OK

The newest fashion on right-wing websites: Claiming that the Schiavo memo ("this is a great political issue") was forged.

From Powerline:

The memo has three possible origins.  The first possibility is that it was created by a low-level Republican staffer.  This seems possible, but highly unlikely.  Only a very dim-witted staffer would 1) copy word for word from the Traditional Values site, 2) get the Senate bill number wrong, 3) make a number of silly errors, including misspelling Mrs. Schiavo's name as "Teri," and 4) mix comments about political advantage into a "talking points" memo.  Moreover, the Post and ABC have tried to create the impression that the memo is an official, high-level Republican strategy document.  It clearly is not that.

The second possibility is that the memo was created by a lobbying group, presumably the Traditional Values Coalition, since most of the content of the memo comes word for word from their web site.  But the controversial political observations--"the pro-life base will be excited," etc.--are inappropriate for an organization like the Coalition.  They sound as if they are written from the internal perspective of the Republican party ("this is a tough issue for Democrats").

The third possibility is that the memo is a Democratic dirty trick.  At the moment, that looks most likely.  It is easy to picture how the document could have been constructed.  A Democratic staffer wants to put in some language that will sound authentic for a Republican memo.  What does he do?  He steals four paragraphs from the Coalition's web site.  Then he adds the explosive political observations which are the whole point of the exercise--weirdly out of place in a "talking points" memo, but good politics for the Democrats.

From Cliff Kinkaid at the organization Accuracy in Media.
The memo may have been written by some Republican somewhere. But there's no independent evidence at this point that it was authorized by a Republican Senator or written by a top Republican staffer. If the media are confident that the memo is real, let them produce an actual copy and describe in detail how they verified it. There's no reason we should accept their claims about this memo at face value. Didn't we learn anything from Memogate?
So ... bloggers don't think a document is real because it has typos! And it mentions the "pro-life base"!

Hoo-ee! This seems less like Rathergate (which wingers were onto within minutes) and the wishful-thinking "Kerry cheat sheet" incident the week after the debate.

Remember that? http://www.drudgereport.com/dnc57.htm

UPDATE: A story soon to be posted on the American Spectator's website ...

http://www.spectator.org/dsp_article.asp?art_id=7935

Republican leadership staffers now believe the document was generated out of the Democratic opposition research office set up recently by Sen. Harry Reid, and distributed to some Democratic Senate staffers claiming it was a GOP document, in the hope - or more likely expectation -- that it would then be leaked by those Democrats to reporters. In fact, the New York Times stated that it was Democratic staffers who were distributing the "talking points" document. ... Republicans staffers looking into the "talking points" case believe that at least some of the language used for the original Traditional Values Coalition may have come from documents pulled together by the staff of Sen. Mel Martinez, who has been out front on the Schiavo case, and pressed hard for federal action to save her life. But there is no evidence that the talking points were a Martinez staff product.
So, they THINK the memo originated with Democrats, because they don't know where it came from. I smell Pulitzer.

Originally posted to daveweigel on Wed Mar 23, 2005 at 07:03 PM PST.

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