Wednesday, March 05, 2008
On this day:

Dumbest news story of the day, courtesy of the Democratic National Committee

Monday, John McCain announced that Alabama Governor Bob Riley had endorsed him for President. On Tuesday, the Democratic National Committee claimed that Riley's endorsement was "payback" for a political favor McCain allegedly performed for the Governor as a U.S. Senator.

From today's Birmingham News:

The presidential race revisited Alabama on Tuesday when the Democratic National Committee charged that Gov. Bob Riley's endorsement of Sen. John McCain amounted to payback for McCain withholding information that would have linked Riley to a now-jailed lobbyist.

Riley endorsed the Arizona senator and presumptive GOP presidential nominee on Monday. On Tuesday, the DNC charged the endorsement was a reward for McCain's having withheld an e-mail discovered during a Senate investigation by a committee McCain led. The e-mail would have tied Riley to lobbyist Jack Abramoff, the DNC said.

Abramoff is serving time for defrauding Indian gaming clients out of millions of dollars. McCain's Senate hearings have been credited with uncovering some of that fraud. McCain has used his role in the investigation to show he is a maverick who will fight special interests, even those aligned with the GOP if they do wrong.

But the DNC said that perception is part of the myth of McCain, and to debunk it they have been sending out "myth-busters" like the one Tuesday.

"Though John McCain has repeatedly claimed he took on Jack Abramoff and the Republican culture of corruption, a recent story revealed that McCain covered for his friend, Alabama Governor Bob Riley, who was fighting a tight re-election battle at the time, by refusing to release key evidence that would have linked Riley to the Abramoff scandal. Yesterday, Riley returned the favor by endorsing McCain," the press release stated.

Hmmm. McCain is now the presumptive Republican nominee for President; his defeat of Mike Huckabee in Tuesday's primaries made that a done deal. Could it be that Riley endorsed McCain for the simple reason that McCain will be the Republican standard-bearer this November? If Riley had intended to return a favor of the sort alleged by the DNC, then why wouldn't he have endorsed McCain sooner, perhaps late last year when the Republican race was still competitive? As it stands, Riley's late endorsement is the closest thing to a non-endorsement that you can get, at least as far as Republican party politics are concerned.

I'll give the DNC credit for one thing, though. They managed to get the Abramoff story into the news for a day or two. Just like they intended.