- Down in Florida, where my parents just arrived for the winter, my mother reports that one tennis group imploded over political differences. My mother is smart enough not to mix her tennis with politics, but apparently not everyone is. As a keen observer of humankind, I find this precious and would like to know if any of this sort of thing is going on around you.

Are there people who can't sit together in the company cafeteria anymore because they disagree about Sarah Palin? Will you be stuffing your mouth full of Halloween cupcakes to keep from responding in ways you might regret to your mother-in-law? Can people who disagree talk politics and still be friends, or even tennis partners?

- Terri Hallenbeck

The "Down in Florida" piece sounds like Rep. Peter Hunt's boycott of businesses that have a Republican lawn sign displayed...
this is a total flip-flop by douglas. now he says he pays out of his pocket when his campaign said for weeks that he doesn't and doesn't have to. VERY fishy. he's been nailed and he's scrambling.

the gop suit is such an obvious attempt to change the subject it's laughable.

the basic charge is: the democrats have volunteers! no fair!

jim's bleeding on this one and he's gonna get nasty.
Our emperor wears no clothes!

Sorry for the disgusting imagery. That's a sight only Dorothy should ever be put off by.
Douglas's story is changing every day.

Funny that he doesn't have any evidence to back up any of his claims.
It is pitiful that this is the biggest issue that is being addressed given all the real problems in the State.

Grow up and get serious. All you are doing is being distracted from the fact that neither of these boneheads has a real platform to talk about.

VT politics is sophomoric at best.
Peter Hunt is a great example! He can't even do business with a couple shops in his district because the stores' landlord is pro-Republican.
Douglas using taxpayer money to pay for his campaign isn't a real issue?

We don't have the money to properly fund the state police and Douglas is taking money for his own re-election.

He isn't working for Vermonters. He's working for himself.
The post above is right - these dust ups are just distractions from the lack of substance in these campaigns.
All Peter Hunt did while in office was compile a legislative cookbook!
And that Anthony Pollina has got such a resume in government - man, he has got it goin on.
Yeah, he sure knows how to lead the Milk Co!
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