Either the terrorists are with Kerry, or they're with Bush

By Mark Follman
Published October 29, 2004 1:54AM (EDT)

For months right-wing surrogates for the Bush campaign have peddled the idea that Osama Bin Laden wants to see John Kerry in the Oval office. But tonight, Newsweek reports on the Bush administration's rather cozy ties to Libya's Col. Muammar Kaddfi:

"Oct. 28 - A last-minute endorsement of President George W. Bush by a hastily formed coalition of Arab-Americans was coordinated in part by a registered lobbyist for the Libyan regime of Col. Muammar Kaddafi -- a government formally branded by the State Department as a state sponsor of terrorism.

"Randa Fahmy Hudome, who just this month signed a $1.4 million contract to represent the Libyan government, served as a behind-the-scenes 'media consultant' helping to prepare this week's press release praising Bushs record in promoting 'human rights, democracy and self-determination' in the Middle East, a chief organizer of the group told NEWSWEEK. ...

"Until last year, Hudome was a top Bush administration energy official, serving as chief aide on international issues to Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham. Her new role as Washington representative for the Kaddafi regime has raised eyebrows in Washingtons lobbying community -- both because of the lucrative size of her contract and her continued connections with the Bush campaign. Until President Bush lifted most economic sanctions against Libya this summer, citing its cooperation in giving up its nuclear program, it was illegal for Americans to have financial dealings with Libya -- or represent its government in Washington. ...

"'I think its appalling,' said Victoria Pimentel, whose husband, John B. Cummock, was killed in the Lockerbie bombing, and who has objected to the presidents rapprochement with the Libyan government. 'Clearly, you can buy policies and you can buy votes with this administration. Obviously, if you have a lobbyist for the Libyans who is out there trying to get Muslim votes for the president, its a good indication of what this administration is all about.'

"'Its so blatantly obvious that there is coordination between the Bush campaign, the Kaddafi regime and the oil companies,' said Dan Cohen, whose daughter was killed in the Lockerbie bombing. 'If it werent so serious, it would be laughable.' Asked about Hudome's role, Steve Schmidt, deputy communications director for the Bush campaign. said: 'We have hundreds of thousands of people who have volunteered their time to the Bush campaign. She is one of them.' He declined further comment."

Mark Follman

Mark Follman is Salon's deputy news editor. Read his other articles here.

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