The mystery over who authored the Terri Schiavo “talking points memo,” appears to have been solved. Mike Allen in The Washington Post reports:
The legal counsel to Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.) admitted yesterday that he was the author of a memo citing the political advantage to Republicans of intervening in the case of Terri Schiavo, the senator said in an interview last night.
Brian Darling, a former lobbyist for the Alexander Strategy Group on gun rights and other issues, offered his resignation and it was immediately accepted, Martinez said.
Martinez said he earlier had been assured by aides that his office had nothing to do with producing the memo. “I never did an investigation, as such,” he said. “I just took it for granted that we wouldn’t be that stupid. It was never my intention to in any way politicize this issue.”
Martinez, a freshman who was secretary of housing and urban development for most of President Bush’s first term, said he had not read the one-page memo. He said he inadvertently passed it to Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), who had worked with him on the issue. After that, other Senate aides gave the memo to reporters for ABC News and The Washington Post.
Martinez said Harkin called him about 5 p.m. yesterday and told him that the memo had come from his office. Martinez said he then called in his senior staff and said, “Something is wrong here.” He said that Darling later confessed to John Little, Martinez’s chief of staff, and that he said he did not think he had ever printed the memo.
“It was intended to be a working draft,” Martinez said. “He doesn’t really know how I got it.”The question of how the memo came to be widely distributed isn’t exactly answered. Did Martinez pass it around willy-nilly or did Democratic Senate staffers seize the opportunity to score some political points by giving it to ABC and The Post? Regardless of the answer to that question, expect a victory lap from Howard Kurtz very soon.
Update: Powerline notes that the accounts of the reporting of the story still don’t quite line up correctly.
Update 2: Apparently this is a big “in your face moment” for Democrats. Including this post, the topic of the Schiavo memo was discussed 3 times at Wizbang. The first time I endorsed a Democratic call for investigation, the second post highlighted stories elsewhere that media reports on who was passing the memo around changed early and often, with members of the Washington Post syndicate turning on each other.
Based on Wizbang’s coverage, exactly what am I supposed to be embarrassed about?