Skip to comments.CASH AND KERRY Torricelli hops aboard the Kerry express (laugh break)
Posted on 02/07/2004 5:44:57 AM PST by Liz
Torricelli to Kerry: And They're Calling You 'Cash and Kerry?'
By Bill Pascoe
Date: February 6, 2004
Re: My Return, and How To Answer the Near-Certain Questions
Thanks for helping me get up off the mat and back in the game. As I told you, that $100K I've raised for you is just the tip of the iceberg -- there's plenty more where that came from, and yes, it's all from legal sources. Hell, I haven't even SEEN David Chang in years. JUST KIDDING!
All jokes aside, I'm just a bit worried that the news is now out. As you know, I've had some difficulties recently with the press -- especially that infernal PoliticsNJ site that seems to be able to break into my email better than Ashcroft's FBI agents armed with Patriot Act sneak and peek powers (and by the way, you did the right thing voting for that monstrosity -- no matter how bad it might be, you simply can't afford to get outflanked on the right on that "fighting terrorism" issue. About which, I've got some ideas for you, below). They ran a front-page story on their site yesterday detailing my return to the fundraising wars on your behalf, and then The Hotline picked it up, and that means it won't be long before John Solomon or Jonathan Salant at AP is on the trail. And you know what that means.
So I've taken the liberty of putting together some talking points for your communications team, just so they can have something in the can if/when the pressies come asking about your relationship with me. You've turned around your campaign largely on the basis of a new message -- fighting the special interests -- and, for some, at least, it might seem a bit hypocritical of you, shall we say, to be caught accepting money raised for you by the likes of me. So take a gander at these suggestions, and have them ready to go, just in case.
QUESTION: Senator Kerry, you've turned around your campaign largely by appropriating an outsider message used to great success earlier in the campaign cycle by Howard Dean and, to a lesser degree, John Edwards and Wesley Clark. But now you're reaching out to Bob Torricelli, the disgraced former Senator who retired from his reelection campaign when he realized the weight of his ethical lapses would doom any chance to win another term. Isn't that a bit hypocritical of you?
ANSWER: No, not at all. Bob Torricelli is a fine man. He was around here for a long time, you know, raised tens of millions of dollars from special interests while he was chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, helped elect a bunch of Democrats, and nobody ever batted an eye. You know, Jesse Unruh, the former speaker of the California Assembly, once said "Any member of this body who can't accept a lobbyist's contribution, eat a lobbyist's dinner, and then sleep with a lobbyist's woman, and then come in here the next day and vote against him, doesn't deserve to be here," and Bob, I think, is a perfect example of that ethos. I understand he ran into some hard times a while back -- who among us hasn't, under the spend-now, pay-later, jobs-be-damned attitude of the Bush Administration? -- but that's in the past. He's never been convicted of a crime to my knowledge, and I see no reason not to accept his help. When did we become such an unforgiving people?
QUESTION: How can you say he's a "fine man"? He was reprimanded by his colleagues on the Senate Select Committee on Ethics, a bipartisan committee that, at the time, was chaired by a Democrat, for his ethical lapses. The New York Times and other news outlets detailed his relationship with David Chang, a Korean businessman who says he put thousands of dollars in Torricelli's pockets in exchange for legislative favors, and who had receipts to back it up. Justice Department prosecutors wrote in a memo that every allegation Chang had made that could be checked out, checked out accurately.
ANSWER: David Chang is an admitted liar. (I know it might be tough, but stick with this one. The less said, the better. It worked for me. Kind of.)
QUESTION: But there's a video tape of Bob Torricelli approaching David Chang in a Fort Lee 7-11, after hours. Chang said that approach occurred at a time when Torricelli was threatening him, and Chang feared for his safety. Torricelli denied the meeting ever occurred, and then, when the video from the 7-11 security camera was released, said he had just stopped in there for milk on his way home, and didn't even know Chang was in the convenience store. Surely you don't believe that encounter was a coincidence?
ANSWER: I stop for milk on the way home all the time. You don't think I'm stupid enough to ask Teresa to get it, do you? Ketchup, maybe. Milk, never. (Note: "Ketchup" could be swapped out for, say, "condiments," if you think the reference is too awkward.)
QUESTION: Senator Kerry, one of the main charges you're making against the Bush Administration is that it hasn't done enough to protect us in the war on terrorism, and, more specifically, that intelligence-gathering under the Bush Administration has fallen short of its goal. But Bob Torricelli is the one man who, more than any other single individual in the country, is responsible for the gutting of our ability to gather intelligence from human sources -- his mid-1990s "Torricelli Principle," which declared that foreign intelligence assets of the United States had to be people of fine, upstanding character, made it extraordinarily difficult to penetrate terrorist cells. After all, you don't send a Chamber of Commerce type into an al Qaeda cell and expect him to bring back information; you expect him to wind up dead. To penetrate foreign terrorist cells, you have to use foreign terrorists. But the Torricelli Principle essentially forbade that. Any inconsistency there with your position?
ANSWER: Bob Torricelli is a fine man. I've never heard of this "Torricelli Principle" to which you refer. I've been kind of busy lately, you know. (They may come back and call it by its other name, the "Deutsch Rule," but you can still act as if you've never heard of it. Foreign policy is WAY too complicated for most folks. Trust me.)
QUESTION: Senator Kerry, you've made a great deal out of your attack on the so-called "special interests" AND your determination to protect America from terrorist attacks. But media reports indicate that Bob Torricelli was the number-one recipient of campaign funds raised by supporters of the Mujahedin e-Khalq, also known as the MEK, a foreign terrorist organization labeled as such by the U.S. Department of State (under President Bill Clinton, just FYI), in exchange for which Torricelli became their champion in the Congress, circulating "Dear Colleague" letters on their behalf in an effort to get the State Department to remove them from the list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations. This is an organization that was headquartered in Baghdad, funded by Saddam Hussein, which participated in the overthrow of the U.S. Embassy in Teheran in 1979, and which was responsible for the murders of at least six American citizens. How can you claim to be fighting to protect us from terrorism, when one of your fundraisers has already taken more than $100,000 from supporters of this terrorist organization?
ANSWER: Foreign policy is a special focus of mine. You know, I went to war, while the other guy flew practice National Guard missions protecting Texas from attacks by Oklahoma. I say, bring it on. (I particularly like the way you appropriated "bring it on," John!)
That should work for now. I expect that once they decide to come after you on my involvement, these will be the main lines of attack. If they come at you from other angles -- say, my stock flips (boy, were those fun!), or my reversal on extending the Claritin patent life just one day after getting a $50,000 contribution from the pharmaceutical company (Shering-Plough, by the way -- they used to be constituents of mine), or anything else -- just give me a ring.
In the meantime ... how can I get my hands on some of that Big Dig money? Got a number I can call at the American International Group?
(c) Copyright. All rights reserved. Bill Pascoe. 2004
Bill Pascoe has been committing politics professionally for more than two decades. He has worked with and for candidates for President (including working on every winning Republican campaign for President in the last quarter century), Governor, U.S. Senator, and U.S. Representative.
TORCH REPLIES "It all depends on what the meaning of "terrorist" is."
That little tid-bit will never make mainstream media..
Cash and Kerry
Chin implant (to look more like Abe Lincon)
Lip enlargement shots (to look more like John Kennedy).
Ex-N.J. Senator at Center of Donor Probe
By JOHN SOLOMON
Associated Press Writer
Feb 7, 12:15 AM EST
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Presidential Democratic hopeful John Kerry is letting former Sen. Robert Torricelli raise money for him less than two years after the Senate formally rebuked Torricelli for his actions with a political donor.
Torricelli, whose rising political career collapsed in 2002 after his fund raising became the subject of criminal and Senate investigations, said Friday he is not seeking a formal position in Kerry's campaign but has raised money for it.
"I have asked people to send in checks," Torricelli said in a phone interview. "I have raised some money for John. I have known him for many years and probably have contributed to most members of the Democratic caucus."
"I don't have role in the campaign nor am I seeking one," Torricelli said, saying he attended a meeting of fund-raisers with Kerry Thursday night in New York. "I am happily retired from political campaigns. But I certainly support his candidacy."
"John did a briefing last night with 150 people, made a brief appearance and thanked me for the help," he said. Torricelli said he did not know how much money in all he raised for Kerry because checks were still flowing in.
Kerry's campaign spokeswoman, Stephanie Cutter, said Friday the presidential Democratic hopeful was appreciative of Torricelli's help.
"John Kerry and Bob Torricelli served together in the Senate for many years," Cutter said. "Many of Kerry's current and former Senate colleagues are supporting his bid for the presidency with the united goal of defeating George Bush."
Cutter declined to address whether Torricelli's role conflicted with Kerry's message on the campaign trail that he has fought the taint of special interest money throughout his political career.
But Rep. Bill Pascrell, D-N.J., who is co-chairing Kerry's campaign effort in New Jersey, sought to put some distance between Torricelli and the campaign.
"What Bob Torricelli does is his business, but he has nothing to do officially with this campaign," Pascrell said.
Torricelli, once one of the Democrats' top fund-raisers for Senate candidates and a close ally of former President Clinton, dismissed any suggestion that his past problems with fund-raising will be used by rivals to attack Kerry.
"If that is the best criticism a man can come up with against John Kerry, then he is in remarkably good shape," Torricelli said.
Though Torricelli was investigated by a federal grand jury for his fund-raising ties, favors and gifts involving donor David Chang, he was never charged with any wrongdoing.
However, the Senate Ethics Committee in July 2002 sent a letter that "severely admonished" Torricelli for accepting improper gifts from Chang. Torricelli aired a television commercial apologizing for any missteps and denying he had knowingly broken any rules. But the public was mostly unforgiving, his political approval plummeted and he dropped his re-election bid.