Monday, June 09, 2008

Ellmore Camp Not Guilty by Reason of Incompetency?

The Republican primary contest between Amit Singh and Mark Ellmore in Virginia's eighth congressional district turned ugly this weekend.

As the Washington Post reported yesterday:

A flier put out by Mark W. Ellmore's campaign days before Tuesday's U.S. House Republican primary in Northern Virginia falsely attributes material to The Washington Post, an error pointed out by his opponent and confirmed by Ellmore's staff yesterday.

...

The flier, which hit some mailboxes Friday, attributes the following photo caption to The Post: "Amit Singh with his political mentor Libertarian Ron Paul, who reportedly has plans to disrupt the Republican Convention in Minneapolis." Those words never appeared in the newspaper or as a quote elsewhere, and the photograph was not taken by The Post.

A spokesman for the Ellmore campaign said that the item was written by the staff to describe the accompanying photo and that the description of Paul's intentions refers to an article in the Los Angeles Times.

"This was an honest mistake," spokesman Mike Lane said. "This was not something that was a preplanned dirty trick."


But this "mistake" isn't the only statement that the Ellmore campaign has fabricated about Mr. Singh.

The same flyer also claims, "Amit [Singh] said he will not vote for John McCain in November", and attributes that false statement to an "Interview with Blacknell.net 3/26/08".

But as Mark Blacknell explains:

Nowhere on Blacknell.net will you find any statement or quote from Amit Singh that even gets close to implying such a thing, and at no time in my interview with Amit Singh did he make such a statement. The Ellmore campaign mailer is - in a word - false.

Political candidates are free, of course, to argue over and characterize each other’s positions as they please. They are not, however, entitled to make demonstrably false statements and source those statements to third parties such as myself.


My Jeffersoniad sister blog Bearing Drift reports that Dan Tillson, Mr. Ellmore's campaign manager, "writes via email that the literature had at least five versions, with the final one being changed on short-notice for a next day mailing; several of the quotes were changed, but errors were not discovered before deadline."

But the we're-not-purposeful-liars-we're-just-incompetent defense doesn't explain how the accusation that Mr. Singh "said he will not vote for John McCain in November" made it onto the flyer in the first place, since the Ellmore campaign hasn't been able to point to a verifiable source for the statement and, as Bearing Drift notes, "On several occasions, including to Bearing Drift, Singh has pledged his support to Sen. McCain. Singh also attended the opening of the national McCain Headquarters in Arlington."

The polls are open tomorrow during 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. If you live in Virginia's eighth district, please join me in voting for Amit Singh.

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