WASHINGTON and DES MOINES, Iowa, April 16, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Jeb Bush's role in slow-walking the Bush v Gore recount is the "Elephant in the Room" for 2016, say national Democratic strategist and former Clinton White House staffer Robert Weiner, and policy analyst Daniel Wallace, in an article in today's The Des Moines Register. They contend that 2016 campaign media has ignored questions on Bush's role, documented in the article from phone logs and emails, in slow-walking the 2000 election recount, and suppressing Democratic votes earlier, until the election was stopped by the Supreme Court.
"The Florida governor's office in Tallahassee made 95 telephone calls to the George W. Bush presidential campaign, its advisors, lawyers and staffers during the 36-day recount period, records show," Weiner and Wallace point out in an article titled "Jeb Bush's Elephant in the Room: Role in Bush v. Gore Recount" published in the Des Moines Register on April 16. The authors demonstrate the true extent of Jeb Bush's hand in the infamous final-hours recount of the Florida vote in the 2000 Bush v Gore election.
Despite his staff at the time saying Bush "recused" himself from the events, the article also includes a telling email from Jeb Bush to future Chief Justice appointee by George W. Bush, John Roberts, thanking him for legal advice during the recount, a week before the Supreme Court decision to stop it. "Thank you for your time today. I really appreciate your input on my role in this unique and historic situation," he wrote. The email from December 6, 2000, was in the batch recently released by Bush operatives in the run-up to this year's presidential campaign.
Weiner, a former Clinton White House and congressional spokesman and senior staff member, and policy analyst Wallace say, "If Bush wants to run for the Presidency in 2016, he should answer questions about his involvement" including the phone calls and emails. They add that it's the media's responsibility to check Bush's statements – so far, "I don't have a clue" by him, and his spokesman's statement that Bush "recused" himself from involvement-- against the documentation now revealed.
The writers acknowledge the difficulties Bush will face simply from his last name and its associations with the economic crash and Iraq War during his brother's presidency, "issues that may have been handled very differently in a Gore presidency." However, they argue that "the media doesn't even mention what may be his biggest problem: his role and level of responsibility in Florida for taking the 2000 election from Gore, and the national repercussions."
The authors counter Bush communication director Katie Baur's comment that then-Governor Bush "recused himself from any involvement in what happened after Nov. 7," with the phone records obtained by the Los Angeles Times which include a call directly to Karl Rove and the fact that at least "10 of the calls came from an office number used primarily by Jeb Bush." The records cited by the authors show not only that at least one call "went to Karl Rove, his brother's campaign strategist." Others went to Clay Johnson, George W's chief of staff as well as other campaign staffers.
And yet, the authors point out, Bush's only comment on the phone calls has been "I have no clue." To that the authors respond with, "He had 'no clue' of what his own calls were about while his brother was on the cusp of winning or losing the Presidency?"
The authors also touch on suppression created in Florida voting and the recount overseen by Florida Secretary of State and chief state election officer, Katherine Harris, who the authors also point out was a co-chair of the George W. Bush campaign, "itself a likely conflict of interest for the state's top voting procedures official."
They say in the article, "Proper conversations between Bush and Catherine Harris would have been how to expedite the counting of the most voters possible. Improper conversations would have been how to stop counts in pro-Gore areas. Which were they?" they ask.
They add that "other questions need to be answered by Bush, which include:
- Who did Jeb call within the Bush camp, including Rove, to strategize before and during the recount, and what was discussed?
- Did he help suppress targeted votes before and during the recount?
- What instructions or guidance did Bush and Catherine Harris discuss concerning the slow walk in the election recount until the US Supreme Court finally said "enough?"
- How does he explain the email to John Roberts?
Weiner and Wallace also reference a report compiled by the United States Commission on Civil Rights, "Voting Irregularities in Florida During the 2000 Presidential Election." The federal report concluded that "overall lack of leadership in protecting voting rights was largely responsible for the broad array of problems in Florida during the 2000 election."
Issued June 8, 2001, the report accuses Florida election officials of "gross dereliction" and "injustice." Even though black voters represented only 11% of ballots cast, over half (54%) of the total "spoiled" ballots were cast by African-American voters.
Weiner and Wallace also cite U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Commissioner Victoria Wilson, who said, "There emerges a confluence of circumstances that indicates intimidation and harassment of the Florida voters."
"Current presidential voters including in the Iowa Caucuses deserve answers," write Weiner and Wallace. After all, they say, "The actions have impacted the economy and Iraq to this day."
The authors conclude that "Until Jeb confirms what he did (if anything) to slow walk the count and explains his phone calls with more than 'I have no clue,' there is reason for voters to question his role, and to factor that role into their voting this time around."
Robert Weiner, national Democratic strategist, is former spokesman for the Clinton White House and House Government Operations Committee and was senior staff for Congressmen John Conyers, Charles Rangel, Claude Pepper, Ed Koch, and a political aide to Sen. Ted Kennedy. Daniel Wallace is Policy Analyst for Robert Weiner Associates.
Contact: Bob Weiner or Daniel Wallace cell 202-306-1200 or office 301-283-0821 [email protected]
SOURCE Robert Weiner Associates