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Accusations of Dirty Tricks Fly on Final Pre-Caucus Day

Updated 11:10 a.m.
By John Solomon
With the Iowa caucuses less than a day away, last-minute dirty tricks were in full bloom.

Mitt Romney's campaign reported some of its supporters in the state were getting phone calls directing them to the wrong caucus locations for tomorrow's vote.

"We have received reports from Romney supporters who have gotten calls providing inaccurate information about the Governor and caucus locations. There is no excuse for these types of activities and they have no part in the caucus process," Romney spokesman Matt Rhoades said.

Several voters in Iowa reported getting calls from push pollers, who use a survey-like call to disseminate negative information about candidates. Doyle McCully, a Romney supporter in Bettendorf, Iowa, received such a call at home.

"The person said they were doing a survey and then they asked whether if I knew Romney had supported abortion would I vote for him. And I said 'yes' because I figured it was one of those polls," McCully said in an interview with The Washington Post. "He then asked if I knew that Romney had authorized gay marriage when he was governor would I still vote for him and I said 'yes' again. And then he hung before I could ask who he was with."

Also, Fred Thompson's campaign said one staff member and several of its supporters received computerized calls that targeted Thompson and John McCain for criticism. One supporter, according to the campaign, said the call starts with a live operator saying, "Do you have a minute to listen to a taped message from Fred Thompson?" The caller next plays a tape of Thompson talking about how he doesn't have the "fire in his belly." The operator then returns and says "Do you really think a man like this could beat Hillary Clinton?"

Even special interest groups weren't immune.

The group, which wants to replace the federal income tax with a national sales tax, has played a big role in Mike Huckabee's rise in Iowa. The group has featured Huckabee and his support for its tax plan prominently throughout the year and bought the 400 tickets to Iowa's summer straw poll that helped Huckabee finish a surprising second.

So when a bogus press release emerged Wednesday in Iowa claiming the group was withdrawing an endorsement of Huckabee, the FairTax leaders quickly sprang into action with a press release decrying a "last minute dirty campaign trick."

The group hasn't endorsed any of the candidates, according to FairTax spokesman Ken Hoagland -- it simply highlights those who that have pledged to support its tax plan. And because Huckabee has campaigned on the tax plan more than any other candidate, he has gotten more of the group's attention, Hoagland said.

"Someone has issued a press release this morning claiming the FairTax Iowa campaign has 'rescinded' its endorsement of Mike Huckabee," said Hoagland. "But we have never endorsed Mike Huckabee nor any other candidate; Mike Huckabee and several other candidates have endorsed us."

"The good people of Iowa deserve better than cheap campaign tricks that, like the tax code itself, are designed not to enlighten but to conceal truth from the public," he said.

By Web Politics Editor  |  January 2, 2008; 8:12 PM ET
Categories:  The Hidden Campaign  
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Next: About That Independent Turnout


One hopes that, absent a Huckabee campaign effort, the media will counter Romney attacks by pointing out how, at Bain Capital, Mr. Romney used offshore corporations (and continues to) in order to avoid U.S. taxation, and he fee-milked acquired businesses before firing workers and taking them into bankruptcy, to amass his great $250,000,000 wealth.

So, when you compare how Mr. Huckabee's visionary FairTax advocacy compares to Romney's interest in the current tax system, it's pretty easy to see who will lead us out of tax slavery - the $265 billion annual tax code compliance costs representing 5 billion wasted hours, annually.

Posted by: ih2005 | January 3, 2008 7:07 PM | Report abuse

And, what I am saying is that the Republican caucus does NOT allow registration today, unlike the Democrats, -- it is NOT the case that "the same holds true for Dims being able to do damage to the Republican choice" -- so your concept of a flawed process (as to the Republican side anyways) is itself "flawed". That's the last time I will try to explain it to you.

Posted by: JakeD | January 3, 2008 4:00 PM | Report abuse

LOL! JakeD-What I am saying, is that TODAY People who will vote for the Republican Candidate in November, can pose as dims, affect their Nominee in a Harmfull way, and the same holds true for Dims being able to do damage to the Republican choice!

Any Opposition Candidate that is feared too much by one Party attracts attrition!

THAT, is why I find the whole concept of Primary voting FLAWED!

Posted by: rat-the | January 3, 2008 1:43 PM | Report abuse


Your 11:08 AM post was not about the November election; in case you didn't know, there's a caucus TODAY in Iowa.

Posted by: JakeD | January 3, 2008 12:16 PM | Report abuse

JakeD-If I registered as a Looney Lefty, I could STILL Vote for St. Mitt in November!

Likewise, If I registered as one of God's Own Party, I could still sell my Soul! ;~)

It is called Deception, and it is LEGAL!

Posted by: rat-the | January 3, 2008 12:01 PM | Report abuse

I'm not kidding -- those are the rules as I understand the Iowa caucus -- any Washington Post "reporter" actually there want to clarify?

Posted by: JakeD | January 3, 2008 11:29 AM | Report abuse

JakeD, YOUR kidding right?!

Whatever anyone claims NOW, the Vote that counts is in November! Then, it is a protracted Primary process!

They are only NOW, yelling "Gentlemen, start your Horses"!

LOL! And the Paulites cry out "No Fair! Ours won't start!" ;~)

Posted by: rat-the | January 3, 2008 11:25 AM | Report abuse


As I understand it, only the Democrat side allows same-day registration in Iowa, so no Democrats can vote for a "bad" Republican.

Posted by: JakeD | January 3, 2008 11:15 AM | Report abuse

The Dirty Trick, is the Primary system!

I have to wonder how many Dims are voting for a bad Republican, and how many Republicans are voting for Edwards! ;~)

Posted by: rat-the | January 3, 2008 11:08 AM | Report abuse


I can read just fine -- the press release purported to be FROM Fair Tax -- is that easier for you to understand?

Posted by: JakeD | January 3, 2008 10:49 AM | Report abuse

I agree with jheath53 -- the headline should have included "Republican" with the dirty tricks. That busy1 assumes Clinton's behind it is bizarro.

Posted by: Clara3 | January 3, 2008 10:16 AM | Report abuse

My Schadenfreude at the spectacle of the Republicants turning on each other almost, almost makes up for the atrocities they've perpetrated upon my beloved nation since 2000, almost. Have fun in the wilderness, Fascists!

Posted by: irae | January 3, 2008 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Smears and dirty tricks have long been the hallmark of a Republican campaign. Yet the press always pretends that "both sides do it" and dismisses the notion that one side might actually do it more. Yet, there is no mention of any Democratic dirty tricks, no push polls, no phony press releases from the Dems. When is the press going to finally admit that most of the dirty tricks are done by the GOP?

Posted by: jheath53 | January 3, 2008 8:59 AM | Report abuse

This just in:

"Obama Grabs Iowa Lead From Edwards 44 minutes ago
DES MOINES, Iowa (Reuters) - Democrat Barack Obama surged to a four-point lead over John Edwards in Iowa, with Hillary Clinton fading to third just hours before the first presidential nominating contest, according to a Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby poll released on Thursday."

Obama 31%, Edwards 27%, Clinton 24%

Posted by: Munir1 | January 3, 2008 8:23 AM | Report abuse

Hey, our daughter in Iowa. Won't you be glad when the pols leave? 22 degrees here in Florida, but send them elsewhere. LOVE YOU, Dad

Posted by: writer1 | January 3, 2008 8:12 AM | Report abuse

I cant wait for the democrats to start their voter fraud AGAIN.Only this time I would like to see them land in Jail with the 10,000 $ fine.

Posted by: Imarkex | January 3, 2008 7:51 AM | Report abuse

This is mild stuff, which is encouraging. I'm waiting to see what happens in the general election. How many people will want to emulate Karl Rove?

Posted by: andmeddave1 | January 3, 2008 7:38 AM | Report abuse

"The Alliance for a New America is promoting John Edwards as the anti-special interests candidate. But who is behind the Alliance?"

Labor can't count on Hillary, anyway, 'cause she's found a clever way to cross the writers' picket line -- electronically.

Posted by: FirstMouse | January 3, 2008 7:30 AM | Report abuse

It appears that the Clinton people are up to their dirty tricks again.

Posted by: busy1 | January 3, 2008 6:32 AM | Report abuse

Good story, but what is missing from this article is the fact that Iowa's delegates are few in number. I know y'all have to cover it, but I would appreciate something about how awful the process is.

Read my Top Ten List of why the Iowa Caucus sucks!

Posted by: rayjr1 | January 3, 2008 3:09 AM | Report abuse

I don't appreciate idiots that can't read JakeD. As stated in the article the fake press release was not FROM Fairtax, but a lame attack trying to hurt Fairtax and Huckabee. Try not to be so stupid before you post next time.

Posted by: vfdasf | January 3, 2008 1:06 AM | Report abuse

The wrong location calls might be an honest mistake, and I definitely don't appreciate foul play like a fake press release from Fair Tax -- but what exactly is Fred Thompson complaining about?! He did IN FACT say that he doesn't have the "fire in his belly" this time around, that his heart is not in the race, right?

Posted by: JakeD | January 2, 2008 8:18 PM | Report abuse

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