In a 10:15 EDT post today at CNN.com, producer Bill Mears noted the 6-3 ruling by the Supreme Court upholding an Indiana law requiring photo ID in order to vote. Yet Mears left out that Democrats who challenged the law were unable to produce a single voter who could prove he or she was unable to vote due to the law nor did Mears point out mechanisms the Indiana law has in place for provisional balloting and free voter ID cards.
Here's Mears's four-paragraph blog post at the CNN Political Ticker:
WASHINGTON (CNN) – The Supreme Court on Monday backed Indiana's law requiring voters to show photo identification, despite concerns thousands of elderly, poor, and minority voters could be locked out of their right to cast ballots.
The 6-3 vote allows Indiana to require the identification when it holds its statewide primary next month.
Update (11:25 EDT): The Stevens opinion in Crawford v. Marion County Election Board, along with the Scalia concurrence and the dissents by Justices Souter and Breyer can be found here.
This morning the Supreme Court issued a 6-3 ruling upholding Indiana's voter ID law. That law requires voters to present photo identification prior to voting in order to curb voter fraud.
Yet AP writer Mark Sherman cast the decision as a political victory for Republicans in a "splintered" ruling from the bench. Oh, and for good measure Sherman invoked the controversial 2000 Bush v. Gore decision that "sealed" President Bush's electoral victory, a favored talking point of liberals who argue the president was "selected not elected" (emphasis mine):
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court ruled Monday that states can require voters to produce photo identification without violating their constitutional rights, validating Republican-inspired voter ID laws.
In a splintered 6-3 ruling, the court upheld Indiana's strict photo ID requirement, which Democrats and civil rights groups said would deter poor, older and minority voters from casting ballots. Its backers said it was needed to deter fraud.
Friday's 20/20 aired a piece on liberal columnist Arianna Huffington in which ABC host John Stossel got to challenge Huffington's views on issues like welfare, OSHA regulations, and the "lunatic fringe" of the Republican party. When Stossel took her to task for living in a $7 million home that is "burning more carbon than 100 people in the Third World" even while she is part of the "war on global warming," Huffington responded: "There is no question that the fact that I'm living in a big house, I occasionally travel on private planes, all those things are a contradiction. I'm not setting myself up as some paragon who only goes around on a bicycle and lives by candlelight." (Transcript follows)
During a taped interview with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi which aired on Thursday’s "Larry King Live," Larry King did not bring up the California Democrat’s longstanding use of a fictional quote from the Bible, which CNSNews.com chronicled in a report on April 23.
During the interview, which totaled just under 19 minutes, King asked Pelosi about a variety of topics, such as the race between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, the congressional Democrats’ failure to end the war in Iraq, and the proposed free trade agreement with Colombia. But Pelosi’s quote, "To minister to the needs of God's creation is an act of worship. To ignore those needs is to dishonor the God who made us," which she has used on at least seven occasions since 2005, did not come up.
On Friday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Maggie Rodriguez interviewed John McCain and asked about the recent ad put out by the North Carolina Republican Party that criticized Barack Obama’s relationship with his pastor, Jeremiah Wright: "The Republican Party of North Carolina is planning to run an ad bashing Senator Obama. I know that you oppose that ad, but they're running it anyway. So what does that say about you, that you haven't opposed it strongly enough or that your own party is blatantly disregarding your wishes?"
McCain replied by once again denouncing the ad:
It means that the Republican Party of the state of North Carolina is dead wrong. They are an independent organization. I'll do everything in my power to make sure not only they stop it but that kind of leadership is rejected. And the overwhelming majority of Republicans in North Carolina share my view.
However, that was still not enough for Rodriguez, who followed up with: "But as the Republican nominee for president, couldn't you pick up the phone and call the head of the North Carolina GOP and say, don't run it?"
At the end of Thursday’s CBS "Early Show" co-host Harry Smith interviewed former CBS News anchor Roger Mudd about his new memoir, "The Place to Be: Washington, CBS and The Glory Days of Television News," and teased the upcoming interview by declaring: "And we're also joined this morning by one of the great legends of CBS News, Roger Mudd, who's covered every major story in Washington for decades and worked along some of the best reporters who ever lived." One of those "best reporters," Mudd later explained, was Dan Rather: "There was a front row, Harry. And in the front row was Dan Rather, Marvin Kalb, George Herman, Dan Schorr, Roger Mudd."
Mudd went on to describe Rather and his numerous other colleagues in these terms: "No, it was a -- it was just a great conjunction of very talented, very hard working, very honest, ethical men and women, linked up to 20 years of some of the greatest and most profound stories that could have happened." Of course after Rather’s controversial National Guard story about President Bush in 2004, based on forged documents, the terms "honest" and "ethical" do not exactly come to mind.
Near the end of the segment, Smith asked about Mudd’s famous interview with then Democratic presidential candidate Ted Kennedy in 1979 in which Mudd asked Kennedy why he was running for president. Mudd recalled to Smith: "And his answer was -- it wasn't incoherent, but it wasn't really coherent either. And I think the answer is, Harry, that he really hadn't thought very seriously about why he wanted to be. And that exposed a weakness. That interview was not helpful." Smith later commented that: "Wow and it ended his candidacy." However, that interview was in November 1979, just as Kennedy announced his candidacy and he did not drop out of the race until the Democratic convention in 1980.
Following a story on Wednesday’s CBS "Evening News," when fill-in anchor Harry Smith described how an anti-Obama ad run by the North Carolina GOP was proof of the campaign getting "nastier," on Thursday’s "Early Show" Smith continued that theme as he exclaimed: "And the tone of the remainder of the campaign season may be getting even nastier."
Correspondent Chip Reid followed with a report on the North Carolina Republican ad and framed it this way:
A lot of that nastiness is being aimed directly at Barack Obama, and it's not just coming from Hillary Clinton and her campaign. You know there's an absolutely crucial primary in North Carolina in less than two weeks. And now the North Carolina Republican Party is going after Obama with a new hard-hitting negative ad.
The ad, directed at the two North Carolina Democrats vying for the nomination for governor of the state in the May 6 primary, plays a clip of Barack Obama’s pastor Jeremiah Wright saying "God damn America!" and then criticizes both Democratic candidates for their endorsement of Obama: "Now Beth Perdue and Richard Moore endorse Barack Obama. They should know better. He's just too extreme for North Carolina."
In Chris Matthews's mind, a bigot is someone who's "culturally conservative" on race. Matthews equated the two on this evening's Hardball in attempting to explain exit polling from yesterday's PA primary showing that 38% of white Catholic Democrats wouldn't vote for Obama in the general election.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Well, somebody who doesn't like that group of voters might call them Archie Bunkers. I'll call them Reagan Democrats, John [Baer of the Philadelphia Daily News], they're Reagan Democrats: people who are culturally conservative, maybe a little culturally conservative on the racial front, on the ethnic front. They like to think of themselves as Democrats on the economic issues, but when it comes to the squeeze, on some of these cultural issues--didn't this all come up earlier about three weeks ago in San Francisco, this conversation.
During MSNBC's live coverage of Pennsylvania's Democratic presidential primary, co-anchor Chris Matthews brought up the possibility that the North Carolina Republican Party would run an "overtly racist" campaign against Barack Obama, as the MSNBC host harkened back to the days of Jesse Helms and Harvey Gantt. Matthews: "North Carolina will be interesting, and I think that if the Republican Party goes back to the old trick it did with the days of Jesse Helms and Harvey Gantt and running a campaign which is overtly racist, I think that will be a mistake if they do that. I'll wait and see if they do that." (Transcript follows)
After referring to Obama's relationship with the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, co-anchor Keith Olbermann brought up the possibility that John McCain could also be attacked for connections with controversial people: "There is a lot that could be thrown at the Republicans by the Democrats and the past associations of Senator McCain, or even some of the current ones."
CNN's Carol Costello focused on Nora Ephron's Huffington Post rant against white male voters in Pennsylvania during a report on Tuesday's "The Situation Room." "Ephron uses provocative language to make a point. She says, 'let's not kid ourselves. Try as we might, white men will still decide who gets to be president.'" While Costello used results from previous primaries to cast doubt on Ephron's theory, she and CNN chose to highlight Ephron's words and found voters who apparently agreed with it.
Update 7:50 PM: Chris Proclaims Polls Closed 1/2 Hour Early! See foot.
The problem with Chris Matthews playing footsie with the idea of running for US Senator from Pennsylvania: when he says something nowadays, how can you tell whether he means it, or is just trying to position himself for a possible run?
Take this evening's Hardball, during which Matthews castigated Joe Lieberman as having been a "terrible" running-mate for Al Gore in 2000. Kiki McLean, a senior Clinton advisor, was Chris's guest. McLean mentioned that she had been an aide to Lieberman in 2000, and to Gore when he was the Veep candidate [1992?]. That set Matthews off.
Let's say the year is 2006 and you're the Republican chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. A story breaks that you "received donations from an Alabama contractor" but you flatly deny it has anything to do with "a $2.6 million no-bid contract for the company in a national defense bill."
There's no doubt, particularly given the media's Republican "culture of corruption" meme that year that your party registration and chairmanship of the intel committee would be front-and-center when reporting the story.
But fast forward two years and that's precisely what the El Paso Times withheld from readers in the case of hometown congressman Silvestre Reyes. Rep. Reyes (D-Texas) has chaired the Intelligence Committee since Democrats regained the majority in the House of Representatives in January 2007, yet neither his influential post as chairman nor his Democratic party affiliation were mentioned by reporter Ramon Bracamontes in an April 16 article (h/t Peter DeNitto).
Bracamontes cited a Reyes statement denying allegations of impropriety:
When's the last time you heard the MSM talk about a Republican being hit by the "Democrat attack machine"? Scratch that. Have you ever heard the MSM talk about a Republican being hit by the "Democrat attack machine"? Neither have I. But fretting about impending Republican "swiftboating" of the Dem presidential candidate is an MSM staple, and we saw a good example of it this morning, right down to an image of John Kerry in uniform.
Oh, and Hillary Clinton sees herself as a modern-day Ginger Rogers.
Ann Curry had a chance to interview both Dem candidates recently, and Today ran an extended clip during this morning's first half-hour, the two interviews being artfully edited into a back-and-forth. Overall, I'd say Curry gave Hillary the tougher time, but be that as it may, let's focus on two snippets. First, Curry fretting to Obama about those mean Republicans. Check out the screencap. Kerry in uniform, decorations on display. Beneath, the graphic ominously asks: "Can Obama Handle Republican Attacks?" Again I ask: have you ever, EVER, seen the mirror-image graphic in the MSM?
On Monday’s CBS "Early Show"co-host Harry Smith reported live from the Wilkes University campus in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania and talked to college students planning to vote in the upcoming Democratic primary, one of whom, Raquel Wheby, explained: "Tomorrow morning is -- it's very undecided. It's going to be the goose bump moment when you get in there and then you just pick one and go with it." Smith seemed to like that description of voting for a Democrat because he then exclaimed to the crowd of applauding college students: "Wow, let's go for the goose bump moment tomorrow."
Smith began the segment by excitedly declaring: "You guys fired up? We've got some first time voters for us that are going to talk to us right now about what's going on in their lives and what they're going to do when they get a chance to vote." He went on to talk to a Hillary Clinton supporter, David Sborz, who said of the New York Senator: "Because I think her inspiration, her focus, her leadership. Her will to break through the glass ceiling has really motivated a spirit in me to really support her." Smith then turned to Patrick Austin, a student supporting Obama who explained his reason for voting: "I'm a Barack Obama supporter. And I support him because I think his policy is realistic. I think he has charisma, he's intellectual, he's well spoken and, you know, he has an aura about him, I think, that most -- draws most people to him."
Following that fawning over Hillary and Obama, Smith talked to Wheby, who was still undecided. Wheby explained why she was torn between the two candidates, while taking the opportunity to mock John McCain at the same time: "I'm at the point where I won't know till I'm in the booth tomorrow. I think this campaign has been one of the first that has the first feasible black candidate, the first feasible female and the oldest running man ever." That line received laughter from the entire crowd of students in the room as well as from Smith himself.
Hillary–gone in a week? Yes, if you believe Michael Smerconish.
The Philly-based radio talk show host was the only Pennsylvanian on the panel on this evening's Race for the White House on MSNBC. He saved his bombshell for last. Nothing in the kibitzing preceding the show-closing Predictions segment foreshadowed Smerconish's surprising suggestion. But when it came time to break out the crystal ball, Smerconish unloaded.
MICHAEL SMERCONISH: Mine's a two-parter. Part one: Tuesday in Pennsylvania, Barack Obama 51, Hillary Clinton 49%. Part two: Thursday, 4 PM Eastern: Hillary Clinton suspends her campaign.
Washington Post media reporter Howard Kurtz takes up the left-wing brouhaha over ABC’s "trivial" questions to Barack Obama on Wednesday night. Here’s the weird part:
It is hardly unusual for debate moderators to draw partisan criticism, as NBC's Tim Russert did in October, when liberal commentators accused him of harassing Clinton over driver's licenses for illegal immigrants and other issues. But it is rare for ostensibly neutral media writers and television columnists to pile on with such fervor.
But Kurtz never quoted anyone "ostensibly neutral" -- they all came from the left. He began with Jason Linkins of the Huffington Post, Will Bunch of the "Attytood" blog, and Post TV critic Tom Shales. Later on he added Greg Mitchell, the socialist editor at Editor & Publisher, Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo, and Steve Benen of the Carpetbagger Report. He wrapped up with Keith Olbermann. Not an "ostensibly neutral" voice in the bunch.
Would it be fair to guess that inside the "ostensibly neutral" Washington Post there is a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth?
Kurtz did pass some of the internal reaction and defense from ABC:
We have another incident of empty showboating by a college kid who imagines herself to be making "art" and a "statement" by placing American flags on the floor in hopes that people would disrespect them enough to walk upon them. One Miss Susan Crane of the University of Maine at Farmington decided that her "art" was going to be an exercise in desecration. Keep your eye on this and see if the MSM will cover it. It is just starting to make the blog rounds.
Unfortunately, all we have is another disrespectful kid doing the same thing that a dozen other disrespectful kids have done at anti-American campuses across the country over the last 40 years or so. There isn't a thing "new" or even unexpected about it at this point. This makes her "statement" empty and pointless. But Crane has been fooled by her anti-American professors into imagining she is sparking a "conversation" about patriotism and the flag.
"The biggest tab for taxpayers is defense," CBS correspondent Bob Orr reported. "The average American household is paying $2,761 in 2007 - or put another way, enough to cover 12 car payments for a new Honda Accord. Social security is nearly as expensive, $2,663 - enough to heat and cool a home for a year. In total, the average tax bill this year tops $13,000 and most taxpayers have no idea what the government is doing with their cash."
On Wednesday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Maggie Rodriguez talked to liberal priest, Fr. Thomas Reese, who also appeared on Monday’s show, and asked about the sex abuse scandals in the American Catholic Church as well as the comments of Pope Benedict XVI regarding the issue: "We heard from some victims' families that a mea culpa is not enough. That merely saying you're "deeply ashamed" is not enough. Do you think anything more will come of this?"
This question followed a report by correspondent Jeff Glor, who began by declaring:
It's believed the Pope could address the issue even further on his visit, either here in Washington or in New York, but some are wondering, why not Boston? For Gary Bergeron, the Pope not going to Boston on this trip is like saying the Pope's not Catholic. It just doesn't make sense... Bergeron was abused and still lives in New England, the epicenter of the scandal.
Glor also played clips of Bergeron, who said of the Pope: "I think it's an opportunity he missed...I would hold out my hand to him so that he could shake it, understand that I'm not the demon here." Of course, the Pope has not "demonized" any victims of abuse, but Glor still decided to use the quote for his report. Despite Rodriguez’s claim that "not enough" had been done, Bergeron actually helped win an $85 million dollar lawsuit for church abuse victims and met personally with Vatican officials.
Four men that greased the wheels of the Daley machine in Chicago had their federal convictions upheld by an appeals judge, the Chicago Sun-Times noted in an April 16 article. Yet although Daley is a lifelong Democrat and the Democrats run Chicago lock, stock, and barrel, the Sun-Times failed to even casually mention either Daley's or Gov. Blagojevich's Democratic bona fides.
The federal appellate court in Chicago Tuesday upheld the conviction of four men charged with running the patronage hiring system in Mayor Daley's City Hall.
The ruling sent waves of angst through City Hall, Gov. Blagojevich's office and other government offices where some had hoped the court would find the age-old practice of giving plum government jobs to cronies was legal.
The former Daley aides -- Robert Sorich, Tim McCarthy, John Sullivan and Patrick Slattery -- were convicted of mail fraud:
CNN’s senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, during a discussion on Friday’s "The Situation Room," defended Barack Obama’s comments, that small-town voters are often "bitter" and they "cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them," and blasted Hillary Clinton for her criticism of the comments. "I think that is so ridiculous.... I mean that is not at all what Barack Obama said.... I mean Hillary Clinton is clearly distorting what Obama said. And, by the way, what Obama said is factually accurate." Jack Cafferty, a regular contributor to "The Situation Room," agree with Toobin, and went further. "Look, Jeff's right. They call it the 'Rust Belt' for a reason.... The people are frustrated. The people have no economic opportunity. What happens to folks like that in the Middle East, you ask? Well, take a look. They go to places like al Qaeda training camps. I mean there's nothing new here."
At the beginning of Monday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith exclaimed: "Coming to America. Pope Benedict XVI arrives on American soil tomorrow. How will Americans receive his hard line and soft style?" In the later segement, correspondent Allen Pizzey continued the "hard line" theme: "Since becoming Pope Benedict XVI three years ago, the man who used to be the Vatican's chief hard-liner has undergone an image makeover...when Americans see him next week, they may get a pleasant surprise."
Pizzey went on to describe the Pope’s "makeover":
Benedict has made what one ambassador to the Holy See called a smooth transition from scholar to universal pastor. It may not quite fit the miracle category, but it is nonetheless an extraordinary transition for a man who was once known as God's Rottweiler. As Pope he has not gone out of his way to appease the more liberal wings of the Catholic Church in the U.S., but Benedict's chief image maker is unfazed.
Following Pizzey’s report, co-host Julie Chen interviewed left-wing priest, Father Thomas Reese, who was editor of the Catholic magazine "America," until the Vatican pressured him to resign for allowing numerous liberal opinion pieces critcizing the Church to be published.
On Monday’s CBS "Early Show,"a story on the controversial comments by Barack Obama that people in small Pennsylvania towns are "bitter," was introduced by co-host Julie Chen this way: "The battle among Democrats and Hillary Clinton's relentless attempt to turn Barack Obama's words against him." Rather than focus on what Obama actually thinks about small town voters, correspondent Dean Reynolds followed with a report in which he declared:
Clinton hammered Obama all weekend over his suggestion that Americans from small economically hard pressed towns turn inward, become bitter, and cling to their guns or their religious faith during tough times, rather than look to Washington for leadership. Clinton, who is trying to hold on to what polls say is a slim lead here in Pennsylvania, said she found the statement demeaning, even snobbish. And she said so just about everywhere she went.
With Obama looking like the victim, Reynolds went on to briefly mention that the Illinois Senator apologized for the comments: "Obama was thrown on the defensive, forced to acknowledge his words were clumsy and later to apologize if he offended anyone." However, Reynolds immediately followed with the Obama campaign’s defense: "But he said his opponent was intentionally twisting his meaning...Obama also said Clinton's attempt to paint him as the sportsman's adversary and herself as their champion was laughable."
Should Hillary make it to the White House, don't look for Bill to be taking an early twirl on the Inauguration Ball dance floor with Nancy Pelosi. Appearing on today's Face the Nation, Madame Speaker made a nasty joke at the former president's expense.
Host Bob Schieffer [who might have experienced some schadenfreude this week with all the talk of Katie Couric being pushed out of the Evening News anchor chair he kept warm for her], asked Pelosi what might have prompted Bill Clinton to resurrect the issue of Hillary's tussle with the Tuzla truth. He had famously chalked it up to the tribulations of a tired 60-year old late at night. In answer, Pelosi sardonically suggested Bill might have had a senior moment of his own.
Not that it comes as a surprise, but should Chris Matthews reveal his pro-Obama rooting interest as blatantly as he did today?
On this evening's Hardball, the man who gets a thrill from Barack expressed "concern" that Hillary might have a stronger-than-expected finish in the Pennsylvania Dem primary. Matthews was reading the tea leaves with two Keystone State pros: Dick Polman of the Philadelphia Inquirer and veteran journalist Larry Kane. After Kane reported that the Obama people are more optimistic than they're letting on, and believe it's going to be a "close finish," Matthews let his Obama slip show in this exchange with Polman.
A week ago I was mystified when Chris Matthews went out of his way to butter up Ed Rendell when the Dem Pennsylvania governor appeared on Hardball, and described the schmoozing here. Now, call it mystery likely solved. According to one account, Matthews has approached Rendell for help in a possible 2010 U.S. Senate run. That seems an ever-more-likely scenario, given Matthews's decidely non-Shermanesque response to a suggestion that he's well-positioned to make a run against Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) in 2010.
The "Hardball" host's intriguing comments came in response to Philly-based radio talk show host Michael Smerconish who speculated on Wednesday's show about the possibility of a Matthews Senate campaign.
Unexpectedly, the former Tip O'Neill aide declined to tamp down the rumor:
News agencies across the country are still largely refusing to inform readers of the liberal-leanings of Families USA. The organization has a fresh crop of new news articles thanks to its latest study.
In March, Families USA published a report which attributes lack of health care coverage with premature death. Local newspapers across the country are attracted to this report because it includes state-specific data that give the number of fatalities in each state which are linked to a lack of insurance.
You might remember Families USA from its advocacy for expanding the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) which would have increased the income eligibility limit from 200 percent to 300 percent above the Federal Poverty Level and started a contingency fund which would serve to come to the rescue of states who spend over the amount of their federal allotment. Needless to say, liberal Democrats including Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) and Sen Barack Obama (D-Ill.) make up the organization’s political allies.
On Wednesday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Russ Mitchell began an interview with Senator Joe Biden on the testimony of General Petraeus before Congress this way: "As a long-time critic of the way the Bush Administration has handled the war, were you encouraged by anything General Petraeus said yesterday?" After Biden responded by saying "I'm not at all encouraged that the president has any plan to end this war," Mitchell followed with a setup for Biden to propose his own plan: "You have said you cannot think of a circumstance where General Petraeus, or any military leader, would recommend withdrawal. At this point specifically, what are you proposing?"
On Wednesday’s NBC "Today," co-host Matt Lauer began his interview with Biden with a similar question to Mitchell’s: "Yesterday as you heard the General say, he said the progress is real but it's fragile and reversible. Did he say anything yesterday that changed your mind?" However, unlike Mitchell, Lauer actually followed up with a challenging question: "In, in terms of the security improvements that have been made and General Petraeus laid those out, while addressing the challenges that remain with the Iraqi government. When he, when he uses those words "fragile," and "reversible" Senator, are you okay with the fact that withdrawing troops might take us backward in Iraq?"
Elizabeth Edwards, I'm sure, is a smart, capable woman. A well-educated lawyer, seasoned politician's wife, and mother of three, her battle against cancer is laudable no matter what your politics are. But in all honestly, is she really that much of a scholarly health care policy or health care finance expert?
Not sure if this was expected or known in advance, but the announcement today that Elizabeth Edwards is joining the Center for American Progress as a senior fellow is striking in two ways. First, it's great for CAP. Think tanks don't often get the benefit of having famous and well-liked authors or thinkers on their staffs. Hers will be a prominent voice on the health care debate going forward, and CAP will bask in her reflected fame...
In an interview with Hillary Clinton on Tuesday’s CBS "Early Show," about the upcoming congressional testimony of General David Petraeus on the Iraq war, co-host Harry Smith began by asking a question that perfectly toed the Democratic Party line: "David Petraeus is going to come before this committee this morning. He's going to say in more -- you know, more elaborate words than I will right now, that the surge is working. The number of attacks in Baghdad have more than doubled in the last two months. About a dozen U.S. servicemen have been killed there in just the last several days. Do you think the surge is working?" Clinton was very appreciative of Smith’s softball and let him know: "Well Harry, I think you just made a summary argument against the position that it's working."
Smith’s claim that attacks in Baghdad "more than doubled" recently was accurate according to an April 8 New York Times article. However, what Smith failed to also point out was the dramatic decline of attacks during the surge, which preceded the latest round of violence.