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More Trouble For Ben Cardin Over Persuasionatrix Blogger

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The Associated Press is on the Persuasionatrix story, a story that we broke here at Wizbang Politics. They've neglected to mention our work or that of Jon Ward at The Washington Times Inside Politics Blog, but they've got most of the facts straight, aside from the bloggers identity. The Persuasionatrix is Ursula Gruber, a Chicago native who was recently hired by the Cardin campaign. Far from being "a junior staffer," as Cardin's campaign spokesman Oren Shur contends in the AP story, her journal indicates she was fully in charge of operation of one of the regions of the state, with numerous direct reports and interns.

Anyone who read down the archived copy of the blog could have determine that...

In order to maximize our voter contact efforts, a friendly competition sprang up between my region and the next one down. It very quickly became heated. One of my county organizers used to work out of the other office, and wandered around the whole day talking about boosting their numbers.

And this...

I Like it on Top My organizers have assistants and their assitants have interns! Hee!!

I love my job.

And finally this...

I'm based out of campaign headquarters, right outside of Baltimore, so it's not like before where I was off in the middle of nowhere with only a few coworkers who were either useless or didn't like me a whole lot. This is an awesome bunch, and with the finance, press, field, GOTV, fundraising and volunteer coordinators all in the same office, you get a much better mix of people.

There are drinking games and nonsense, and gleeful exclaiming over the Chipotle online ordering (it's 30 minutes away, so we put together a giant order and send the interns).

There are definite perks to starting as senior staff. I show up and everyone listens, I don't have to do the majority of the grunt work or obnoxious calls. I have interns for that.

Do those sound like the words of "a junior staffer," essentially inconsequential in the operation of the campaign? I don't think so...

Prior to publishing the original story I contacted Cardin media relations staffer Steve Marks asking for a comment about the story. He took the information in a follow-up e-mail and never responded to my request for comment. Calls to Marks and campaign spokesman Oren Shur have not been returned for two days, which I can only assume is because they don't think they need to respond to a "blogger." That kind of contempt for blogs is not uncommon for long-time Capitol Hill incumbents in both parties. Those of us who actually attempt to engage congressional offices on stories are more often than not simply ignored.

But such treatment, though not uncommon, is seriously short-sighted. They had an opportunity to get their message out in the original story and deliberately chose to ignore that chance. Because they refused to elaborate on the information I uncovered, I decided to do what bloggers do best - go back to the source material and report from primary sources.

In this case the Cardin camp is still dodging the issue... Ursula Gruber was not even remotely "a junior staffer."


Update: The American Spectator gets the spin from Maryland Democratic insiders... First they were going to claim she was a Republican plant, but that plan fell through when they realized she was was steered to Cardin campaign through MoveOn.org and the Democratic National Committee. The Center for Responsive Politics' website lists Ms. Gruber as having been paid $3,609 by the Democratic party in late 2004. They fell for the "junior staffer" spin though...

Update 2: Congressman Ben Cardin was on WBAL's "The Buzz" with Chip Franklin and Clarence Mitchell IV Monday, repeating the story about Gruber being "a junior staffer" who worked for the campaign for about a month. He was right on the timing, though a bit disingenuous about her duties...

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Comments (6)

I am offended that Cardin f... (Below threshold)

I am offended that Cardin fired this staffer. What can I do to make him issue an apology? Or is it that only hypocritical Democrats and liberals are allowed to demand apologies?

Has anyone interviewed Grub... (Below threshold)
Dale:

Has anyone interviewed Gruber yet?

Faster please.

Its fascinatng how eager ri... (Below threshold)
Doubting Thomas:

Its fascinatng how eager right-wingers are to take this blogger's word for everything, yet no one has met her and she's unavaliable for comment.

Here is someone who is supposedly a supporter of Cardin making some very derogatory comments about the campaign and yet she's looked upon as a paragon of virtue. What joke.

To call her page a "blog" is charitable, to say the least.

Interesting point. She very... (Below threshold)
Dale:

Interesting point. She very well could be distorting what really takes place on the campaign, but I sort of doubt it.

Here's why:
1) We know that many people on the Left believe Steele to be an Uncle Tom Oreo. They just do. I hear them say it. He's not a legit brother because he is a conservative.

2) The sort of juvenille game folks were playing on Cardin's staff is what happens in many offices and on many campaigns. Think about what they must say about Katherine Harris? No doubt Steele has some ridiculously silly shenanigans going on in his office as well that could be exploited, but likely not as racially charged as those that Ms. Gruber reports.

3) I like Ben Cardin and I don't think any less of him as a result of this. Well, maybe a little, as it makes him seem too PC to be effective - in regards to not firing the incompetent workers because of their race.
He did do the right thing once he learned of all this. Then again, what choice did he have.

What I think is really juicy about this whole story is the idiocy of Ursula Gruber. This is a person who went to Latin School in Chicago? What are they teaching kids there nowadays? What world is she living in thinking she was going to get away with this?

How lacking in self-awareness is this woman?
In the end it really doesn't tell us anything about who would be the more effective Senator, but it tells us loads about Ms. Gruber, who no doubt is reading this and thinking - SHUT UP ABOUT ME ALREADY!!

Funny how it feels when one is on the receiving end of this sort of thing, huh Ursula?

Well cheer up dearie. It's America 2006. If you play your cards right you can spin this into a new job as a jouralist or gossip columnist. Heck, left-wingers won't think any less of you. You may get some crap from those old creepy Jews, but screw them - you can just claim it was your part of fighting the Israeli Lobby.

Come to think of it, perhaps you could get a gig at the Nation of Islam's Final Call. You trashed two of their key targets in your short lived blog: sell out house negroes and jews.

Now, perhaps I've been a bit hard on Gruber.
Ursula - how about explaining your side of the story to the world. What really happened?

I like what Ursula wrote: i... (Below threshold)
Nick:

I like what Ursula wrote: it gave me insight into a campaign staff, and was honest, thoughtful and n ot, IMO, racist. Sorry that Cardin had to fire her, but understood why he did

It's Mr Anonymous again. I... (Below threshold)
Decidedly Anonymous:

It's Mr Anonymous again. I talked to her recently, and she has been understandably upset about coverage on Whizbang. She wants absolutely nothing to do with this situation anymore, and finds it extremely embarassing. I told her about the archive of her blog on this site, but I have a feeling you guys won't take it down. Unfortunately, I think you'll have a hard time trying to get her to post here.




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