Republican National Committee
For IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Christine Iverson
Wednesday, September 22, 2004
Chairman Gillespie Statement
From Today’s Conference
Washington DC – Chairman Gillespie made the
following comments during today’s RNC conference call:
“Many questions still remain. Was a crime committed?
I believe so. Obviously,
forgery is involved. But the Texas
Legal Code also says it is a third degree felony if one ‘makes,
uses any record, document, or thing with knowledge of its falsity and
intent that it be taken as a genuine governmental record’ or ‘makes,
or uses a governmental record with knowledge of its falsity.’
“Did the Kerry campaign know about the existence of the
documents in question in advance of the CBS report? A
chronology of events indicates they did.
Burkett says he made multiple contacts with the Kerry campaign in
sending an e-mail newsletter on August 21 saying he talked to Kerry
seniors on Friday, August 20. The
Kerry campaign told him they wanted to ‘counterattack,’ and he says he
them the information to do it with.’
Burkett says he contacted the Democratic National Committee and laid
out a rationale
for using what he termed ‘down and dirty tactics against President
know that the Kerry campaign devised a strategy to attack the
National Guard service that began the same night the Republican
Convention ended, with Senator Kerry attacking the President’s guard
the night of September 2.
days before the 60 Minutes report aired, Howard Wolfson, ‘a strategist
dispatched to the DNC by the Kerry campaign’ joined the DNC to head up
Wednesday, September 8th, the day of the report, the DNC officially
launched Operation Fortunate Son, and ‘Texans For Truth,’ funded by a
supporter, announced an advertising campaign.
“On Thursday, the day after the
60 Minutes report, the DNC distributed an ad that had clearly been
anticipation of the CBS News report, and cited the documents at a DNC
conference where Senator Tom Harkin called the President a ‘liar.’
might argue that these steps were taken without advance knowledge of
existence of the documents and this is all coincidence, but that
“CBS has apologized for airing the story based on
discredited documents, but has not issued a retraction. One of
its producers contacted the
Kerry campaign to encourage them to talk to one of her sources who
could be helpful
to the campaign. Whether this was
done as part of an agreement with the source to go public or as a
tip,’ it is entirely inappropriate.
Yet CBS News allows to continue in a news gathering and reporting
a journalist who, according to yesterday’s Associated Press ‘makes no
her liberal beliefs’ and has unquestionably provided opposition
research to one
of the presidential campaigns.
“This demonstrates a serious lack of judgment separate
and apart from the lack of judgment demonstrated in running a report
discredited documents. Did this
producer’s own political viewpoint cloud her judgment? Is CBS
News’ decision to neither suspend
nor release the producer in question a result of judgment clouded by
CBS owner Sumner Redstone’s role as a Kerry fundraiser, or Viacom
Freston’s public support of John Kerry for President.
questions that should be answered:
1. We know that CBS put the Kerry campaign in touch with
Burkett, but who put Burkett in touch with CBS in the first
place? Was it someone at the Kerry campaign,
or the DNC?
2. Who were the ‘seniors’ other than Senator Cleland that
Burkett spoke to at the Kerry campaign on August 20? Lockhart wasn't a
part of the Kerry campaign on August 20,
and neither were McCurry, Begala, Carville or Greenberg.
So, who spoke with Burkett on August 20, and to whom did
he provide the information for a “counterattack?”
3. Did the Kerry campaign or the DNC know about the
documents before the CBS story broke?
If so, from whom did they learn of them?
“The centerpiece of the Kerry Campaign’s ‘character based
critique,’ Boston-speak for character assassination, is based on a
news report that was based on the criminal activity of someone who
and forged documents. What’s that
say for the character of the Kerry campaign?
“CBS should act now to assure its viewers that it
understands the gravity of its producer’s actions, and the Kerry
the DNC should answer these questions, abandon its character
campaign and focus on the issues relevant to the American people in