The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Monday, July 10, 2006

PA Congressman uses push polling against rival

A few months ago, a story came out about a bizarre attack by Rep. Curt Weldon. He accused his Democratic opponent, Joe Sestak, of being a carpet bagger and somehow anti-Pennsylvania for not living full-time in the state. Unmentioned was the fact that Sestak was working in the Pentagon at the time, and staying close to both his job and his young daughter, who was hospitalized with a brain tumor.

Then there was Weldon's insane attempt to make himself the hero of the Iraq war by organizing a Memorial Day photo-op that would show him personally excavating WMDs. His staff convinced him to abandon the plan, since it would make him look like a raving lunatic.

Now Joe Sestak is the target of push polling. For anyone who might have forgotten, the most notorious example of push polling is the Bush campaign's primary fight against John McCain in North Carolina, when likely voters were asked over the phone "would you be more or less likely to vote for John McCain if you knew that he had fathered an illegitimate black child?"

Enter Curt Weldon:

Dennis Berry of West Chester said that Venture Data L.L.C., a Salt Lake City polling company, asked him a series of negatively framed questions about Sestak, including one he described as outlandish. Berry said he was asked if he would be more or less likely to vote for Sestak if he knew Sestak "had an opportunity to capture Osama bin Laden in Sudan and passed."

Sestak, a retired Navy vice admiral, served as a National Security Council official in the Clinton White House. He said he had heard about the phone calls, but not the details of the message - and nothing about bin Laden.

Like the McCain/illegitimate child story, the bin Laden/Sudan story is a fraud-- but it's one that's regularly trotted out by the likes of Rush Limbaugh.