Sunday, April 23, 2006

Ralph Reed's decline continues

In a debate in Buckhead -- the affluent northside of Atlanta -- a startling revelation in the campaign for Georgia's lieutenant governor:

The Republican campaign for lieutenant governor in 1998 was so bitter, so dirty, that Casey Cagle and another top Republican Senate leader each gave a $1,000 apology to the Democratic victor, Mark Taylor.
The admission from Cagle came during a Saturday debate with Ralph Reed, the former head of the Christian Coalition and Cagle's Republican rival for lieutenant governor.
But Cagle said it was Reed, as a fledgling political consultant, who was responsible for a "horrible, horrible" campaign for lieutenant governor by Fulton County Commission then-Chairman Mitch Skandalakis, in which Taylor was wrongly accused of drug addiction.
"Cleaning up Ralph's mess," said Cagle, a Gainesville businessman, after the morning debate in Buckhead. ...


Republicans still believe that African-American reaction to Skandalakis' campaign, widely viewed as racially divisive, led to the defeat of Guy Millner, the Republican candidate for governor that year, and the election of Democrat Roy Barnes.

Skandalakis, a Sandy Springs lawyer, was among Reed's first political clients after Reed left as executive director of the national Christian Coalition.
The ad that prompted the apology featured a Taylor look-alike shuffling down the hallway of what was meant to be a drug rehabilitation center. Taylor had sdmitted to using cocaine and marijuana in the early 1980s, but the TV spot suggested that Taylor's drug use had continued.
Taylor filed a $1 million slander suit against Skandalakis. It was settled for $50,000, and Taylor gave the money to charity.
"It's disheartening to know that some of the horrible, horrible ads that were run in this process were actually directed by my opponent," Cagle said Saturday. "They were not factual. They were downright wrong."


You can go read the whole thing. Reed, of course, denies any association with the notorious 1998 ads, just like he denies having known that Jack Abramoff's money came from Indian casino tribes. People around Reed keep going to federal prison -- three years ago, Reed's former client Skandalakis copped a plea in a federal bribery case -- and Reed keeps walking away from these ethical disasters. Casey Cagle, however, may finally succeed in giving Reed a long overdue lesson in accountability.

Previously on Ralph Reed:

4/20: WSJ notices Reed's problems
3/11: Mene, mene, tekel, upharsin
3/4: Reed "flat-out wrong."

-- McCAIN

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