Now Sen. Martinez is protecting staff members
who allegedly helped write the Schiavo "Ain't she grand for politics?!" memo. (Subscription only)
Despite calls by campaign advisers and supporters of Sen. Mel Martinez, the Florida Republican is not going to overhaul his staff in the aftermath of "memogate."
Sources say the Senator does not plan to make any more staff changes beyond that of Martinez's counsel, Brian Darling, who left the office. Darling belatedly admitted circulating a memo that urged Republicans to get involved in the Terri Schiavo case, in part because it could yield political benefits.
Martinez's press secretary, Kerry Feehery, continues to insist that that Schiavo memo was written "unilaterally" by one aide.
However, a Republican source close to the situation said the claim is "preposterous."
The source told HOH that he knows "for certain" that two other senior Martinez staffers helped Darling write the memo and circulate it to other Republican Senators. "Those three were really working it," the source said.
But Feehery said, "That is not accurate." She denied that anyone but Darling was involved in writing the memo. "As far as I'm aware," she said, "there was one person unilaterally writing the memo."
And the Senator continues to insist that he had not read the now-famous memo before he inadvertently handed it to Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa).
Several campaign advisers to Martinez told The St. Petersburg Times last week that they are frustrated with the Senator's handling of the Schiavo memo, and that he should shake up his staff and spend more time focusing on Florida instead of national GOP strategy.
Even the Senator's biggest media defender, Orlando Sentinel columnist Myriam Marquez, wrote that Martinez needs to take responsibility for his staff's actions. "If Martinez didn't know what his lawyer was up to, then the question begs: Who's really running things?" she wrote.
Martinez needs those staffers around to blame for the next scandal. With the new senator from Florida, the buck always
stops somewhere else.
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