The mainstream media is once again reporting the story of New York banker and ex-GOP voter Jeff Volk who claims to have been rescued by Hillary Clinton from the harrowing conditions of a New Orleans Hotel during Hurricane Katrina. Only now the details of that ordeal have evolved as have a few other elements of the story that the mainstream media seems to have glossed over in their rush to report about a defecting GOP voter.
Few of the reports indicate that Mr. Volk was a Hillary Clinton fundraiser that raised nearly $100,000 for Senator Clinton's re-election campaign in 2006, that the Clinton campaign released a video featuring statements by Mr. Volk in support of Hillary Clinton or that Mr. Volk's political contribution records tell a slightly different picture than that being reported in the press today. Less surprising is the fact that the latest version of Volk's story differs markedly from the original WaPO report.
The story of Jeff Volk first appeared in the Washington Post on March 20, 2006. The setup back then was that Mr. Volk had at one time worked in the Nixon White House for speechwriter Patrick J. Buchanan and was so conservative that he helped draft Ronald Reagan 's economic platform in 1980. He was the perfect victim having lived through both 9-11 and Hurricane Katrina. A regular guy that just fell on a bit of bad luck until Hillary Clinton rescued him and his family from the ravages of a New Orleans hotel during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina
The following blockquote details how that original report played out.
Volk, who saw the second plane hit the World Trade Center and ran away from a collapsing tower, found himself in New Orleans in August with his wife and daughter, a freshman at Tulane University, when Hurricane Katrina hit.
Volk figured they could ride it out at a downtown hotel. His daughter had no ticket home, he said and, besides, "usually they blow in anda out." Not this time.
The huge hurricane struck on Sunday, and it wasn't long before arsonists and looters were prowling the streets, the hotel across the street was being ransacked, there were no lights and fresh water was barely running. Volk called the White House for help.
"I was sent to voice mail," he said, where he was told he could "leave your comments." He called back and asked to speak with someone from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. More voice mail. His third try got him to FEMA in Alabama, which had its own concerns. "I called a half-dozen times . . . there was no one to talk to."
"I decided I would call my senator," Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), whom he'd never met, Volk said. "An aide in Clinton's Washington Senate office took the call and said I needed to call Dan Burton , a caseworker in New York. When I called, he knew to expect a call from me.
"He basically said: 'What would you want Senator Clinton to do?' I said, 'Call [Gov. George E. ] Pataki and get the National Guard plane and send it down for the New Yorkers.' "
Burton could not get the plane, but "he called two or three times a day to make sure we were okay," Volk recalled.
"I can't begin to tell you how much that meant to us in that hotel," he said. "The fact that anyone in government cared that we were there meant maybe there was a list somewhere, maybe we could get out. It was enough just that someone in government knew we were there."
Yes folks, I know that each and every one of us regular voters would call the White House when trapped in a harrowing New Orleans hotel in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. No food, little water, looting criminals, why yes, this seems like a good time to call the White House! When all else fails call your State Senator, in this case Hillary Clinton. I couldn't have scripted a better farce. Not only that but it seems that Mr. Volk's phone magically withstood the failing infrastructure of New Orleans for days; that is some phone, get me the carrier.
I don't know about you but this story seems too good to be true. Even if we are to believe the story as being told it doesn't add up to the regular guy GOP defector fandangle that is being peddled by the MSM. Raise of hands, how many of you have the White House switchboard, FEMA and Senator Hillary Clinton's phone numbers on your Fave 5? Likewise, how many of you believe that any Joe off the street would get the same sort of special treatment as Mr. Volk? Caring government or special treatment for a government insider, you decide.
The story as presented in 2006 has reappeared everywhere in the MSM (independently of course) after Volk's Des Moines appearance on a Clinton campaign stop. The evolving set of details have emerged as a theme and are blatantly similar to a December 17th entry on Hillary Clinton's campaign blog.
Jeff and his family were trapped in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, and went for days without food, water, or electricity. All they had was a cell phone - and some very frayed nerves.
"I dialed 202-456-1414," Jeff explained - the White House in Washington.
"Four times, I got connected to a voice message," he said. "Then my wife suggested we try Senator Clinton's office."
What he discovered on the other end of the line was "an exceptional young man and an exceptional organization." Hillary's office helped get Jeff's family out of harm's way and back to New York.
Jeff wanted to thank Hillary. Now he's in Iowa campaigning for the woman he describes as "warm and compassionate . . . the most knowledgeable person I have ever met in my life." He and Hillary share, he says, "a common concern about competency in government."
Hillary, meanwhile, doesn't mind that she helped out a conservative Republican. "My dad was a conservative Republican," she says. " And, well . . . he evolved!"
Hillary Clinton's father is not the only element of the story that has evolved. The whole story seems to have taken on new details complete with exaggerated bylines as if it were a segment from the old 1960's cartoon The World of Commander McBragg.
Left out of this account is the fact that Volk was trapped in a hotel as opposed to wallowing on the streets of New Orleans without food and water. This is small grapes as opposed to the newly contrived spin of events that is being reported today.
The new version of the story indicates that Volk called the White House four times each of which lead to voicemail. This contradicts the WaPo report from a year earlier that indicates that Volk called the White House once where he was routed to voice mail, once where he connected with someone who routed him to FEMA where he was once again routed to voice mail and a third time where he got through to FEMA in Alabama, "which had its own concerns", whatever that means. The fact remains that the original WaPo report indicated that Mr. Volk was routed to voice mail twice in those first few calls. The report also indicates that Volk tried to call FEMA many other times but there is no indication that the White House specifically directed him to e-mail more than once. This new spin is a blatant embellishment meant to pit Hillary Clinton against George Bush IMHO.
The original WaPo story reported that it was Volk who decided to call Senator Clinton but in the new rehashed version it is now Volk's wife who made that suggestion. I'm not sure why this element of the story would change other than to play to the emotions of women voters. It seems to me like some script writer had this one scripted out to specifically play to the much needed demographic.
Perhaps the biggest exaggeration in this evolving tale is that of Hillary Clinton's hand in helping to rescue the Volk family from the uncaring government bureaucracy that kept them stranded in New Orleans. According to the original WaPo story the only help that Volk received was repeated phone calls from Dan Burton, a caseworker for Senator Clinton in New York, who checked on the family repeatedly to make sure that Volk and his family were fine. No government agency was reported as having specifically come to the rescue of the Volks. In fact it was hotel employees that put together a five-car caravan to move Volk and other guests to safety in Baton Rouge.
Yet this weekend many MSM outlets are using elements of the story that appeared in Clinton's blog where "Hillary's office helped get Jeff's family out of harm's way and back to New York".
The Boston Globe reported the following on December 17th.
Volk had worked in the Nixon White House, but his repeated calls to the White House switchboard during the hurricane went unanswered. After he called Clinton’s office, though, she and her staff never lost touch.
His voice quivered as he called her “one of the most caring, kind, compassionate individuals I’d ever met in my life.”
The Des Moines Register reported the following account on December 17th.
Jeff Volk, who has a background in international banking, told the Johnston audience he was covered in gray ash from the World Trade Center on Sept. 11. Then he was stranded in New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina while delivering his daughter to college at Tulane University.
Stuck in a New Orleans hotel room, they had no water, food or electricity. There were rumors of shootings. “And we were scared,” he said.
Volk marveled that the government, two years after Sept. 11, was not prepared for “the take-out” of a major city, he said. He said he called the White House switchboard, and was routed to voice mail four times.
His wife suggested he call Clinton, a U.S. senator who represents New York. “She didn’t know me,” he said.
Even the Washington Post managed to get selective memory in its December 17th version that appeared on line in the "The Trail" blog section.
Jeff Volk, a Citigroup executive, described how Clinton's Senate office had helped evacuate his family from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Later he discovered the two were neighbors in the New York suburbs, and they got to know each other. "Hillary is the most knowlegeable person I have met in my life," Volk said. "I can't think of anyone more prepared."
Last, but not least by a long run, is the AP report about Jeff Volk, regular guy, GOP defector, that has now switched allegiances to the caring Hillary Clinton. In the interest of fairness the AP noted Volk's recent campaign contributions to the Clinton campaign. Unfortunately they underreported his contributions as detailed by OpenSecrets.org that indicates that Volk also donated another $1,900 dollars to the Hillary Clinton campaign on the same day that he donated the maximum allowable $2,300 as reported by the AP. Hmmm, how did that slip by? In addition, Volk, GOP defector, contributed thousands of dollars to the ACORN front group Working Families Party (WFP); the voter fraud plagued left wing organization that is deeply committed to Hillary Clinton.
If anything this story is not as it appears in the mainstream media. Jeff Volk is not a regular guy GOP defector. Lost in the latest reports are his role in Clinton campaign commercials, his work as a Hillary Clinton fundraiser and certainly any of the context that would portray the quivering sympathetic voice of Jeff Volk as a political operator that has been placed front and center for the inept media to swallow up and regurgitate hook, line and sinker.
Terry Trippany is the editor and publisher of Webloggin and wishes everyone a safe and blessed Merry Christmas!!!