The NRSC spent a chunk of the weekend pounding Chris McDaniel’s campaign because some people there knew three weeks ago about Cochran’s wife being secretly videotaped in a nursing home but said nothing until the story finally broke on Saturday. Read Ed’s post this morning for the details on that. There’s no evidence that McDaniel’s campaign was involved in the harassment — on the contrary, his campaign manager denounced it in a staff e-mail as soon as she heard of it — but after the news about it broke on Saturday, they claimed incorrectly that they’d never heard of the clip before. Cochran fans wanted to know: Why the cover-up? Why sit on information about Cochran’s wife being harassed and then pretend you knew nothing? You should have taken it to the police immediately and told the truth.
Good questions. And not just for McDaniel’s campaign.
Sen. Thad Cochran’s (R-Miss.) legal team apparently held onto information concerning a man’s taping of the senator’s bedridden wife for as many as two weeks before turning it over to the police.
Cochran’s campaign spokesman, Jordan Russell, told The Hill Monday that the campaign was made aware of a video allegedly taken by local political blogger Clayton Kelly of Cochran’s infirm wife on the day it was posted, April 26. He said the campaign conducted its own investigation of the video before alerting Cochran to it and deciding to bring it to an attorney…
“We were made aware of [the video] that morning because people were emailing us saying, ‘Did you see this?’” Russell told The Hill. “We conducted our own review for a few days and then went to Sen. Cochran about it, and that was when the decision was made to turn it over to the attorneys.”…
It’s unclear why Cochran’s attorney, Don Clark, held the information for two weeks before alerting police. Clark did not respond to a request for comment.
They investigated for a few days, got the green light from Cochran to go to their lawyers, and then the lawyers … sat on it. How come? Did they have a legal reason to do so or was this a matter of waiting until we were a bit closer to the June 3rd primary before pushing this to the media? If Team Cochran had gone to the cops at the start of May, the political mudslinging at McDaniel would have played out during the first half of the month, giving him time to recover. By waiting until late May, voter perceptions can be shaped with less time for repairs– even though, as noted above, there’s no evidence at all that McDaniel’s team was complicit in the videotaping.
Also, why would they have conducted their own investigation before telling Cochran what happened? He deserved to know ASAP, if only to make sure his wife had extra security around to keep creepers from peeping through her windows.
By the way, not one but two new polls from outside groups show McDaniel with a small lead over Cochran. The establishment/tea party Armageddon that everyone was hoping for in Kentucky is going to end up fizzling tomorrow night, but Mississippi might end up filling the gap.