Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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September 17, 2008

'TROOPERGATE' HEATS UP.... I'm not sure why Sarah Palin's "Troopergate" scandal isn't getting more play right now. The still largely unknown Republican VP nominee is in the midst of a fairly serious ethics controversy, and after giving her word to cooperate as part of a transparent process, Palin and her team are acting like they have a lot to hide. Usually, for the national media, this would be like waving red meat in front of a hungry dog.

Newsweek reports that Ed O'Callaghan, a former U.S. Attorney dispatched to Alaska by the McCain campaign, is actively trying to shut the investigation down.

The AP reports that Alaska's Republican state attorney general is blocking state employees from honoring legislative subpoenas, and explained yesterday that the officials are refusing to testify as part of the investigation.

TPM's Zachary Roth reports that Alaskan Republicans have enlisted out-of-state, right-wing lawyers to file suit, hoping to halt the investigation.

As we talked about yesterday, Palin is now refusing to cooperate with the investigation she'd vowed to cooperate with, and is claiming executive privilege to shield her gubernatorial emails from scrutiny from investigators.

And even conservative Alaskans are surprised by the new-found, McCain-driven efforts to destroy Walt Monegan's reputation.

You really can't experience the full effect of Monday's news conference featuring Palin spokeswoman Meghan Stapleton unless you hear it for yourself. Stapleton passionately attacked former Commissioner of Public Safety Walt Monegan. Her rhetoric was plain, desperate, and obvious. Her tone, pure shrill.

With intensity, urgency, and alarm in her voice, Stapleton described Monegan's behavior as commissioner as egregious insubordination, full of obstructionist conduct and a brazen refusal to follow instructions.

Did Walt Monegan, former Marine, and lifetime crime fighter deserve this? Of course not.

But history has proven, get in the way of Sarah Barracuda's political ambition, and you won't know what hit you.

In a reasonable political environment, these circumstances would create a genuine feeding frenzy. We have an ethics scandal, involving a candidate for national office who appears to have lied, and who keeps changing her story. We have promises of cooperation, followed by complete and total obduracy. We have powerful Republicans converging to shut down a legitimate investigation.

We have, in other words, a serious political scandal, which a presidential campaign is doing its best to obstruct. Where's the outrage?

Steve Benen 3:20 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (61)

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Posted by: David Bailey on September 17, 2008 at 3:25 PM | PERMALINK

Give them time, they're too busy with all of Sarah Palin's other scandals and lies right now to do this one justice. There's only so much headline space or time, you know.

Posted by: Doug-E-Fresh on September 17, 2008 at 3:25 PM | PERMALINK

When asked about the latest developments, a McCain campaign spokesman said "Moose surge hockey maverick elitist POW mom negro. Did I say 'negro'? I meant to say 'change'."

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on September 17, 2008 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

Dammit David, you beat me to it.

IOKIYAR needs its own Wiki entry with a chronology of examples. That way we can just hyperlink to it as an explanation every time horseshit like this comes out.

Posted by: Keori on September 17, 2008 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

It seems to me that this story is still part of the Palin maelstrom that has dumped a ton of information into the media in a very short amount of time.

And I think it also has a little too much of a he said / she said feel to it, regardless of the facts, thanks to the Republicans' aggressive strategy to portray it as such. If this was a sex scandal, the he said / she said angle would be part of the allure to the media, but for something like an ethics violation, it just seems like another day on Capitol Hill.

The scandal needs something to break this out of the he said / she said mold. Namely, some hard proof that directly contradicts one of the principals.

Posted by: BombIranForChrist on September 17, 2008 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

And by "direct proof", I mean something that is very obvious and simple. If Greenwald has to walk us through it in a 30000 word essay, it's not going to work, even thought it may be right.

Posted by: BombIranForChrist on September 17, 2008 at 3:32 PM | PERMALINK

Some of you have visited Mudflats blog, and other's haven't. Let me make a formal introduction.


Posted by: HopefulOkie on September 17, 2008 at 3:32 PM | PERMALINK

A response should not come from the Obama campaign at all, because they have waited patiently and worked hard to get the focus back on McCain instead of Republican Supergirl. I'm not sure that Palin being in the news is a good idea at all. So maybe it's best they ignore it.

Posted by: The Answer Is Green on September 17, 2008 at 3:33 PM | PERMALINK

What I haven't heard during any of this is what does Alaska law say about how this investigation should proceed?

With all of the accusations of partisanship, etc., one would think that there are laws in place that deal with the procedures for conducting these types of investigations, as well as what entity would have jurisdiction over disputes in the process. I would not think that simply refusing to cooperate would be a viable (or popular) option.

What amazes me even more is the idea that subpoenas could simply be ignored with no legal repurcussions.

Could someone do some actual journalism and find these things out? Simple minds want to know...

Posted by: Mark B. on September 17, 2008 at 3:33 PM | PERMALINK

Keep an eye on Todd Palin. He better be lawyered up. If this thing really heats up for the Governor, youbetter believe Todd will take the fall. McCain/Palin will cut his throat in an instant. It will be Todd Palin's fault and Sarah Palin willpainted as a victimized wife.

Posted by: Saint Zak on September 17, 2008 at 3:33 PM | PERMALINK

I just said this, but I'll say it again. Obama / Biden and the Democratic party cannot let this happen. The Republicans are using all sorts of tricks and doing just what they always do. (FL 2000-recount thugs). Where are the Democrats / ACLU / whoever? The case looks like it's on the verge of being dismissed and the Democrats will have missed a major opportunity to expose Palin for what she really is. Complaining about interference with justice after the fact will do no good and most likely make them look like whiners.

Posted by: Dannyshenanigan on September 17, 2008 at 3:35 PM | PERMALINK

Like they were saying on the blabfests last night, "Thank you for keeping this in the headlines" I don't understand why she wouldn't just admit to yes maybe putting a little undue pressure on because of the emotional involvement and take the slap on the wrist. Typical republican response, like McCain trying to explain away his Fundamentals gaffe by redifining
fundamentals and say if you don't support "fundamentals" you hate the American worker. My god damn head is spinning

Posted by: John R on September 17, 2008 at 3:38 PM | PERMALINK

it looks like that "old boys network" that she said she took on before is really trying to save her backside right now.

Posted by: bc on September 17, 2008 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

This is the year of the "Chickens Coming Home To Roost".

Today most Americans will acknowledge that we were Big Lied into unleashing war on Iraq. Congressional malfeasance has insured those monstrous high crimes will forever remain "off the table". In light of that fact, why expect anybody to give a rat's ass about traditional lies politicians tell on a campaign trail?

Posted by: JW on September 17, 2008 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

Saint Zak -- she won't be painted as a victimized wife. If anything, Todd will be painted as the big strong man standing up to protect his family. Shit. We've listened to this crap so long we can write it ourselves.

I've been following some of the newspapers and blogs up in AK. Many of the Alaskans are pissed and are not taking kindly to the intrusion of "outsiders" meddling in their business. Palin better hope McCain can pull this out of his ass because if she has to go back to AK - she may be ridden out of town on a rail. Apparently Mr. Monegan is much beloved throughout the state.

Posted by: Lori on September 17, 2008 at 3:45 PM | PERMALINK

Where's the outrage?

First thing we do, let's kill all the phoney journalists.

Posted by: Cade on September 17, 2008 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

Steve, get serious.

An ethics scandal isn't nearly as program friendly as lipstick on pigs, mooseburgers and preggo slut unmarried daughter. ethics are booooring. Besides, you can expect 'Muricans to think about something that takes longer than the average morning dump to understand.

/snark off

Posted by: WYLDpIRATE on September 17, 2008 at 3:47 PM | PERMALINK

AG: Workers Won't Honor Trooper-Gate Subpoenas

This is so much like one of Bush's headlines with his crooked AGs. Sameness we can bereave in.

That's Just What I Said

Posted by: Dale on September 17, 2008 at 3:50 PM | PERMALINK

With intensity, urgency, and alarm in her voice, Stapleton described Monegan's behavior as commissioner as egregious insubordination, full of obstructionist conduct and a brazen refusal to follow instructions.

Sounds like Monegan is...wait for it...a maverick!

That's a good thing, right?

Posted by: Stefan on September 17, 2008 at 3:50 PM | PERMALINK

How can jounalists talk to anyone when it appears the entire state is under a McCain campaign gag order? Her "pastor" is on record (there was reporter among the parish faithful at the church) telling the parishoners not to talk to any reporters. AK seems to be like a small town and the word is out - don't cross Sarah. People are afraid for their jobs and livelihoods.

Posted by: Lori on September 17, 2008 at 3:51 PM | PERMALINK

Usually, for the national media, this would be like waving red meat in front of a hungry dog.

If it involved a Democrat, of course. But since it involves a Republ....hey, look over there!

Posted by: Stefan on September 17, 2008 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

It's more of the media obsession with balance over substance and accuracy. It's a huge story, but without a balancing scandal from Team Obama, they're not going to touch it. It would be unfair in the tiny brains of our media gatekeepers.

How they got to the point of shielding voters from a candidate's scandals is bewildering. It's precisely the kind of information voters should want to process before making their choices.

Posted by: JoeW on September 17, 2008 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

I just think the financial system's shakiness has pushed this off the front page for the time being. I only hope that the situation is contained enough for us to return to things like this in the coming weeks. It may not be.

Posted by: larry birnbaum on September 17, 2008 at 3:57 PM | PERMALINK

I'm just wondering how long it's going to be before the Republicans start pretending the investigation didn't even start until after Palin became the running mate, and that it was clearly motivated by a desperate desire to tear her down. Probably another week or so.

Posted by: Stephen Stralka on September 17, 2008 at 3:59 PM | PERMALINK

My theory is that outrage over complex situations like these doesn't happen at internet speed. This can be a serious problem because then serious matters lag behind items that reptilian brains can get worked up about quickly, like lipstick on pigs.

Bigger scandals (Watergate, Iran-Contra) take longer to unravel. For all our bitching about Whitewater and every other manufactured item thrown at the Clintons, those didn't unfold over mere days either. Unfortunately, we could use some quick action in this case.

I think the media (at large) will pay attention, sooner or later, as long as there's someone advancing the story. Kinda like how they're finally picking up on McCain's issues with lying.

Posted by: short fuse on September 17, 2008 at 4:02 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe it's just that financial news is pretty big at the moment?

Also, I like this trend where Barak doesn't have to say anything, and reality just keeps smacking McCain around. Hopefully it'll keep up, and polls will suggest American voters regaining sanity.

Posted by: Ben on September 17, 2008 at 4:03 PM | PERMALINK

I think the outrage will come. This scandal, which was well under way on the day she was picked (and thus will reflect more and more on McCain), is very easy to understand. Very easy. We have a vindictive, abusive governor who fires an honorable and respected police commissioner because he won't join in governor's personal vendetta. Petty abuse -- it's the worst quality in a boss.

Two related, easy-to-understand themes. First, she also fired town's police chief when she was mayor. This "conservative" puts "law and order" behind petty personal and/or political concerns.

Second, the state public safety commissioner was pushing the issue of sex crimes, which Palin doesn't seem interested in. And this ties in with her days as mayor, when her town made rape victims pay for rape kit.

This woman is nothing if not consistent: beneath the pretty facade, she's downright ugly.

Posted by: CMcC on September 17, 2008 at 4:04 PM | PERMALINK

Usually, for the national media, this would be like waving red meat in front of a hungry dog.

And this would be the so-called "liberal media" we keep hearing about, at that.

Posted by: Gregory on September 17, 2008 at 4:11 PM | PERMALINK

Usually, for the national media, this would be like waving red meat in front of a hungry dog.

If it were focused on a Democrat, maybe. Or were you thinking of some other nation's national media?

Posted by: on September 17, 2008 at 4:12 PM | PERMALINK

We have, in other words, a serious political scandal, which a presidential campaign is doing its best to obstruct. Where's the outrage?

Seriously, though, that's easy. There's neither a Democrat nor a blowjob involved.

Posted by: Gregory on September 17, 2008 at 4:13 PM | PERMALINK

We have, in other words, a serious political scandal, which a presidential campaign is doing its best to obstruct. Where's the outrage?

With the traditional media, it's okay if you're a Republican.

Posted by: CJ on September 17, 2008 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

Read this:


Posted by: InnerGeek on September 17, 2008 at 4:17 PM | PERMALINK

Betsy baby-Who sent yoou with the usual lies and obfuscation.
Riddle me this. Why did Palin agree to the same exact investigation by the same exact people befor she was nominated for VP ?

Posted by: Gandalf on September 17, 2008 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK

Just remember, folks... there are many planks in the party platform, but only one glue that holds it together: IOKIYAR

Posted by: IOKIYAR on September 17, 2008 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK

Seems pretty clear there is something to hide, and given how popular Monegan continues to be, coupled with her fulsome praise mere weeks before firing him for "cause" [as soon as they can get a story with legs], it is really in McSame's best interest to bury this.

However, the sourdoughs have an independent streak as a consequence of living where they are, and will not take lightly to being told what to do. Some will roll over but not enough. Adding to that, Palin has political enemies on both sides of the aisle and no real accomplishments as Governor. So, she needs this to die fast.

However, it will not, and when you see that she is trying to torpedo her own investigation on the personnel board (all of them her appointees, BTW) before a decision is tossed out there tells me that this is a real stinker.

They can't stonewall it past the election without it harming the McSame campaign. If bad news comes out (as I think it will) it will harm McSame as well. And Monegan won't go quietly.

Bwa HaHaHaHa

Posted by: rugger0 on September 17, 2008 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

The guys running the investigation of Palin are max donors to her opponent's campaign.


Posted by: betsy baby

The legislature, and committee conducting the investigation, are controlled by Republicans. HMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM...you're an idiot.

Posted by: Allan Snyder on September 17, 2008 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK


Posted by: Orwell on September 17, 2008 at 4:36 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe someone who knows what's going on up in AK can explain this--what do the investigators do now? Can they enforce compliance with the subpoenas? Does the AG have to move to quash the subpoenas if he won't let the employees cooperate, and are the employees actually prevented from cooperating just because the AG and Palin decided they don't want to cooperate?

What can McCain's lawyers do to actually shut down the investigation? Oh, and is the AG making some sort of executive privilege argument on behalf of others besides Palin? I have to say, it really is better to have an elected AG, because you can see how compromised the appointed ones are. They seem to do better on the federal level, at least until Bush and Gonzalez came along.

Posted by: Allan Snyder on September 17, 2008 at 4:37 PM | PERMALINK

This is incredible, but the McCain/Palin campaign just released an e-mail that purports to show Monegan was fired for seeking funding from the federal government for handling sexual abuse cases in Washington. The e-mail to Monegan from Palin's staff argues that the funding for sexual assault cases was not a priority (although apparently funding for studying crab mating habits was), and that it could interfere with Palin's relationship with Ted Stevens!

This would seem to me to be a tremendous gaffe by the McCain/Palin campaign. I would think they'd rather admit that Palin fired Monegan over the Trooper issue than because he sought funding for handling sexual assault cases and disrupted Palin's close relationship with Ted Stevens.

If I don't see the blogosphere (or, better, Obama's campaign) touting this e-mail, I'll start to think I've gone insane. Palin supports money for studying crab mating habits, but not for handling sexual assault cases? She was trying to cultivate a relationship with Ted Stevens? Come on, let's get this e-mail into the mainstream media.

Posted by: thomas c on September 17, 2008 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK

There may not be criminal behavior in those emails she is withholding (citing executive priveledge, sound familiar?) but there is certain to be down-home nastiness and I suspect outright racism.

She seems like the kind of person who would write that sort of thing in an email chain. And if she really did say "Sambo beat the Bitch" re: Obama and Hillary, this sort of thing will be found in those emails.

Mark my words. I've got her kind pegged. Smiling Chruch Lady in public but in private a vindictive racist.

Posted by: Monkey on September 17, 2008 at 4:41 PM | PERMALINK

The initial group was composed of 5 Republicans and 3 Democrats...Hardly a Partisan attack.

Shuffling timelines is an old trick- get the people sensory deprived with info overload and then re-frame the issue.

So much for accountability. The rose, she is wilting and starting to stink.

Posted by: RememberNovember on September 17, 2008 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK

The Republicans who supported Murkowski against her will probably be the ones to bring her down to save their own hides from Palin. Of course the real story here is that McCain did such a poor job of vetting her, he is now spending $ and time trying to extricate her from this self-inflicted wound. He rolled the dice (does that bother his shoulders worse than typing?) and now he's having to clean up the mess and hope the election gets here before his support collapses.

Posted by: Th on September 17, 2008 at 4:48 PM | PERMALINK


Further proof McLame didn't vet her.

Instead his inner 'Beavis' just said, huh-huh huh, she's hot.

Posted by: McPain on September 17, 2008 at 4:59 PM | PERMALINK

Is James Baker up there in Alaska yet?

Posted by: bobbob on September 17, 2008 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

I agree about the Republican tactic of shuffling timelines. It worked on Iraq. Bush had been calling Saddam out for months before 9/11. After it happened it was as if he'd never mentioned Iraq before.

Someone ought to start an easy-to-find site chronicling this issue, with dates and whatnot.

When you're dealing with Republicans, you've got to imagine the absolute lowest, basest tactics they could possibly stoop to.

Posted by: chrenson on September 17, 2008 at 5:04 PM | PERMALINK

Also, someone needs to get a handle on all those emails. There has to be someone with them archived for just the right occasion.

Posted by: on September 17, 2008 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK

You progressives better just stick to hacking people's emails.

That hacker turned up evidence of a possible Palin felony. The courts refuse evidence if a government agent committed a crime to gain evidence, but evidence gained illegally by a private citizen is still evidence. If those emails are legit, it's a prima facie case that Palin tried to skirt Alaska's law about preserving goverment documents by using a private email service (Hello, White House!) and she should be indicted.

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on September 17, 2008 at 5:07 PM | PERMALINK

"Orwell" wrote: Troopergate = dead end.

Yeah, that's why Palin is acting so much like she has something to hide.


Posted by: Gregory on September 17, 2008 at 5:08 PM | PERMALINK

it's the investigators who conduct an investigation

So the question stands, why did Palin agree to be investigated by these investigators with co complaints prior to being picked as running mate?

Let me tell you, though, when you call me an idiot, I get all hot and...gushy.

I don't care if it makes you catch on fire, when we see peopel spewing bullshit from right-wing blogs -- without demonstrating the critical thinking ability to know that it doesn't answer the challenges presented -- we calls 'em as we sees 'em.

Posted by: Gregory on September 17, 2008 at 5:36 PM | PERMALINK

I've been re-reading Catch-22 and note Palin has some of the same qualities found in the absurd senior officers whose need to outwit their rivals trumps any other concern including defeating the Germans. The resons given for firing Monaghan sound like they came right out of the mouth of Colonel Cathcart.

Posted by: jack on September 17, 2008 at 6:35 PM | PERMALINK

I'm now looking for Alaska moving back -- closer at least --- to the Obama column.
Perhaps he should take a trip there to emphasize that he's still running for the state....


Posted by: Breadbox on September 17, 2008 at 7:11 PM | PERMALINK

Breadbox @7:11
In fact, Obama has continued to organize in Alaska, and has specifically addressed -- in a video -- the needs and problems of the Alaskan Native population (20% of the state, and with a very high voting percentage -- for those of you who sill have an 'igloo and mukluk' image of Native Alaskans should realize that Walter Monegan, the fired Public Safety Commissioner, is an Alaskan Native).

To quote from a post on the invaluable blog Alaska Real -- and thannks to whoever linked to it in yesterday's open thread:

"Most importantly for Alaskans, his campaign has been plugging away in Alaska, opening office after office in some of the bigger towns, and traveling to the furthest reaches...

"In this Alaska Native issue "fact sheet", he addresses issues that are both general, and yet important to Alaska Native people (reforming No Child Left Behind, veteran's affairs, economy,) specific to Native people in the U.S. (sovereignty, Indian Health Care Reauthorization Act, Native languages), and specific to Alaska Native people (gas pipeline, climate change in Alaska, subsistence in Alaska)...

"Through consultation, campaign time and basic common sense, Barack Obama has already begun to dig into the issues around Alaska, and Alaska Native issues.

"After 44 years in Alaska, and marrying an Alaska Native man, Sarah Palin has yet to form any sort of opinion or plan, though in her campaign for governor, we did discover she "treasured" Alaska Native cultures. And while John McCain has only recently discovered Alaska voters matter, I can only imagine it will be too much to hope he will discover there are Alaska Native people that come with it...

"Ms. Palin is being heralded in the media and by Alaskans as a champion of Alaska, yet a man who has not yet been here (keeping our fingers crossed!) has been working harder to get to know Alaskan and Alaska Native issues, and beginning plans for them, than her."

All from

And this from a state with the minimum electoral votes, that he is viewed as sure to lose.

Again, I'm so glad I am voting FOR Obama, and not just AGAINST McCain.

Posted by: Prup (aka Jim Benton) on September 17, 2008 at 7:58 PM | PERMALINK

Btw, why, when I try to include several paragraphs under a blockquote, does it fail after the first? Do I need not to put an empty line between them?

Posted by: Prup (aka Jim Benton) on September 17, 2008 at 8:01 PM | PERMALINK

They don't answer technical questions on this site, or else I would know why it no longer remembers personal info. STEEEEEVE!!!?

Posted by: Kenji on September 17, 2008 at 8:06 PM | PERMALINK

The corporate media only express outrage in connection with pigs and lipstick.

Posted by: Helena Montana on September 17, 2008 at 8:12 PM | PERMALINK

Where's the outrage?
Yeah where's Bill Bennet? lol.

Troopergate says more about McCain's recklessness than anything else. Putting someone on the ticket who is currently under an ethics investigation is a choice that a teenager wouldn't make. He thinks its cool. It shows how 'mavricky' or courageous he is. But, frankly, its frightening to think that his choices may actually count.

Posted by: John Henry on September 17, 2008 at 8:37 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, Steve. Where's the outrage? Where's the heartfelt, honest call of "bullshit"? Where's the voice of leadership, of informed disgust, of betrayed trust, of righteous indignation? Gee, Steve, maybe someone in a position of high visibility and market penetration with extensive creative freedom should get on that. No, no, no, by all means let's remain above it all and highly analytical, NEVER dirty ourselves with calling a punk a punk; no, by all means pass the buck with a simpering whine of "where's the outrage?". Palin is a criminal, McLiar is a feeble houseboy, and the Republican Party is the most venal, vicious gang of amoral hatemongers since Stalinist Russia. There - was that so hard?

Posted by: Conrad's Ghost on September 17, 2008 at 9:53 PM | PERMALINK

Not allowed to be outraged. The right expects compliance.

Does anybody think anything is going to come out of this "investigation" before November 5th?

Posted by: SteveB on September 18, 2008 at 12:55 AM | PERMALINK

There is a word that best describes Sarah Palin's governing philosophy .. fascist. The powerful rule 'as they please'; the true expression of 'my way, or the highway'. John Dean described its nature and scope in his book Conservatives Without Conscience.

Posted by: Robert Perry Sr. on September 18, 2008 at 1:29 AM | PERMALINK

Th "brilliance" of the Bush administration has been inflicting a case of scandal fatigue on this nation so severe that we can no longer respond to such run of the mill debauchery as troopergate.

Day after day, scandals come and go that in other nations would have immediately brought the government down, unless some guy named Bush or Putin is running the show. This nation is now shockproof and I can't think of a single outrage the Bushies could pull that would finally get this nation out of its seats and scream "enough." We've been numbed from the neck up.

Posted by: petorado on September 18, 2008 at 2:12 AM | PERMALINK

Mods delete me for saying the troopergate is a dead end? I guess I gotta tow the line - yeah this troopergate thing really has me worried. I mean tazing a 10 year old isn't that big of a deal.

Gov. Palin is still unknown?!? We know more about her political career than Obama - the "community organizer" days are still not fully vetted.

Remember the original Troopergate with Bill Clinton. Ah those were the days.

Posted by: Orwell on September 18, 2008 at 8:09 AM | PERMALINK



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