Iowa Presidential Watch


Sept 9, 2004...

It’s the curlies, stupid!

Well, as it turns out, the Bush National Guard smoking gun memos find is a hoax – and a big one at that. Dan Rather and CBS apparently didn’t do much ‘authenticating’ before rushing to report the memos as factual. The NationalReviewOnline column “Kerry Spot” has some Rather [pun intended] damning observations by computer document forensics expert Bruce Webster:

Kerry Spot reader Bruce Webster who has as served as an expert witness in U.S. District Court cases regarding computer document forensics, writes in that the CBS News document "has all sorts of problems... The typefaces weren't available on typewriters in 1973."

The typefaces listed and linked below, by the way, do not have “curly” quotes, only "straight" ones. Oddly, you'll notice the CBS documents, like the Kerry Spot, have both, sometimes in the same document. (On the Kerry Spot, this is a result of transferring text from a word processing program into web-publishing program Moveable Type. (A link using curly quotes won't link correctly, which means every link has to be checked to make sure it has the right kind of quotes.)

CBS had better have one heck of a defense for this.

ABC News is running this story on the memos authenticity: "Son of Late Officer Questions Bush Memos"

And this report, filed for The Weekly Standard by staff writer Stephen F. Hayes :

There are several reasons these experts are skeptical of the authenticity of the Killian memos. First the typographic spacing is proportional, as is routine with professional typesetting and computer typography, not monospace, as was common in typewriters in the 1970s. (In proportional type, thin letters like "i" and "l" are spaced closer together than thick letters like "W" and "M". In monospace, all the letter widths are the same.)

Second, the font appears to be identical to the Times New Roman font that is the default typeface in Microsoft Word and other modern word processing programs. According to Flynn, the font is not listed in the Haas Atlas--the definitive encyclopedia of typewriter type fonts.

Third, the apostrophes are curlicues of the sort produced by word processors on personal computers, not the straight vertical hashmarks typical of typewriters. Finally, in some references to Bush's unit--the 111thFighter Interceptor Squadron--the "th" is a superscript in a smaller size than the other type. Again, this is typical (and often done automatically) in modern word processing programs. Although several experts allow that such a rendering might have been theoretically possible in the early 1970s, it would have been highly unlikely. Superscripts produced on typewriters--the numbers preceding footnotes in term papers, for example--were almost always in the same size as the regular type.

So can we say with absolute certainty that the documents were forged? Not yet. Xavier University's Polt, in an email, offers two possible scenarios. "Either these are later transcriptions of earlier documents (which may have been handwritten or typed on a typewriter), or they are crude and amazingly foolish forgeries. I'm a Kerry supporter myself, but I won't let that cloud my objective judgment: I'm 99% sure that these documents were not produced in the early 1970s."

Says Flynn: "This looks pretty much like a hoax at this point in time."

CBS, in a statement Thursday afternoon, said it stands by the story. The network claims that its own document expert concluded the memos were authentic. There are several things CBS could do to clear up any confusion:

(1) Provide the name of the expert who authenticated the documents for Sixty Minutes.

(2) Provide the original documents to outside experts--William Flynn, Gerald Reynolds, and Peter Tytell seem to be the consensus top three in the United States--for further analysis.

(3) Provide more information on the source of the documents.

(A spokeswoman for CBS, Kelly Edwards, said she was overwhelmed with phone calls and did not respond to specific requests for comment.)

[NOTE: You can see the memos for yourself on the CBS website: here, here, here, and here.]


NationalReviewOnline "The Kerry Spot" writer Jim Geraghty has just revealed the nail in CBS's coffin -- and gives credit to for it's origination:

As much as the Kerry Spot has tried to keep up with this, PowerLine has been on top of this story all day long. That site just presented what ought to be the straw that breaks the camel's back:

In the August 18, 1973 memo "discovered" by 60 Minutes, Jerry Killian purportedly writes:

Staudt has obviously pressured Hodges more about Bush. I'm having trouble running interference and doing my job.

But wait! Reader Amar Sarwal points out that General Staudt, who thought very highly of Lt. Bush, retired in 1972.

Okay, CBS. The ball's in your court. Explain all this. Make all of this make sense. Don't completely ignore all of this, like you just did on the CBS Evening News.

If CBS ignores this, and gives no counterargument, no defense, then the general public will have no choice but to conclude that the network ran with a hoax - and now refuses to retract a lie.

[Posted 09/09 07:11 PM]



Sept. 15, 2004...

Guys in Pajamas bust CBS?

John Fund of the Wall Street Journal opines today about what he considers to be “a watershed media moment” [LINK.] Referring to the CBS/Bush memos debate last Friday on FoxNews between former vice president of CBS News Jonathan Klein and The Weekly Standard writer Stephen Hayes, Fund writes:

Mr. Klein dismissed the bloggers who are raising questions about the authenticity of the memos: "You couldn't have a starker contrast between the multiple layers of check and balances [at '60 Minutes'] and a guy sitting in his living room in his pajamas writing."

He will regret that snide disparagement of the bloggers, many of whom are skilled lawyers or have backgrounds in military intelligence or typeface design. A growing number of design and document experts say they are certain or almost certain the memos on which CBS relied are forgeries.

Fund writes of a ‘defensive’ Dan Rather going on the air last Friday and claiming a counterattack from partisan political operatives. And says that ‘in reality, traditional journalism now has a new set of watchdogs in the "blogosphere."




Sept. 23, 2003

Early in September, President Bush had this to say regarding John Kerry's flip-flopping on the issues

Kerry "woke up yesterday morning with yet another new position,
and this one's not even his own; it is that of his one-time rival,
Howard Dean," Bush told thousands of supporters at a rally
in the Kansas City suburbs.
Bush said Kerry "even used the same words Howard Dean did
back when he supposedly disagreed with him ...
Senator Kerry flip-flops.
We were right to make America safer by removing Saddam Hussein from power."



Sept. 28, 2004

Kerry’s Foreign Fantasy

John Kerry has made big time arguments for expanding the "international support" in the War On Terror and particularly in Iraq. But according to reports, the French and the Germans are having none of it. (Financial Times) has a good read article detailing this troublesome aspect of Kerry’s foreign policy fantasy: [LINK]

Even though Nato last week overcame members' long-running reservations about a training mission to Iraq and agreed to set up an academy there for 300 soldiers, neither Paris nor Berlin will participate. Michel Barnier, French foreign minister, said last week that France, which has tense relations with Iyad Allawi, the country's interim prime minister, had no plans to send troops “either now or later”.

That view reflects the concerns of many EU and Nato officials, who say the dangers in Iraq and the difficulty of extricating troops already there could make European governments reluctant to send personnel, regardless of the outcome of the US election.

A French government official said: “People don't expect that much would change under a Kerry administration, even if things can only getbetter. We do not anticipate a sudden honeymoon in the event that Kerry replaces Bush. A lot depends on who is in power in both Washington and Baghdad.

“If there's change in both countries then it's possible we would re-examine our position, but I don't expect a massive change either way.”

A German government spokesman declined to comment on the outcome of the US presidential election. But the feeling in Chancellor Gerhard Schröder's office is that, if anything, Berlin is growing less rather than more likely to change its mind as security conditions deteriorate in Iraq.

Mr Schröder would also be unlikely to renege on his 2002 electoral commitment not to send troops as a new general election looms in 2006. There is no sign that the German public, which loathes the US president, would accept risking German lives to salvage what is widely seen as Mr Bush's botched war.

In fact, high-ranking German officials are privately concerned at the prospect of Mr. Kerry becoming president, arguing it would not change US demands but make it more difficult to reject them.

So, what’s the plan, Kerry? Your pseudo-allies aren’t backing you up.



Sept. 30, 2004... The polls continue to show the American public giving President Bush
high ratings for national defense, and John Kerry low ratings...



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