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Arab Americans see bigotry behind ports uproar

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://today.reuters.com/news/newsarticle.aspx?type=domesticNews&storyid=2006-02-21T201433Z_01_N21145126_RTRUKOC_0_US-PORTS-BIAS.xml&rpc=22 Arab Americans see
    Message 1 of 9 , Feb 21, 2006
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      http://today.reuters.com/news/newsarticle.aspx?type=domesticNews&storyid=2006-02-21T201433Z_01_N21145126_RTRUKOC_0_US-PORTS-BIAS.xml&rpc=22

      Arab Americans see bigotry behind ports uproar
      Tue Feb 21, 2006 3:14 PM ET173

      By Alan Elsner

      WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Arab-Americans contended on
      Tuesday that bias and bigotry, not security concerns,
      lay behind the uproar over a deal that would place
      commercial operations at six U.S. ports in the hands
      of an Arab company.

      The furor centers around the $6.8 billion acquisition
      by Dubai Ports World, owned by one of the United Arab
      Emirates, of London-based Peninsular and Oriental
      Steam Navigation Co. P&O had been running operations
      at shipping terminals in New York, New Jersey,
      Baltimore, New Orleans, Miami, and Philadelphia.

      Citing what they say are fears of lax security,
      politicians from both parties called on President
      George W. Bush to cancel the deal and several began
      drafting legislation to block it. The issue was also
      increasingly being aired on conservative talk radio
      stations and in Internet blogs.

      "I find some of the rhetoric being used against this
      deal shameful and irresponsible. There is bigotry
      coming out here," said James Zogby, president of the
      Arab American Institute.

      He said politicians were exploiting fears left over
      from September 11 to gain advantage in a congressional
      election year.

      "Bush is vulnerable so the Democrats jump on it. The
      Republicans feel vulnerable so they jump on it. The
      slogan is, if it's Arab, it's bad. Hammer away," Zogby
      said.

      According to some industry analysts, the change in
      management would have no real effect on security,
      which would still be carried out by American workers
      to international standards. The UAE, whose government
      owns Dubai Ports World, is an international financial
      hub and close U.S. ally.

      "The Emirates have been very pro-active partners in
      helping our security. They have a solid track record
      of cooperation," said Peter Tirschwell, publisher of
      the Journal of Commerce.

      Rabiah Ahmed of the Council on American-Islamic
      Relations said members of her organization also
      believed anti-Arab bigotry was driving the debate.

      "The perception in the Arab-American community is that
      this is related to anti-Arab sentiment," she said.

      Despite the UAE's close ties to the United States,
      some critics say lax controls allowed some of the
      September 11 hijackers to exploit its banking sector
      to transfer funds to support the attacks. Others have
      suggested its commercial links with Iran are a cause
      for worry.

      "It is obviously an emotional, political and security
      issue, but I don't see xenophobia involved in this,"
      said Peter Brookes of the conservative Heritage
      Foundation.

      CHINESE PRECEDENT

      The opposition was reminiscent of a similar
      controversy last year when China National Offshore Oil
      Company Ltd. tried to purchase Unocal, a U.S. oil
      services company. The Chinese company ultimately
      withdrew its offer in the face of fierce political
      opposition.

      South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsay Graham said
      Americans were not against foreign acquisitions as
      such but were suspicious when they involved security
      infrastructure.

      "Americans right now want free trade, but when it
      comes to national security issues, we want to maintain
      the infrastructure ourselves," he told Fox News
      Sunday.

      "I don't think now is the time to outsource major port
      security to a foreign-based company," he said.

      Daniel Griswold of the libertarian Cato Institute said
      opposition to the Emirates acquisition had more merit
      than the opposition to the Chinese energy bid.

      "Here, there are legitimate questions of port
      security. Experts have long warned us that U.S. ports
      could be an entry point for weapons of mass
      destruction and we can only search one container in
      every 20 that come in," he said.

      But Griswold conceded anti-Arab feelings were also
      playing a role. "It's obviously part of the mix and
      there's also some misunderstanding and a lot of
      political grandstanding going on," he said.
    • Ram Lau
      This move definitely didn t get the approval of Karl Rove. Ram
      Message 2 of 9 , Feb 21, 2006
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        This move definitely didn't get the approval of Karl Rove.

        Ram
      • Gregory
        This Arab bashing has really made me nuts the last two days. I do not make a habit of defending Presdient Bush. But when he deserves support he should have it.
        Message 3 of 9 , Feb 21, 2006
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          This Arab bashing has really made me nuts the last two days.

          I do not make a habit of defending Presdient Bush. But when he
          deserves support he should have it. The issue of port security, as it
          relates to Dubai Ports World is one where Bush and his Administration
          are correct in their assessment for this company's future involvement
          in six of our nation's ports.

          When I first heard this national uproar I thought back on what I felt
          most people already should know about our ports. (That was my first
          mistake.) The Coast Guard and our customs officials are in charge of
          inspecting incoming cargo. While one can correctly argue that there
          is not enough funding to adequately inspect the volumes of material
          that come to our shores, that is not the issue at this time. (I have
          argued for more such funds but none seems to be in the pipeline.) But
          to state that just because a company is located in the Middle East
          makes them hostile to our interests, or means they are a terrorist
          ridden enterprise, is the most illogical thinking that has poured
          simultaneously out of the mouths of some Republicans and Democrats.
          In addition it should be noted that planning and maintaining for port
          security is not done by the holding company since that too is a
          function of the Coast Guard and Customs officials.

          Why do I think politics has hijacked a sound business plan just in
          time to propel some names into the limelight for the mid-term
          elections, and to propel those who harbor Potomac fever a chance to
          show they are tough and strong on national security? Shame on them!!
          That means Bill Frist and Hillary Clinton!!

          I realize how some could argue this is a good political issue at the
          expense of Bush and the Republicans. I just can't see the benefit of
          denying a business bridge with a reputable company in the Middle East
          for the short-term gain of a few points in a poll.

          Perhaps I should let Bush sum it up for both of us as he (for once)
          can speak for me as my President.

          He said he would veto any legislation to hold up a deal and warned
          the United States was sending 'mixed signals' by going after a
          company from the Middle East when nothing was said when a British
          company was in charge... Lawmakers, he said, must 'step up and
          explain why a Middle Eastern company is held to a different
          standard.' Bush was very forceful when he delivered the
          statement... 'I don't view it as a political fight.'

          Well, Mr. President, they will try and make it into one.


          Gregory


          --- In prezveepsenator@yahoogroups.com, "Ram Lau" <ramlau@...> wrote:
          >
          > This move definitely didn't get the approval of Karl Rove.
          >
          > Ram
          >
        • Ram Lau
          ... Jimmy Carter actually has no quarrel with the plan either. I think the Congressional Republicans are just desperate with these poll numbers:
          Message 4 of 9 , Feb 21, 2006
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            > Well, Mr. President, they will try and make it into one.

            Jimmy Carter actually has no quarrel with the plan either. I think the
            Congressional Republicans are just desperate with these poll numbers:

            http://www.realclearpolitics.com/polls.html

            Ram
          • Gregory
            Dear Ram, You have made my night! It is late here and I really should be retiring for the day but was delighted to know President Carter, a man I very much
            Message 5 of 9 , Feb 21, 2006
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              Dear Ram,

              You have made my night! It is late here and I really should be
              retiring for the day but was delighted to know President Carter, a man
              I very much respect views this matter in the way many others, including
              myself, also view it.

              Thanks for this!

              Gregory...a very tired gregory...

              --- In prezveepsenator@yahoogroups.com, "Ram Lau" <ramlau@...> wrote:
              >
              > > Well, Mr. President, they will try and make it into one.
              >
              > Jimmy Carter actually has no quarrel with the plan either. I think the
              > Congressional Republicans are just desperate with these poll numbers:
              >
              > http://www.realclearpolitics.com/polls.html
              >
              > Ram
              >
            • THOMAS JOHNSON
              Gregory, I agree that Arab bashing a terrible thing and shame on Frist and H Clinton et al, for being grand standers, but I personally want to learn a little
              Message 6 of 9 , Feb 23, 2006
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                Gregory,
                I agree that Arab bashing a terrible thing and shame
                on Frist and H Clinton et al, for being grand
                standers, but I personally want to learn a little more
                about the deal before I can give it my blessing. Lots
                of rumors flying about such as Sec Snowe's involvement
                with his old industry, that there is an impending sale
                of lots fighter jets. etc. Given the UAE's very spotty
                record in fighting and supporting terrorism and that
                it is a state-owned company makes me want get some
                more details.
                My outrage of the week is the Democratic swift-boating
                of Paul Hackett in Ohio.

                Respectfully,
                Tom



                --- Gregory <greggolopry@...> wrote:

                > This Arab bashing has really made me nuts the last
                > two days.
                >
                > I do not make a habit of defending Presdient Bush.
                > But when he
                > deserves support he should have it. The issue of
                > port security, as it
                > relates to Dubai Ports World is one where Bush and
                > his Administration
                > are correct in their assessment for this company's
                > future involvement
                > in six of our nation's ports.
                >
                > When I first heard this national uproar I thought
                > back on what I felt
                > most people already should know about our ports.
                > (That was my first
                > mistake.) The Coast Guard and our customs officials
                > are in charge of
                > inspecting incoming cargo. While one can correctly
                > argue that there
                > is not enough funding to adequately inspect the
                > volumes of material
                > that come to our shores, that is not the issue at
                > this time. (I have
                > argued for more such funds but none seems to be in
                > the pipeline.) But
                > to state that just because a company is located in
                > the Middle East
                > makes them hostile to our interests, or means they
                > are a terrorist
                > ridden enterprise, is the most illogical thinking
                > that has poured
                > simultaneously out of the mouths of some Republicans
                > and Democrats.
                > In addition it should be noted that planning and
                > maintaining for port
                > security is not done by the holding company since
                > that too is a
                > function of the Coast Guard and Customs officials.
                >
                > Why do I think politics has hijacked a sound
                > business plan just in
                > time to propel some names into the limelight for the
                > mid-term
                > elections, and to propel those who harbor Potomac
                > fever a chance to
                > show they are tough and strong on national security?
                > Shame on them!!
                > That means Bill Frist and Hillary Clinton!!
                >
                > I realize how some could argue this is a good
                > political issue at the
                > expense of Bush and the Republicans. I just can't
                > see the benefit of
                > denying a business bridge with a reputable company
                > in the Middle East
                > for the short-term gain of a few points in a poll.
                >
                > Perhaps I should let Bush sum it up for both of us
                > as he (for once)
                > can speak for me as my President.
                >
                > He said he would veto any legislation to hold up a
                > deal and warned
                > the United States was sending 'mixed signals' by
                > going after a
                > company from the Middle East when nothing was said
                > when a British
                > company was in charge... Lawmakers, he said, must
                > 'step up and
                > explain why a Middle Eastern company is held to a
                > different
                > standard.' Bush was very forceful when he delivered
                > the
                > statement... 'I don't view it as a political fight.'
                >
                > Well, Mr. President, they will try and make it into
                > one.
                >
                >
                > Gregory
                >
                >
                > --- In prezveepsenator@yahoogroups.com, "Ram Lau"
                > <ramlau@...> wrote:
                > >
                > > This move definitely didn't get the approval of
                > Karl Rove.
                > >
                > > Ram
                > >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                > Yahoo! Groups Links
                >
                >
                > prezveepsenator-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
              • Gregory
                Hi Tom, Been a very active week and so I have not responded earlier. But I too was a bit surprised by the Ohio matter, though I gather there was some polling
                Message 7 of 9 , Feb 24, 2006
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                  Hi Tom,

                  Been a very active week and so I have not responded earlier. But I
                  too was a bit surprised by the Ohio matter, though I gather there was
                  some polling data that was a part of the background to what happened.

                  I have an overall uneasy feeling about the way the Democratic Party
                  is unable to form some consensus on the issues that lots of folks are
                  talking about around the dinner table. The polls all indicate time
                  for a change but the Dems seem reluctant, for many reasons, to ante
                  up with principled positions, and Ohio seems to be just one part of a
                  larger problem.

                  Gregory

                  --- In prezveepsenator@yahoogroups.com, THOMAS JOHNSON <AVRCRDNG@...>
                  wrote:
                  >
                  > Gregory,
                  > I agree that Arab bashing a terrible thing and shame
                  > on Frist and H Clinton et al, for being grand
                  > standers, but I personally want to learn a little more
                  > about the deal before I can give it my blessing. Lots
                  > of rumors flying about such as Sec Snowe's involvement
                  > with his old industry, that there is an impending sale
                  > of lots fighter jets. etc. Given the UAE's very spotty
                  > record in fighting and supporting terrorism and that
                  > it is a state-owned company makes me want get some
                  > more details.
                  > My outrage of the week is the Democratic swift-boating
                  > of Paul Hackett in Ohio.
                  >
                  > Respectfully,
                  > Tom
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > --- Gregory <greggolopry@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > > This Arab bashing has really made me nuts the last
                  > > two days.
                  > >
                  > > I do not make a habit of defending Presdient Bush.
                  > > But when he
                  > > deserves support he should have it. The issue of
                  > > port security, as it
                  > > relates to Dubai Ports World is one where Bush and
                  > > his Administration
                  > > are correct in their assessment for this company's
                  > > future involvement
                  > > in six of our nation's ports.
                  > >
                  > > When I first heard this national uproar I thought
                  > > back on what I felt
                  > > most people already should know about our ports.
                  > > (That was my first
                  > > mistake.) The Coast Guard and our customs officials
                  > > are in charge of
                  > > inspecting incoming cargo. While one can correctly
                  > > argue that there
                  > > is not enough funding to adequately inspect the
                  > > volumes of material
                  > > that come to our shores, that is not the issue at
                  > > this time. (I have
                  > > argued for more such funds but none seems to be in
                  > > the pipeline.) But
                  > > to state that just because a company is located in
                  > > the Middle East
                  > > makes them hostile to our interests, or means they
                  > > are a terrorist
                  > > ridden enterprise, is the most illogical thinking
                  > > that has poured
                  > > simultaneously out of the mouths of some Republicans
                  > > and Democrats.
                  > > In addition it should be noted that planning and
                  > > maintaining for port
                  > > security is not done by the holding company since
                  > > that too is a
                  > > function of the Coast Guard and Customs officials.
                  > >
                  > > Why do I think politics has hijacked a sound
                  > > business plan just in
                  > > time to propel some names into the limelight for the
                  > > mid-term
                  > > elections, and to propel those who harbor Potomac
                  > > fever a chance to
                  > > show they are tough and strong on national security?
                  > > Shame on them!!
                  > > That means Bill Frist and Hillary Clinton!!
                  > >
                  > > I realize how some could argue this is a good
                  > > political issue at the
                  > > expense of Bush and the Republicans. I just can't
                  > > see the benefit of
                  > > denying a business bridge with a reputable company
                  > > in the Middle East
                  > > for the short-term gain of a few points in a poll.
                  > >
                  > > Perhaps I should let Bush sum it up for both of us
                  > > as he (for once)
                  > > can speak for me as my President.
                  > >
                  > > He said he would veto any legislation to hold up a
                  > > deal and warned
                  > > the United States was sending 'mixed signals' by
                  > > going after a
                  > > company from the Middle East when nothing was said
                  > > when a British
                  > > company was in charge... Lawmakers, he said, must
                  > > 'step up and
                  > > explain why a Middle Eastern company is held to a
                  > > different
                  > > standard.' Bush was very forceful when he delivered
                  > > the
                  > > statement... 'I don't view it as a political fight.'
                  > >
                  > > Well, Mr. President, they will try and make it into
                  > > one.
                  > >
                  > >
                  > > Gregory
                  > >
                  > >
                  > > --- In prezveepsenator@yahoogroups.com, "Ram Lau"
                  > > <ramlau@> wrote:
                  > > >
                  > > > This move definitely didn't get the approval of
                  > > Karl Rove.
                  > > >
                  > > > Ram
                  > > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > > Yahoo! Groups Links
                  > >
                  > >
                  > > prezveepsenator-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  >
                • THOMAS JOHNSON
                  I totally agree, Gregory.. I have been very disappointed in the Dems since 2002 where their attitude was well described by former Tx governor Ann Richards as
                  Message 8 of 9 , Feb 24, 2006
                  • 0 Attachment
                    I totally agree, Gregory.. I have been very
                    disappointed in the Dems since 2002 where their
                    attitude was well described by former
                    Tx governor Ann Richards as 'me too but not so much.'
                    I'm leaning strongly toward not voting in a TX primary
                    so I can sign a petition to get author/musician Kinky
                    Friedman on the ballot for governor.. the Hackett
                    swiftboating was the tipping point.
                    What's your thinking out there in El Paso, Greg?

                    Tom

                    --- Gregory <greggolopry@...> wrote:

                    > Hi Tom,
                    >
                    > Been a very active week and so I have not responded
                    > earlier. But I
                    > too was a bit surprised by the Ohio matter, though I
                    > gather there was
                    > some polling data that was a part of the background
                    > to what happened.
                    >
                    > I have an overall uneasy feeling about the way the
                    > Democratic Party
                    > is unable to form some consensus on the issues that
                    > lots of folks are
                    > talking about around the dinner table. The polls
                    > all indicate time
                    > for a change but the Dems seem reluctant, for many
                    > reasons, to ante
                    > up with principled positions, and Ohio seems to be
                    > just one part of a
                    > larger problem.
                    >
                    > Gregory
                    >
                    > --- In prezveepsenator@yahoogroups.com, THOMAS
                    > JOHNSON <AVRCRDNG@...>
                    > wrote:
                    > >
                    > > Gregory,
                    > > I agree that Arab bashing a terrible thing and
                    > shame
                    > > on Frist and H Clinton et al, for being grand
                    > > standers, but I personally want to learn a little
                    > more
                    > > about the deal before I can give it my blessing.
                    > Lots
                    > > of rumors flying about such as Sec Snowe's
                    > involvement
                    > > with his old industry, that there is an impending
                    > sale
                    > > of lots fighter jets. etc. Given the UAE's very
                    > spotty
                    > > record in fighting and supporting terrorism and
                    > that
                    > > it is a state-owned company makes me want get some
                    > > more details.
                    > > My outrage of the week is the Democratic
                    > swift-boating
                    > > of Paul Hackett in Ohio.
                    > >
                    > > Respectfully,
                    > > Tom
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > > --- Gregory <greggolopry@...> wrote:
                    > >
                    > > > This Arab bashing has really made me nuts the
                    > last
                    > > > two days.
                    > > >
                    > > > I do not make a habit of defending Presdient
                    > Bush.
                    > > > But when he
                    > > > deserves support he should have it. The issue of
                    > > > port security, as it
                    > > > relates to Dubai Ports World is one where Bush
                    > and
                    > > > his Administration
                    > > > are correct in their assessment for this
                    > company's
                    > > > future involvement
                    > > > in six of our nation's ports.
                    > > >
                    > > > When I first heard this national uproar I
                    > thought
                    > > > back on what I felt
                    > > > most people already should know about our ports.
                    > > > (That was my first
                    > > > mistake.) The Coast Guard and our customs
                    > officials
                    > > > are in charge of
                    > > > inspecting incoming cargo. While one can
                    > correctly
                    > > > argue that there
                    > > > is not enough funding to adequately inspect the
                    > > > volumes of material
                    > > > that come to our shores, that is not the issue
                    > at
                    > > > this time. (I have
                    > > > argued for more such funds but none seems to be
                    > in
                    > > > the pipeline.) But
                    > > > to state that just because a company is located
                    > in
                    > > > the Middle East
                    > > > makes them hostile to our interests, or means
                    > they
                    > > > are a terrorist
                    > > > ridden enterprise, is the most illogical
                    > thinking
                    > > > that has poured
                    > > > simultaneously out of the mouths of some
                    > Republicans
                    > > > and Democrats.
                    > > > In addition it should be noted that planning and
                    > > > maintaining for port
                    > > > security is not done by the holding company
                    > since
                    > > > that too is a
                    > > > function of the Coast Guard and Customs
                    > officials.
                    > > >
                    > > > Why do I think politics has hijacked a sound
                    > > > business plan just in
                    > > > time to propel some names into the limelight for
                    > the
                    > > > mid-term
                    > > > elections, and to propel those who harbor
                    > Potomac
                    > > > fever a chance to
                    > > > show they are tough and strong on national
                    > security?
                    > > > Shame on them!!
                    > > > That means Bill Frist and Hillary Clinton!!
                    > > >
                    > > > I realize how some could argue this is a good
                    > > > political issue at the
                    > > > expense of Bush and the Republicans. I just
                    > can't
                    > > > see the benefit of
                    > > > denying a business bridge with a reputable
                    > company
                    > > > in the Middle East
                    > > > for the short-term gain of a few points in a
                    > poll.
                    > > >
                    > > > Perhaps I should let Bush sum it up for both of
                    > us
                    > > > as he (for once)
                    > > > can speak for me as my President.
                    > > >
                    > > > He said he would veto any legislation to hold up
                    > a
                    > > > deal and warned
                    > > > the United States was sending 'mixed signals' by
                    > > > going after a
                    > > > company from the Middle East when nothing was
                    > said
                    > > > when a British
                    > > > company was in charge... Lawmakers, he said,
                    > must
                    > > > 'step up and
                    > > > explain why a Middle Eastern company is held to
                    > a
                    > > > different
                    > > > standard.' Bush was very forceful when he
                    > delivered
                    > > > the
                    > > > statement... 'I don't view it as a political
                    > fight.'
                    > > >
                    > > > Well, Mr. President, they will try and make it
                    > into
                    > > > one.
                    > > >
                    > > >
                    > > > Gregory
                    > > >
                    > > >
                    > > > --- In prezveepsenator@yahoogroups.com, "Ram
                    > Lau"
                    > > > <ramlau@> wrote:
                    > > > >
                    > > > > This move definitely didn't get the approval
                    > of
                    > > > Karl Rove.
                    > > > >
                    > > > > Ram
                    > > > >
                    > > >
                    > > >
                    > > >
                    > > >
                    > > >
                    > > >
                    > > >
                    > > > Yahoo! Groups Links
                    > > >
                    > > >
                    > > > prezveepsenator-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                    > > >
                    > > >
                    > > >
                    > > >
                    > > >
                    > >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    === message truncated ===
                  • Greg Cannon
                    Tom, I ve also been dissapointed in the Dems for quite a while. In 2000 at this time I was out gathering signatures to get Ralph Nader on the ballot in Texas.
                    Message 9 of 9 , Feb 25, 2006
                    • 0 Attachment
                      Tom, I've also been dissapointed in the Dems for quite
                      a while. In 2000 at this time I was out gathering
                      signatures to get Ralph Nader on the ballot in Texas.
                      I've come to question the wisdom of that, but there's
                      no use crying over spilt milk. I still think the
                      country would be healthier if there was a viable third
                      party.

                      About Kinky- I debated with myself and with friends
                      here for months over whether we should sign his
                      petition or vote in the primary. I ended up voting in
                      the primary because of local races. A lot of local
                      races in El Paso are still decided in the Democratic
                      primary, and this year there are several that I feel
                      strongly about and that may be decided by a handful of
                      votes. I'm hopeful that Kinky can get 45,000
                      signatures without my help. It would be easier without
                      competition from Strayhorn of course. I intend to vote
                      for him in November and will encourage my friends and
                      family to vote for him too. Do you think he (or
                      Strayhorn for that matter) will have trouble getting
                      the signatures? How is his support in Austin? I went
                      to see him last year when he visited a local
                      bookstore, and there was a crowd of about 200 or 300.
                      Perry's most recent visit to El Paso, on the other
                      hand, only drew about 60 people. But the local polls
                      still show a lot of El Pasoans supporting Perry.

                      Greg

                      --- THOMAS JOHNSON <AVRCRDNG@...> wrote:

                      > I totally agree, Gregory.. I have been very
                      > disappointed in the Dems since 2002 where their
                      > attitude was well described by former
                      > Tx governor Ann Richards as 'me too but not so
                      > much.'
                      > I'm leaning strongly toward not voting in a TX
                      > primary
                      > so I can sign a petition to get author/musician
                      > Kinky
                      > Friedman on the ballot for governor.. the Hackett
                      > swiftboating was the tipping point.
                      > What's your thinking out there in El Paso, Greg?
                      >
                      > Tom
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