Time Trials

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Time Trials

Retiring CBS anchor Dan Rather says he wishes he'd had more time before airing the controversial “60 Minutes” report on President Bush's National Guard service because he thinks CBS could have authenticated those disputed documents. Rather told David Letterman that even after spending four months and millions of dollars, an investigative panel "could not demonstrate that the documents were not authentic, that they were forgeries."

The embattled anchor also complained that the investigation was headed by former Nixon official Richard Thornburgh, who, Rather notes darkly, counts himself as a friend of President Bush. And Rather played down the impact his story might have had on the election anyway, saying, "George Bush was destined to be re-elected pretty much whatever happened in August and September." A big surprise, no doubt, to the Kerry campaign.

Father-Son Moment?

Controversial reporter Peter Arnett says that if the United States hadn't ousted Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, his son Uday might have. In the upcoming edition of Playboy, Arnett claims Uday had assembled a shadow government outside Baghdad before the war and cites a letter from a Fedayeen militia commander who pledged allegiance to a new Iraqi government under Uday's control.

But Arnett says that the coup attempt was interrupted by the invasion and the quick advance of U.S. troops. Arnett, who was earlier let go by CNN after falsely reporting that the U.S. government gassed Vietnam war deserters in Laos, was also fired by NBC during the war for telling Iraqi television that he opposed the US invasion.

Naming Names

Lawyers for Washington's Republican gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi have released the names of more than 1,000 people they say voted illegally, including felons not eligible to vote, people who voted twice, and voters who were dead at the time they supposedly cast their ballots.
Rossi has challenged a hand recount of the governor's race that gave Democrat Christine Gregoire a slim 129-vote margin of victory.

Republicans claim the list is more than enough evidence to throw out the election results. But Democrats call the list "inaccurate" -- and the judge in the case says Rossi will have to show that the illegal votes appear to have changed the outcome.

Passing Off Plagiarism? (search)

Yesterday we told you that Nevada Republican Jim Gibbons was standing by his condemnation of "tree-hugging, Birkenstock-wearing, hippie, tie-dyed liberals." But it turns out those remarks weren't even his; they were lifted from a speech written by Alabama State Auditor Beth Chapman.

A full three quarters of Gibbons' address was taken directly from Chapman's speech, a fact that he neglected to tell his audience. Gibbons says he received the remarks via email and that if he'd known who wrote them, he would have credited her. Meanwhile, Chapman says she's "flattered" that Gibbons used her speech.

— FOX News' Michael Levine contributed to this report