RNC chairman denies GOP engages in voter intimidation, says Dems did intimidating in 2004

Ron Brynaert
Published: Tuesday November 7, 2006

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Appearing on MSNBC this afternoon, Republican National Committee chairman Ken Mehlman categorically denied that his party is engaging in voter intimidation and instead blamed Democrats for alleged "intimidating and harassment" during the 2004 presidential election

Earlier today, NBC News reported that the Federal Bureau of Investigation is probing "several complaints of suspicious phone calls to voters who attempted to misdirect or confuse them about election day."

"Can you say that the Republican Party has nothing to do with that?" Norah O'Donnell asked Mehlman.

"I can," the Republican chief replied. "I can say this: I can say that, first of all, the FBI ought to investigate charges."

Appearing to suggest that the complaints may be false, Mehlman said, "Unfortunately, [in 2004] the Democrats put together a manual that said, 'If there is no allegations of vote fraud and intimidation, allege it anyway.'"

Mehlman is referring to a sentence from a Democratic National Committee manual, distributed in Colorado in 2004, which said, "If no signs of intimidation techniques have emerged yet, launch a 'pre-emptive strike.'"

But a DNC spokeswoman told the St. Petersburg Times two years ago that the manual was designed to fight voter intimidation by "exposing the dirty tricks when they happen, and helping educate local officials and activists about past Republican tactics so they can prevent them from occurring this year," not to make false charges, as many conservative blogs claimed in 2004.

"And in 2004 also, in two states it was the DNC, not the RNC, that had to be stopped by courts from, in the case of Ohio, misleading voters about when the election is; in the case of Florida, harassing Election Day volunteers," Mehlman said today. "It was the Democrats in Wisconsin that slashed the tires of volunteers that wanted to go to the polls and hand out literature."

Mehlman said that he didn't want to hear Democrats make false accusations about alleged GOP voter intimidation.

"So I hope that what we don't hear from the other side is more allegations, when in fact there is no fraud going on, and more intimidating and harassment, which they engaged in the last time, not the Republicans," Mehlman said.