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Drudge 'retracts' story on Howard Dean after receiving letter from DNC lawyer

John Byrne
Published: Monday May 22, 2006

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Drudge story includes Raw Story quote

Conservative heavyweight Matt Drudge has all but retracted a story about Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean after receiving a letter from the DNC's lawyers, RAW STORY can report.

Saying he took the DNC at their word -- and declining to mention the fact he had received a letter from a DNC lawyer asking him to take the story down -- Drudge posted an update to a story claiming that Chairman Dean had intervened in the New Orleans mayoral race. His update noted that the DNC had vehemently denied the report.

"The DRUDGE REPORT takes chairman Dean and his spokesman at their word," Drudge wrote. He did not offer an explicit retraction.

DNC communications director Karen Finney said the move came only after the Committee's lawyer had penned a note to Drudge asking him to take the story down.

"Because of the seriousness of the inaccuracy and the reckless disregard of the facts I did ask our lawyer to send a note to Drudge asking him to take the story down," Finney told RAW STORY.

ďIím disappointed that Drudge would run such a grossly inaccurate story particularly when it comes to protecting the peopleís right to vote,Ē she added.

The Democratic National Committee consulted its attorneys Monday after a story claimed that Dean had intervened in New Orleans' recent mayoral race.

On Sunday evening, The Drudge Report claimed that Dean threw his support behind mayoral candidate and sitting Lieutenant Governor Mitch Landrieu (D-LA) over sitting mayor Ray Nagin. Finney said the report was "absolutely false."

Finney was amused to find her quote -- given only to RAW STORY -- in Drudge's story. She said she had not spoken to Drudge.

"That's you," she told me, referring to Drudge's latest article.

"The DNC does not as a policy get involved in Democratic primaries," Finney said. "We did have poll watchers out to make sure people werenít disenfranchised but it wasnít on behalf of any candidate. Itís completely outrageous."

The Committee's involvement in the New Orleans race, she said, was limited to get out the vote efforts and placing poll watchers to ensure residents got an opportunity to vote. The DNC also set up a toll-free 800 number to help displaced residents locate their polling area.

"The only thing that the DNC did was a campaign helping ensure that displaced voters had an opportunity to vote," she said. "It wasnít in support of any candidate or frankly any party... We focused on helping people find out where they needed to get out to vote."

Ironically, the DNC's effort may have actually increased support for Nagin -- those who voted by absentee ballot were more likely to support Nagin than Landrieu. An email to Matt Drudge was not returned.