The success with which Lieberman Attack Chicken Marion Slimefels has been able to distract the press from asking solid questions about the record of a sitting Senator during a re-election campaign has been rather impressive, I must say. Atilla the Hen has gotten very good at creating diversions to keep journalists from acknowledging the existence of the last six years, and that is no small feat.
While I was under the impression that the public is just a wee bit concerned about the pile of dead bodies and hundreds of billions of dollars in debt they’ve reaped as a result of Holy Joe’s handiwork, Slimefels has been very successful at twirling bright shiny objects in the face of Sue Haigh of the Associated Press and convincing her that the subject of Ned Lamont’s money is really the topic that the public hungers for. Since this is the first time a millionaire has ever run for public office — well, with the exception of all the other milionaires in the Senate, including Holy Joe himself — I doubt they find this wholly shocking.
Which is no doubt why Haigh let Slimefels bully her into pouring so much ink into the the story of Ned Lamont’s Halliburton stock . Many reported the story without checking as to whether Joe owned Halliburton too; it seemed the obvious question. We checked. He did. But then, somehow it became a burning issue for Haigh as to whether this stock (whose profits owe much to Joe Lieberman’s votes, and none at all to Ned’s) was purchased directly or through a managed fund. Yes, I know. Control your excitement:
Lieberman’s campaign continued to accuse Lamont of misleading the media about whether he holds between $15,000 and $50,000 direct stock in Halliburton, the Texas-based oil services conglomerate once led by Vice President Dick Cheney.
"Ned Lamont’s willingness to mislead the public about the fact that he owns tens of thousands of dollars in Halliburton stock is troubling," Steinfels said.
Lamont said earlier this month that the stock was part of a mutual fund, but his campaign later corrected the statement and said it was part of a managed stock account.
Swan said Friday that Halliburton is no longer part of that account.
So fine. The Lamont campaign gets Goldman Sachs to provide Haigh with a letter saying Ned’s money is in a managed fund, the purchases of which Ned does not direct, so Haigh can print a correction. Seems like a bit of a goat rope but they did it.
But Haigh doesn’t print a correction. Instead she prints:
The letter, signed by a Goldman, Sachs & Co. vice president, says the managed account is run by Goldman Sachs’ Quantitative Equity Group, which makes all investment decisions.
So that clears it up, right? Ned doesn’t make the decisions. Goldman Sachs does. Is this goat rope over?
Halliburton stock is no longer part of that fund, Lamont Campaign Manager Tom Swan said last week when Lamont released his 2005 tax returns.
Almost. That should settle it, right? Ned’s fund, just like Joe’s, owned Halliburton at one point. Joe’s still does. Ned’s had divested itself of the stock between the time he filled out the forms and the time they were released to the press. Does Haigh now point out the obvious, that the LieberLiars were spreading disinformation and just plain wrong? Because, you know, that would be the appropriate thing to do at this point.
Instead, we get this spectacular dismount:
U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman has repeatedly accused Lamont of having direct shares of Halliburton. The Connecticut Post reported last week that there is Halliburton stock in two mutual funds that Lieberman owns.
Lieberman spokeswoman Marion Steinfels would not comment on Lieberman’s mutual funds.
"While Joe Lieberman was calling for a congressional investigation into Halliburton’s abuses, Ned Lamont was profiting off them," she said in a written statement. "We are glad that Ned has dumped the $50,000 in stock that he owned in Halliburton."
So Haigh lets Slimefels refuse to comment on the fact that Holy Joe is now the only one of the two holding Halliburton stock, but prints her comment — which Haigh now knows to be a lie — that Ned "dumped the $50,000 in stock he owned in Halliburton."
WTF??? To begin with, the little box checked on the form said "between $15,000 and $50,000." And only six paragraphs before she’s just acknowledged that Ned doesn’t make the decisions about the holdings in this fund. Haigh is just allowing Slimefels to blather on inventing her own reality, addressing what she wants without pressing her on the obvious hypocricy of the entire matter.
It’s quite surprising that with so many important issues swirling around this campaign, the AP finds it necessary to forego hardhitting reporting in favor of bovine docility. Those who would like to point out that there is an audience for something a bit more substantive — and that there is, you know, a war going on — can contact Haigh at firstname.lastname@example.org.