Another Dirty Trick against Mitt in Iowa?

Jonathan Martin's Blog
November 28, 2007

Watch out South Carolina, Iowa is shaping up to be just as down and dirty this cycle.

Hawkeye State Republicans received an e-mail yesterday purportedly from David Overholtzer, co-chair of the Pottawattamie County GOP and a paid Romney-backer there.

"Giuliani and his Pedophile Friends," read the eyebrow-raising subject line of a message that was forwarded by one of Romney's rivals in Iowa.

"If Rudy becomes president, is he planning on putting people like Catholic priest Msgr. Alan Placa in his Cabinet?" asked the person claiming to be Overholtzer in the body of the message, imploring fellow Iowans to keep Placa in mind when they vote and to pass the word about this association.

Placa, of course, is the longtime friend of Giuliani who has been accused of child molestation. Giuliani has stood by Placa and the former priest works for the former mayor's consulting firm.

In large font, it links to a story about Placa, "Giuliani Adviser is an Accused Pedophile Priest?"

But, in a phone interview this morning, Overholtzer emphatically denied that he had sent the e-mail.

"I'm mad as hell as about it," he said, adding that he first heard about the message when a fellow GOP activist contacted him last night to ask if he had sent it. "I said, 'Hell no I wouldn't send that out.'"

Overholtzer said it looked like a dirty trick. "I'm very confident it was somebody trying to make the Romney campaign look bad."

He said he had his suspicions, but was not willing to share them.

Overholtzer also said that he does not have a gmail address.

This last point is crucial. The bottom of the message includes what is clearly meant to look like a forwarded message from another party. Below the "Sent," "To," and "Subject" line is a notation meant to give the impression that Romney's campaign is behind the anti-Giuliani message.

"No; per Jill, send the Rudy one about the priest to the Evangelical list, gmail it, thanks."

"Jill" is assumedly meant to be Jill Latham, Romney's Iowa political director. The reference to gmail appears to portray the Romney campaign as trying to cover the tracks.

Tim Albrecht, Romney's Iowa spokesman, said he first saw the message yesterday and said he knew nothing about it.

The use of gmail and the obvious effort to portray this as a Romney smear would make it seem like this indeed a dirty trick. Additionally, the two messages have no line between them, which would indicate a somewhat sloppy effort to implicate Romney's campaign as it makes it obvious that there was no initial message actually forwarded.

Anti-Romney forces in Iowa have repeatedly used anonymous gmail accounts to send blast out messages to Republicans to portray the former governor in a negative light.

One sent in early October, for example, sought to trumpet an attack ad by the Log Cabin Republicans group as a positive, saying that "Team Romney" was proud to have the support of a group that "support[s] fairness, freedom, and equality for gay and lesbian Americans."

The full version of this latest e-mail is below the jump.

Date: Tue, 27 Nov 2007 14:36:01 -0500



Subject: Giuliani and his Pedophile Friends

Dear Iowa Voters,

If Rudy becomes president, is he planning on putting people like Catholic priest Msgr. Alan Placa in his Cabinet? I hope not! Remember Fr. Placa when you go to the caucuses, and make sure your friends know, too!

Giuliani Adviser is an Accused Pedophile Priest?

Sent: Tuesday, November 27, 2007 6:26 AM

To: Overholtzer, David

Subject: gmail blast

No; per Jill, send the Rudy one about the priest to the Evangelical list, gmail it, thanks


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