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A Comment Controversy

The comments section for the Friday Line on the top 2006 governors races was turned off over the weekend.  It wasn't something we wanted to do, but here's why:

Someone published a comment that made an insinuation about Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman and his wife.  The poster signed the comment "David Leland."  If you know Ohio politics well, Leland chaired the state Democratic Party from 1995 through 2002 and is now involved in the gubernatorial campaign of Rep. Ted Strickland (D), who is facing Mayor Coleman in the Democratic primary.

Strickland's campaign contacted washingtonpost.com to complain about the comment, saying Leland had nothing to do with posting it.  We turned off comments on the governors item on Saturday after "Leland" continued to add negative comments about Coleman and his wife. (We've reposted the Friday item without those comments.)

I talked to David Leland today and he categorically denied that he had authored the post. Leland pointed out that he has been friendly with Coleman and his family for more than 20 years and during his time as state party chairman helped steer donations to Coleman's successful 1999 mayoral campaign.

"It is a tragedy that someone can steal your identity to do something like this," said Leland. "This is clearly a downside to the Internet revolution."

The Fix supports free and open discussion about politics, but not impersonation or character defamation. The goal of this blog is to provide a forum where political junkies can come to learn and exchange information.

One of my favorite parts about writing this blog is the chance to read how people react to posts -- the ideas, questions and criticisms that give readers a chance to engage in a conversation with me and each other. That's why the comments section is not edited (although it is monitored for offensive remarks).

Please continue to comment on any and every future post with your thoughts and opinions -- it's what makes this blog fun.  But let's keep the personal attacks and unsubstantiated rumors off The Fix.

And if you're so dead set on using this blog for character assassination, how about signing your real name instead of trying to implicate someone else in your dirty tricks!

OK, now back to politics...

By Chris Cillizza  |  November 22, 2005; 7:45 AM ET
Categories:  Governors  
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