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Archive for Friday, September 15, 2006

Kline defends leaked memo during debate

September 15, 2006

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— Atty. Gen. Phill Kline used a debate with his Democratic challenger on Thursday to defend a leaked memo outlining how he wanted his campaign to go about gaining support from conservative Christians.

The Republican said his political discussions in churches were healthy and good. In the memo, leaked this week to reporters, Kline directs his re-election campaign to make the most of political receptions held near friendly churches after their services.

Its instructions also included getting pastors to mention the events during services and getting them to bring a handful of "money people" to events.

"They didn't need to break into my campaign software program and computer and hack this information to know about it - I have been speaking in churches for more than 20 years now," Kline told about 500 people who came to Wichita State University to hear the debate.

Democratic challenger Paul Morrison, the Johnson County district attorney, said he was as surprised and shocked as anybody that Kline would be so cynical about using a church for political gain.

Atty. Gen. Phill Kline, a Republican debated Thursday night with Democrat opponent Paul Morrison at Wichita State University.

Atty. Gen. Phill Kline, a Republican debated Thursday night with Democrat opponent Paul Morrison at Wichita State University.

"I have never - and never will - view a church as a political machine for me," Morrison said.

He said the Founding Fathers spent a great deal of time and energy in deciding that church and state should be separate.

That prompted Kline to respond that separation of church and state refers to government not imposing a religion.

"It doesn't refer to people of faith not being able to express their opinion or hold public office," Kline said.

He also defended his campaign's use of e-mail addresses of people who have contacted the attorney general's office for help to solicit money and support. He said he checked with the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission before using the material and was told it was not unethical. He said he allowed people to opt-out from further contacts.

Morrison said such actions spotlight the differences between the two candidates. He said he sees the world in terms of law enforcement, while Kline views his life through the prism of politics.

Paul Morrison, a Democrat, at the debate with Republican candidate Atty. Gen. Phill Kline Thursday night at Wichita State University.

Paul Morrison, a Democrat, at the debate with Republican candidate Atty. Gen. Phill Kline Thursday night at Wichita State University.

He said he would never have thought of using those e-mails to solicit support.

"I think that is a perversion of that information," Morrison said. "I don't know if it's criminal or not, but it sure is unethical. And I think that is a classic example of the difference between Phill Kline and myself."

Morrison said he runs a law enforcement office and would never think of using information from people who are seeking his help for his political advantage.

Among other issues, Morrison said he would support making probable-cause affidavits public in Kansas.

That became an issue when a Wichita man wrongly suspected of being the BTK killer was arrested and forced to give DNA samples. It took months before his attorney got a copy of the affidavit, and the public has yet to know what led police to suspect him as a serial killer.

Kline said he opposes opening up such documents.

Comments

Baille 8 years, 3 months ago

"They didn't need to break into my campaign software program and computer and hack this information to know about it..."

Basis, please?

SettingTheRecordStraight 8 years, 3 months ago

Think about it. Kline, once again, is getting coverage in the newspapers and on tv-- TONS OF COVERAGE. He's getting more and more people taking a look at his issues, his office, his message, etc. Paul Morrison could only wish for such media airtime.

And Kline won't shy away from speaking at churches, even after a supposedly damaging memo about his strategy is leaked. What we have are stories about Kline speaking to churches even AFTER the memo was leaked. Kline isn't running from his church strategy; he's EMBRACING it. He hasn't stopped speaking at churches; he'll probably speak at MORE. He hasn't apologized for the memo; he's STOOD BY it.

And coverage like this, in Kansas, is good. Very good. Except for the few bloggers who hate Kline's guts and always will, at the end of the day who's going to fault a fellow for speaking at a church??? C'mon. When Joe and Jane Anybody sit down and think about Kline's plan to speak to congregations, they will understand that Phill is simply a Christian elected official reaching out to other Christians in a campaign year.

Oh, and Kline's comment about Tiller's "blood money?" Another brilliant move. Most people don't know George Tiller performs third trimester abortions right here in Kansas, but they will now. And most don't know that in 2002 George Tiller spent HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of dollars to beat Phill Kline in his race for AG. But they will now.

The more you think about it, the more it makes sense. Phill Kline is one incredibly smart guy.

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