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Edwards Expands Ad Buy

The John Edwards presidential campaign will expand its television ad campaign tomorrow in -- wait for it -- Oregon.

Yes, Oregon. The same Oregon that set its presidential primary for May 20, 2008.

The former Democratic senator's campaign confirmed the ad buy, which will hit airwaves in Eugene today and run through the weekend, but campaign aides would offer no comment on why they chose to run ads in the state. "We don't want our opponents to know why we are going up in Oregon," said Edwards consultant Joe Trippi.

The campaign said the ads in Eugene will closely resemble the "We the People" commercials Edwards has been running in Iowa and on national cable stations. That ad calls on Congress to keep the pressure on the White House when it comes to tying funding for the war to firm deadlines for withdrawal.

Eugene is a hotbed of liberal activism and anti-war protest. (In March, Lt. Ehren Watada who faces court-martial charges for his refusal to serve in Iraq spoke at the city's anti-war rally.)

Our guess is that Edwards is making a targeted strike in an area that is likely to be quite receptive to his strong anti-war message. The ad buy also has the added benefit of keeping his opponents' guessing about his strategy -- always a plus in the three-dimensional chess match that is presidential primary politics.

By Chris Cillizza  |  May 22, 2007; 7:30 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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I'd like to mention that eugene is probably the second largest concentration of liberals in Oregon, it's after significantly larger Portland.

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http://blogs.abcnews.com/theblotter/2007/05/bush_authorizes.html

Bush Authorizes New Covert Action Against Iran

May 22, 2007 6:29 PM

Brian Ross and Richard Esposito Report:

Bush_authorizes_mnThe CIA has received secret presidential approval to mount a covert "black" operation to destabilize the Iranian government, current and former officials in the intelligence community tell the Blotter on ABCNews.com.

The sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the subject, say President Bush has signed a "nonlethal presidential finding" that puts into motion a CIA plan that reportedly includes a coordinated campaign of propaganda, disinformation and manipulation of Iran's currency and international financial transactions.

"I can't confirm or deny whether such a program exists or whether the president signed it, but it would be consistent with an overall American approach trying to find ways to put pressure on the regime," said Bruce Riedel, a recently retired CIA senior official who dealt with Iran and other countries in the region.

Click Here to See Photos of the Players in Another Iran Operation -- the Iran-Contra Affair: Where Are They Now?

A National Security Council spokesperson, Gordon Johndroe, said, "The White House does not comment on intelligence matters." A CIA spokesperson said, "As a matter of course, we do not comment on allegations of covert activity."

The sources say the CIA developed the covert plan over the last year and received approval from White House officials and other officials in the intelligence community.

Officials say the covert plan is designed to pressure Iran to stop its nuclear enrichment program and end aid to insurgents in Iraq.

"There are some channels where the United States government may want to do things without its hand showing, and legally, therefore, the administration would, if it's doing that, need an intelligence finding and would need to tell the Congress," said ABC News consultant Richard Clarke, a former White House counterterrorism official.

Current and former intelligence officials say the approval of the covert action means the Bush administration, for the time being, has decided not to pursue a military option against Iran.
THE BLOTTER RECOMMENDS

* Blotter Crackdown on the Secret War Against Iran
* Blotter Pakistan Denounces ABC News Report on Backing Iran Radicals
* Blotter ABC News Exclusive: The Secret War Against Iran
* Click Here to Check Out Brian Ross Slideshows

"Vice President Cheney helped to lead the side favoring a military strike," said former CIA official Riedel, "but I think they have come to the conclusion that a military strike has more downsides than upsides."

The covert action plan comes as U.S. officials have confirmed Iran had dramatically increased its ability to produce nuclear weapons material, at a pace that experts said would give them the ability to build a nuclear bomb in two years.

Riedel says economic pressure on Iran may be the most effective tool available to the CIA, particularly in going after secret accounts used to fund the nuclear program.

"The kind of dealings that the Iranian Revolution Guards are going to do, in terms of purchasing nuclear and missile components, are likely to be extremely secret, and you're going to have to work very, very hard to find them, and that's exactly the kind of thing the CIA's nonproliferation center and others would be expert at trying to look into," Riedel said.

Under the law, the CIA needs an official presidential finding to carry out such covert actions. The CIA is permitted to mount covert "collection" operations without a presidential finding.

"Presidential findings" are kept secret but reported to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and other key congressional leaders.

The "nonlethal" aspect of the presidential finding means CIA officers may not use deadly force in carrying out the secret operations against Iran.

Still, some fear that even a nonlethal covert CIA program carries great risks.

"I think everybody in the region knows that there is a proxy war already afoot with the United States supporting anti-Iranian elements in the region as well as opposition groups within Iran," said Vali Nasr, adjunct senior fellow for Mideast studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.

"And this covert action is now being escalated by the new U.S. directive, and that can very quickly lead to Iranian retaliation and a cycle of escalation can follow," Nasr said.

Other "lethal" findings have authorized CIA covert actions against al Qaeda, terrorism and nuclear proliferation.

Also briefed on the CIA proposal, according to intelligence sources, were National Security Advisor Steve Hadley and Deputy National Security Advisor Elliott Abrams.

"The entire plan has been blessed by Abrams, in particular," said one intelligence source familiar with the plan. "And Hadley had to put his chop on it."

Abrams' last involvement with attempting to destabilize a foreign government led to criminal charges.

He pleaded guilty in October 1991 to two misdemeanor counts of withholding information from Congress about the Reagan administration's ill-fated efforts to destabilize the Nicaraguan Sandinista government in Central America, known as the Iran-Contra affair. Abrams was later pardoned by President George H. W. Bush in December 1992.

In June 2001, Abrams was named by then National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice to head the National Security Council's office for democracy, human rights and international operations. On Feb. 2, 2005, National Security Advisor Hadley appointed Abrams deputy assistant to the president and deputy national security advisor for global democracy strategy, one of the nation's most senior national security positions.

As earlier reported on the Blotter on ABCNews.com, the United States has supported and encouraged an Iranian militant group, Jundullah, that has conducted deadly raids inside Iran from bases on the rugged Iran-Pakistan-Afghanistan "tri-border region."

U.S. officials deny any "direct funding" of Jundullah groups but say the leader of Jundullah was in regular contact with U.S. officials.

American intelligence sources say Jundullah has received money and weapons through the Afghanistan and Pakistan military and Pakistan's intelligence service. Pakistan has officially denied any connection.

A report broadcast on Iranian TV last Sunday said Iranian authorities had captured 10 men crossing the border with $500,000 in cash along with "maps of sensitive areas" and "modern spy equipment."

A senior Pakistani official told ABCNews.com the 10 men were members of Jundullah.

The leader of the Jundullah group, according to the Pakistani official, has been recruiting and training "hundreds of men" for "unspecified missions" across the border in Iran.

Posted by: che | May 23, 2007 5:13 AM | Report abuse

Hang in there John. He will be an atractive candidate when Hillary and Obama tear each other to schreds in the next few monts.

Posted by: Opa2 | May 23, 2007 1:28 AM | Report abuse

This is a smart strategy. As a republican, I'm a little clueless about the geography of "likely democratic primary voters." However, supposing a 1% - 3% of the national "likely democratic primary" voter lives in Oregon - it doesn't matter if their vote is late or not - Oregon could have an effect on national polls taken by news media outlets.

This is a means by the Edwards camp of targeting a region saturated with LIBERALS in ordr to up their national standings and close the gap in some of these polls.

It's a risk, but that's what this game is all about

Posted by: pv | May 22, 2007 9:43 PM | Report abuse


LYNCHBURG, Virginia (CNN) -- A first-year Liberty University student was arrested in what police said was a plot to detonate explosive devices Tuesday, the day of the Rev. Jerry Falwell's funeral.

Mark David Uhl's intended target is unknown, authorities said.

ABC News reported the youth told authorities he had made the bombs -- which were found in his car -- to stop protesters from disrupting Falwell's funeral.

Police received a call about 11 p.m. Monday from one of Uhl's family members, who said they had talked with him and he had "mentioned some explosive devices he had made," said Maj. Steve Hutcherson of the Campbell County, Virginia, sheriff's office.

Authorities found in Uhl's vehicle "what appeared to be about six explosive devices" that had detonation devices with them, Hutcherson said. The homemade devices were canisters with some kind of liquid inside.

Uhl, 19, from Amissville, Virginia, was arrested at the home of one of his friends in Campbell County, near Lynchburg, Hutcherson said.

He was being held without bond in the Campbell County Adult Detention Center on suspicion of manufacturing explosive devices.

Posted by: oh look, it's william, the terrorist | May 22, 2007 09:25 PM

Posted by: oh look, it's william, the terrorist | May 22, 2007 9:28 PM | Report abuse

In terms of activist eyeballs per ad dollar, Eugene is probably the cheapest TV market in the country. Perhaps he can get some donors out of it and get some activists who will trek to Nevada to help organize for the caucuses there. The University of Oregon has a really long winter break (four weeks, approximately) that ends two weeks before the NV caucuses. And of course Eugene is home to an awful lot of activists (and donors) who are not on the academic calendar.

Posted by: inonit | May 22, 2007 8:34 PM | Report abuse

If the Feb. 5 primaries are inconclusive, Edwards could still be in the running in May even if he's still running No. 3. And since Oregon votes by mail and thus casts votes well before election day, maybe Edwards thinks he will be able to milk some publicity from Oregon for a longer period.

Posted by: Eric | May 22, 2007 8:31 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps Edwards wants to pay attention to the later states to build up some goodwill in the event that he doesn't pull out victories in NH, SC, and Nevada? Voters in the later states may appreciate the attention and reward Edwards accordingly.

Posted by: The 7-10 | May 22, 2007 8:24 PM | Report abuse

Edwards still trying to be noticed. Good luck.

As for the Lt who abandoned his post, he ought to be shot.

Posted by: JD | May 22, 2007 7:48 PM | Report abuse

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