Yeah, Well Saddam’s Beard is Still Ugly

Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq? Not so much. Saddam Hussein tied to al-Qaeda? Um…no. Rationales for going to war in Iraq are disappearing faster than Nicole Ritchie.

As the Associated Press reports, Republicans just got handed another black eye while Democrats will gain ground on making the November election a referendum on the Iraq war:

There’s no evidence Saddam Hussein had a relationship with Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and his al Qaeda associates, according to a Senate report on prewar intelligence on Iraq. Democrats said the report undercuts President Bush’s justification for going to war.

The declassified document being released Friday by the Senate Intelligence Committee also explores the role that inaccurate information supplied by the anti-Saddam exile group the Iraqi National Congress had in the march to war.

The report comes at a time that Bush is emphasizing the need to prevail in Iraq to win the war on terrorism while Democrats are seeking to make that policy an issue in the midterm elections.
It discloses for the first time an October 2005 CIA assessment that prior to the war Saddam’s government “did not have a relationship, harbor, or turn a blind eye toward Zarqawi and his associates,” according to excerpts of the 400-page report provided by Democrats.

Republican Rick O’Donnell, who is running against Democrat Ed Perlmutter in the open seat in the 7th congressional district, has been trying to attack Perlmutter for being a “big corporate lawyer.” It’s not working. As Christopher Osher of The Denver Post reports:

Republican congressional candidate Rick O’Donnell was wrong when he claimed his opponent had represented an insurance firm at the expense of that firm’s “elderly and disabled policyholders,” officials confirmed Thursday.

Ed Perlmutter, Democratic candidate for Colorado’s 7th Congressional District, actually helped recover money in 1991 for the policyholders of Los Angeles-based Executive Life Insurance Co. and preserved assets once the firm was placed into conservatorship, officials with the California insurance commissioner’s office said Thursday.

“He was doing his legal work on behalf of getting value for the policyholders, and he was doing that work on behalf of the California insurance commissioner,” said Norman Williams, a spokesman for the commissioner.

Officials with the New York State Insurance Department, also involved in the case, said they would need more time to research the issue to determine Perlmutter’s role in New York. Perlmutter’s campaign demanded that O’Donnell retract his accusation and issue a public apology.

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Republican Doug Lamborn, who is running against Democrat Jay Fawcett in the 5th congressional district, is going on the offensive after weeks of being ripped by fellow Republicans for running a dirty primary campaign. Lamborn is challenging Fawcett to a series of debates, which is a good sign that he considers Fawcett to be a serious threat in this highly-Republican district.

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Colorado’s Roan Plateau is now open for drilling in a decision that will have serious political repercussions on the Western Slope. As the Rocky Mountain News reports:

The long-awaited proposal caps years of contentious debate among industry, green groups and numerous public agencies on how to go about extracting natural gas from underneath 115 square miles of federal land within the ecologically diverse plateau region north of Interstate 70, bookended by the small towns of Rifle and Parachute.

The proposed “resource management plan,” released by Bureau of Land Management and Colorado officials, comes with an array of conditions designed to limit the effect of drilling on wildlife and streams – even taking into consideration the views for drivers along I-70. A BLM spokesman described the proposal as “one of the most restrictive BLM has written to date.”

Even so, environmentalists and some politicians, including U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar, D-Colo., expressed disappointment and anger that the plan will open up the top of the 9,000-foot plateau region to drilling.

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Online campaign ads are all the rage these days, and CU Regent candidate Stephen Ludwig has a good one available on his Web site at www.voteludwig.com.

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Jason Bane

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