On the other, I was bothered by the sense that, even as Lowell and Ben protested they were simply reporting news, they were also exploiting, for the political gain of their chosen candidate, Terry McAuliffe, the anger and grief of these young men. It does not matter that their letter did not say, “Vote for Terry,” because all concerned understood that, given the current state of the race, a vote not cast for Creigh would accrue to the benefit of Terry McAuliffe.
So, even as controversy over the letter the swirled on the blogs and on Twitter, I stayed out of it, unsure of my own sense of the situation. I was struck by how Hokies, in particular, were most upset by the exploitive nature of the political attack launched by NLS and Blue Virginia using this letter.
But new revelations force me to comment.
Challenged on his blog that he was working in concert with the McAuliffe campaign, Lowell wrote:
This didn't come from a "campaign," it came from Omar Samaha and Colin Goddard.
To my knowledge, swear on a stack of bibles and all that, this was sent out independently by Omar Samaha and Colin Goddard, picked up by the Virginian-Pilot, then blogs and NBC12.
But, it turns out that Samaha and Goddard, while sincere in the thoughts expressed in their letter, did receive help from the McAuliffe campaign.
Ryan Nobles at Decision Virginia reports:
However, when I asked Goddard directly about the involvement of either campaign, he confirmed that he had received assistance from Terry McAuliffe’s campaign. Specifically he said the campaign provided he and Samaha with a press e-mail list to distribute their statement. He said the e-mail was supposed to go out Sunday, but an error was made in the sending process delaying it until today.
What a sad way for Terry McAuliffe to end this campaign.
Lowell is a friend of mine, and so I’ll take him at his word that he knew nothing of the McAuliffe campaign’s involvement in this when he swore on a stack of Bibles, but I can only assume that his earlier statements, in the parlance of Watergate, are “no longer operative.”
Beyond that, I won’t compound the sadness of the events that have transpired tonight, and will simply close with Creigh’s comment on this tragic episode:
“My heart has gone out to all of the victims and the families of the Virginia Tech tragedy. There are certain events that happen in our lifetime that are above politics.”