Allen & Wadhams: Bully, Bully genre: Polispeak & Six Degrees of Speculation & Video-Philes

Dick Wadhams

The offensive remarks made by Senator George Allen have all the makings of a Dick Wadhams campaign. Wadhams cut his political teeth in Colorado and has been seen as the person behind the rise of Senator Wayne Allard, a Colorado veterinarian. Wadhams went on to orchestrate the campaign against Tom Daschle in South Dakota and is now leading Allen's reelection effort.

From Slate:

The 49-year-old operative comes across as an aging country boy, but he is renowned for running nasty and effective campaigns. In South Dakota he honed his slash-and-burn reputation, relentlessly attacking Daschle about his Washington, D.C., home, luxury car, and lobbyist wife. At one point, Wadhams accused the former minority leader of having "emboldened Saddam Hussein." Thune won, by a slim margin, and gratefully dubbed his campaign manager "the best pit bull out there."

Rove may have figured that recommending Wadhams for the South Dakota race would be the next best thing to taking Daschle down himself. The two operatives, who have known each other since their days in College Republicans, run similar campaigns.

When Wadhams worked for Allard in 1996 and 2002, his two-time opponent Democrat Tom Strickland was widely regarded as the smarter candidate. But Wadhams successfully cast Strickland as an untrustworthy "lawyer-lobbyist" and Allard as a likable, low-key country vet. When it turned out Strickland had made a tidy profit from the IPO of Global Crossing—a company that figured prominently in the corporate scandals of 2002—Wadhams was well-positioned to pounce. Strickland was "up to his mustache in corporate scandal," he proclaimed, and "probably the dirtiest candidate in America."

Another way to control a campaign is to shape its news coverage, and Wadhams found a new way to do that for the Thune campaign. South Dakota Republicans had long accused the Sioux Falls Argus Leader, the state's most influential paper, of being pro-Daschle. When two bloggers, Jason Van Beek and Jon Lauck, began cataloguing alleged acts of bias like lack of criticism of Linda Daschle's lobbying practice, Wadhams hired them as campaign researchers. Wadhams insists he wasn't underwriting the bloggers' online enterprises. But Van Beek and Lauck didn't disclose that the Thune campaign was cutting them checks.

Dick Wadhams is a man many have called Karl Rove's protégé. During Wadhams work in Colorado for Senator Wayne Allard's 2002 reelection, he gave one of the most acerbic victory speeches I have ever witnessed. While gloating at the defeat of Ted Strickland, his comments were vile and hateful. The man is Karl Rove absent a scintilla of decorum and decency...if you can imagine that! It appears that George Allen believes that two bullies are better than one.

From The Daily Show:

Daniel DiRito | August 16, 2006 | 10:39 AM
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