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Sniping underway: White House, Dems, Coakley blast each other

By Sahil Kapur
Tuesday, January 19, 2010 19:16 EDT
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WASHINGTON — Hours before Massachusetts residents cast their final ballots for an important senate election, a circular firing squad has emerged between Democrats, the White House and the Martha Coakley campaign, with aides from all groups blaming each other for the 11th hour perils of a once-certain campaign to retain Ted Kennedy’s senate seat.

Politico revealed a memo on Tuesday afternoon they claimed to have received from “an outside adviser to the [Coakley] campaign” that sought to point the finger at the White House and DNC for her woes.

The memo blamed Democrats for “apathy” and a “failure…to support” her campaign, alleging that “DNC and other Dem organizations did not engage until the week before the election, much too late to aid Coakley operation.”

It said Coakley’s vulnerabilities were in part due to “President Obama’s health care and cap and trade plans,” claiming she dropped in the polls when Brown labeled them “tax increases.”

But the DNC was having none of it, immediately firing back and calling the memo “a pack full of lies and fantasies” and “wishful thinking.” Politico quoted a “senior Democratic Party official” as arguing that the “DNC and the DSCC did everything they were asked.”

The official said this was “one of the worst debacles in American political history” and accused the Coakley camp of “the worst case of political malpractice in memory.”

The Atlantic, which also received the email, added: “Rest assured — this is a SENIOR party official, not some junior party official who is freelancing. This response represents what the DNC, DSCC and the White House think about the Coakley campaign.”

White House senior adviser David Axelrod chimed in publicly, saying Obama — who made a personal appearance in Massachusetts to campaign for Coakley — did his part to help.

“The White House did everything we were asked to do,” Axelrod said, according to the Baltimore Sun. “I think if we had been asked earlier, we would have responded earlier.”

To exacerbate the nightmare for Democrats hoping to retain Ted Kennedy’s seat, Axelrod even offered praise for Republican Scott Brown, saying he had run “a very clever campaign.”

“As a practitioner in politics, my hat’s off to him,” he added.

Not to be outdone, Coakley’s team bit back. The campaign’s top pollster Celinda Lake again slammed the White House and Congressiona. Democrats for its perils in the election.

“If Scott Brown wins tonight he’ll win because he became the change-oriented candidate,” Lake told the Huffington Post. “Voters are still voting for the change they voted for in 2008, but they want to see it. And right now they think they’ve got economic policies for Washington that are delivering more for banks than Main Street.”

Coakley held a thirty-point lead over Brown in polls just months ago and up until just weeks ago was widely considered a shoe-in victory. Latest surveys show Brown leading, though just outside the margin of error.

 
 
 
 
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