Q On Ridge’s security warnings, can the President today guarantee Americans that no terrorist attack can upset the U.S. elections this November, that they will go ahead as planned?
MR. McCLELLAN: Ann, I don’t think anyone can make guarantees. But the full intention is to move forward and hold those elections.
White House non-answer:
“The prospect that Al Qaeda might seek to disrupt the U.S. election was a major factor behind last week’s terror warning by Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge. Ridge and other counterterrorism officials concede they have no intel about any specific plots. But the success of March’s Madrid railway bombings in influencing the Spanish elections—as well as intercepted “chatter” among Qaeda operatives—has led analysts to conclude “they want to interfere with the elections,” says one official”.
“U.S. officials have discussed the idea of postponing Election Day in the event of a terrorist attack on or about that day, a Homeland Security Department spokesman said Sunday.
The department has referred questions about the matter to the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel, said spokesman Brian Roehrkasse, confirming a report in this week’s editions of Newsweek magazine.”
“It was crazy to go ahead with an election a mere three days after the Madrid massacre….. But I do know that reversing course in the wake of a terrorist attack is inexcusable.”
(David Brooks, March 16, 2004)
“The government needs to establish guidelines for canceling or rescheduling elections if terrorists strike the United States again, says the chairman of a new federal voting commission. Such guidelines do not currently exist, said DeForest B. Soaries, head of the voting panel.”
(AP, June 25, 2004)
“A steady stream of intelligence, including nuggets from militant-linked Web sites, indicates al-Qaida wants to attack the United States to disrupt the upcoming elections, federal officials said Thursday.”
(AP, July 9, 2004)
“Osama bin Laden could have made a good living as a political consultant if he did not choose to kill babies instead. The al Qaeda/Ba’ath Party strategy in Iraq and Afghanistan is, at core, a political one. They seek not just to pull Iraq into chaos, but to defeat President Bush as well.”
(“Terrorists for Kerry”, Dick Morris, NY Post, June 5, 2004)
“‘While a political resolution to the election might not be quick and might be a brawl, Souter argued that the nation would still accept it,’ Kaplan wrote. Souter tried desperately to get Kennedy to vote with the minority, according to the book, but he wouldn’t flip. ‘He thought the trauma of more recounts, more fighting — more politics — was too much for the country to endure,’ Kaplan wrote.” (Kennedy had been intimidated specifically by the “Brooks Brothers Riot” of paid Republican staffers which ended the recount in Miami-Dade County; that was the only actual violence that there had been, though a number of Republicans had stated their unwillingness to accept a result which made would put Gore in the Presidency).
(Story: AP/CBS, Sept 10, 2001)
“Not only is the country’s leading touch-screen voting system so badly designed that votes can be easily changed, but its manufacturer is run by a die-hard GOP donor who vowed to deliver his state for Bush next year.”
(Salon, Sept. 23, 2003)