THE BLOG
10/09/2006 07:42 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Did Carville and McCurry Sell Kerry Out?

by Taylor Marsh

Woodward's book lays it out pretty plainly. No one should be surprised.

One important point, however, is that people have started talking about the Carville - Matalin angle, but everyone stops there. If you read a bit further Mike McCurry comes into the picture. It seals the deal.

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Here's a story not in the Woodward book. According to one person I talked to today, who spoke on condition of anonymity, Joe Lockhart, in the middle of a heated presidential campaign, started making new business calls out of the Kerry war room giving out confidential campaign information while he was at it. Obviously trying to hedge his bets, he'd call out, give poll data and other info to people, while trying to drum up business for himself. Class act.

Frankly, it reminds me of what McCurry did on the Net Neutrality stuff.

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For DC Democrats it's all about keeping your candidates close, but your business associates and their interests closer.

As for what's said in the Woodward book, one Kerry camp insider I talked to today certainly wasn't surprised by the revelations.

"The fact that the Clintonistas did not truly have JK's best interest at heart in 2004 comes as no surprise to anyone deeply involved in the Kerry camp." - Kerry insider, who would not go on the record.

At some point it got out of control.

The DC Dems hired to fight for John Kerry simply sold him out at the first sign of a fight. Except for a loyal group closest to Kerry, many of the people in his employ simply sucked. I can't say it any plainer. Woodward offers more proof on what's been speculated about for a couple of years now.

But did Carville and McCurry really sell Kerry out? Playing stenographer, because this is important, I offer the whole picture, which goes way beyond Carville. It points to the reality that if our presidential candidate is going to win he or she has to extricate themselves from these self-interested traitors inside our own party who are willing to sell out the Democratic Party cause, which must be to fight and win elections, in support of their own interests.

It's important to hammer this scene out because we are facing a critical election in just a few weeks. Every single candidate must be prepared to stand up and fight back, because it takes more than just counting the vote against Republicans these days. As an aside, if you can vote through absentee ballot, which offers a paper trail that electronic voting does not, do it.

But when the end isn't certain there is only one thing to do: declare victory and fight it out.

It's clear Carville and McCurry had their eyes on something else entirely. With Democrats like Carville and McCurry helping us out on election night we hardly need Karl Rove.

After 1 a.m., Card called Cahill.

Cahill said the Kerry campaign felt confident.

Card was caught off guard. ... --Is there going to be a phone call?"

"We won't be calling you," Cahill replied. She seemed to be half asking whether Bush would be calling Kerry to concede.

(snip)

Matalin is married to James Carville, a Democrat who had been chief political strategist for Bill Clinton in 1992. ... ...

"Look, I know this is hard for you," she told him sympathetically.

Carville told her he had some inside news. The Kerry campaign was going to challenge the provisional ballots in Ohio--perhaps up to 250,000 of them. "I don't agree with it," Carville said. "I'm just telling you that's what they're talking about."

Matalin went to report to Cheney.

What? the vice president asked. ...

"You'd better tell the president," Cheney told her. ...

"They're going to contest it," Matalin said.

"What does that mean?" the president asked. He had his note cards with talking points in hand, ready to go over to the Reagan Building to declare victory.

Matalin said somebody in authority needed to get in touch with J. Kenneth Blackwell, the Republican secretary of state in Ohio, who would be in charge of any challenge to the provisional votes.

(snip) skip forward to page 347...

"I'm the president of the United States," Bush said fuming, "waiting on a secretary of state who is a nut." ... ...

Reports came in that the networks wanted to go off the air without calling the race for either candidate.

Rove shouted, "They can't go off the air!"

At 3:36 a.m., a very sensitive communication from the Kerry camp was relayed to Rove and Bartlett at the White House. Mike McCurry, Clinton's former White House press secretary and a last-minute addition to the Kerry campaign, had e-mailed Nicole Devenish, the Bush campaign communications director, an off-the-record congratulations, advising that the Bush team should not try to force a resolution now. Don't pressure Kerry, McCurry said. In the end, he believed Kerry would do the right thing.

Bartlett and others told Bush about the e-mail, summarizing the message as "We'll do the right thing at the right time." They could trust that McCurry would be in a position to know what the Kerry campaign was thinking, Bartlett said, but they had to be careful not to put too much stock in it. At least we know there are people in the Kerry camp giving rational advice, Bartlett said. ... ...

Card said they should declare victory. ... ... ...

STATE OF DENIAL, by Bob Woodward (pgs. 344-347)

If I get more on this I'll let you know.

- Taylor Marsh