Skip to comments.Gore aide's traffic jam story draws criticism
Posted on 02/07/2003 4:35:24 AM PST by RJCogburn
Former Vice President Al Gores Presidential campaign created a traffic jam to discourage supporters of former U.S. Sen. Bill Bradley, D-N.J., from voting in New Hampshires 2000 primary election, a Boston-area newsweekly said.
But state Democrats last night expressed disbelief at the report, originally published in the Boston Phoenix. The Phoenix, citing past comments from a high-level Gore operative who has ties to the Presidential campaign of U.S. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., said the campaign put together a convoy to snarl traffic on Interstate 93 on primary day.
The move was supposedly an attempt to discourage Bradley voters, in areas such as Bedford, from getting to the polls.
Some Democrats didnt find the situation amusing.
All I can say is, if this is true, its outrageous. It should never have happened, said Kathy Sullivan, the Democratic Partys state chairman. No one should try to make it difficult for anyone to vote. Thats just plain wrong, and theres no place for that in either party.
I dont get it. I just dont get it, Sullivan said. I read the story and I just sat here shaking my head.
Other Democrats largely dismissed the story.
When I read the story, it was the first I had ever heard of it. I certainly was not aware of such a thing, said state Rep. Raymond Buckley, D-Manchester, who worked for the Gore campaign on that day.
Buckley said that while there was a traffic jam on the highway, it was because Gore was going over to the polls in Bedford to greet voters. Furthermore, he said, the jam only lasted for about 10 to 20 minutes. And officials with the Kerry campaign also dismissed the story.
My assumption is that its an urban myth, and thats about it, said Ken Robinson, the manager of Kerrys New Hampshire campaign.
In its article, the Phoenix cited an account of election-day tactics reportedly given by Michael Whouley, a Gore campaign official, at a Harvard University symposium. It also said Whouleys comments were included in a volume published by the colleges Institute of Politics, at the John F. Kennedy School of Government.
According to the Phoenix, the Gore camps afternoon exit polls showed their man was losing to Bradley. Knowing that suburban independents were most attracted to Bradley, the paper said Gores team organized a caravan to slow traffic along the highway near Bedford and other Manchester suburbs. Meanwhile, the paper said, the Gore campaign ratcheted up its own get-out-the-vote efforts in Manchester and Nashua. Gore won the primary.
Whouley, whom Robinson described as an informal adviser to the Kerry campaign, could not be reached for comment last night.
But former Bradley supporters didnt think much of the supposed tactic.
I just cant believe it. Its kind of a silly thing to do, said Dan Callaghan, a then-Bradley supporter from Manchester.
I cant imagine that a traffic jam made enough of a difference for anyone, said former Democratic state Sen. Mark Fernald, who unsuccessfully ran for governor last year.
Where I come from, that is an admission that it happened.