The fake memo that was real

Crushing the conspiracy theories of the right-wing blogosphere, an aide for a Republican senator admits he crafted a memo calling the Schiavo case a "great political issue" for the GOP.

Published April 7, 2005 12:46PM (EDT)

It has become an article of faith among right-wing bloggers -- and, as of yesterday, the Washington Times -- that a memo identifying the Terri Schiavo case as a "great political issue" for Republicans was a fake, planted by the Democrats or created out of whole cloth by the liberal media conspiracy.

Only it wasn't.

As the Washington Post reports this morning, a staffer for Republican Sen. Mel Martinez admitted yesterday that he wrote the memo. The admission -- and with it, the resignation of Brian Darling, Martinez' legal counsel -- came after Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin revealed that Martinez had handed Harkin a copy of the memo on the Senate floor during debate on the Schiavo bill. Like every other Republican senator, Martinez had previously insisted that he'd never seen the memo before.

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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