"The element of surprise is everything"

Democrats hoped to surprise Republicans with their national security rollout. They failed.

By Tim Grieve
March 27, 2006 10:00PM (UTC)
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What were we just saying?

Congressional Democrats will unveil their national security campaign strategy at a press conference Wednesday featuring lots of cops and a vow to implement all of the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission if Democrats gain control of Congress in 2006. How do we know this? Because a supposedly secret e-mail message planning the event found its way into the hands of the GOP, which then leaked it to the press.


Roll Call has the sorry story. Democratic media consultant and former John Kerry campaign spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter sent out the message in the hope of enlisting some law enforcement types to turn out for the event. "Were trying to keep our roll-out a close hold for right now, so press doesnt pick up on it," Cutter wrote to her intended recipient. "The element of surprise is everything these days!" Republicans are gloating about being able to spoil the surprise. A spokesman for Harry Reid snaps back: "Im not sure what advance notice on one event is going to do to help Republicans when they have to defend five years worth of incompetent policies."

Incompetent? As Roll Call notes, Nancy Pelosi's office sent out the formal press advisory for Wednesday's event Friday night. That's fine, but in the process, whoever hit "send" managed to include not just the advisory, but a string of e-mail messages in which Reid's office and Cutter debated the relative merits of using the words "real security" versus "comprehensive real security."

Tim Grieve

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

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