Thursday, October 26, 2006

ROUNDHOUSE ROUNDUP: PLAME & WILSON SETTLING IN SANTA FE?

A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
October 26, 2006


Are former CIA agent Valerie Plame and her husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson moving to Santa Fe?

That’s the buzz in Washington, D.C. and Wilson, who was in Albuquerque Wednesday campaigning for Patricia Madrid for Congress, won’t confirm or deny it.

The possibility of Wilson and Plame moving here first surfaced publicly in Roll Call, a Capitol Hill newspaper.

“Having soaked up just about every last bit of limelight from the CIA leak scandal, former GOP-appointed Ambassador Joe Wilson is burning up the campaign trail on behalf of Democrats while apparently planning a full-time move away from Washington, D.C.,” Mary Ann Akers wrote in the paper’s “Heard on the Hill” column Tuesday.


“Sources tell HOH that Wilson and his wife, Valerie Plame Wilson — who was famously outed as a CIA operative by columnist Robert Novak — have told friends that they are ready to quit Washington. One source says the Wilsons, the parents of 6-year-old twins, have ‘settled on’ Santa Fe, N.M.”

The irreverent D.C. blog Wonkette commented that Santa Fe is a place “where terrorists and Bob Novak will never find them. …”

I called the one local friend of the couple I know, who, as fate would have it, was at Albuquerque International Sunport picking up Wilson, who’d just arrived for a Madrid fundraiser.

In short, Wilson -- no relation to Rep. Heather Wilson, Madrid’s Republican opponent in the congressional race — gave me the same “no comment” he gave Roll Call.

“I’ll be happy to talk to you about the reason I’m here right now,” he said, talking up Madrid.

This is at least the second time Wilson has been in New Mexico to raise funds for Madrid. He was in Santa Fe and Albuquerque in March for that purpose. When I interviewed him then he said how much he loves this area.

Wilson and his wife were in Albuquerque last month as guests of honor at an event for the Military Religious Freedom Foundation.

Wilson said he might confirm his future plans after the election.

For those who have been visiting another planet for the last couple of years: In early 2002, the CIA sent Joseph Wilson to Niger to investigate a claim that Saddam Hussein had tried to buy enriched “yellowcake” uranium. He concluded the story was false.

The next year he wrote an opinion piece for The New York Times that talked about his trip to Niger and accused the Bush administration of exaggerating the threat of Iraq to justify going to war.

Soon after, White House officials informed some reporters and right-wing columnist Novak — that the ambassador's wife worked for the CIA. That leak led to federal charges against Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff.

Unknown Jerome: The Public Regulation Commission is honoring five of its former members today by dedicating an “NMPRC Honor Gallery” with photos and information about the past commissioners.

However it seems that the current administration was having a tough time this week sending out the correct information about one of the former members.

An e-mail news release zapped Tuesday to reporters and others around the state listed Jerome Block’s PRC years as January 1999 to March 2004.

To which Block sardonically replied in an e-mail: “As much as Patricia Madrid, the `Supremes' and others would have liked, my term as PRC commissioner did not expire until December 31, 2004!”

Block, who served a two-year term when the PRC was first created, followed by a four-year term, apparently still smarts a little from the attorney general going to the Supreme Court to win a decision that he couldn’t seek another consecutive four-year term.

The PRC on Wednesday sent out a corrected news release. The dedication is at 9 a.m. today in the foyer of the fourth floor of the PERA Building.

So that’s why he’s always out of town: We know him as our governor. However, the people of Nags Head, N.C., know Bill Richardson as their interim deputy town manager.

According to a story in The Outer Banks Sentinel, a Nags Head paper, “Richardson began work on Monday and will work closely with Nags Head's Interim Town Manager, Charlie Cameron, in managing the Town and its workforce of more than 100 employees.”

The paper quoted Cameron saying, “Bill brings to Nags Head an incredible wealth of experience in northeastern North Carolina local government.”

The article mentions nothing about the new interim deputy town manager’s presidential ambitions.

More fun with voter ID cards: Former Santa Fe photographer Neil Jacobs nearly was tempted to commit voter fraud.

Jacobs, a Los Angeles resident for several years, said Wednesday he recently received a New Mexico voter ID card in the mail.

“’I’ve already voted absentee in the California election,” said Jacobs, who has worked for The New Mexican and The Albuquerque Journal and who now shoots still photos for movie productions.

He said he called the New Mexico Secretary of State’s office and “after being transferred around a few times” was told he is on the inactive voter list, but could still cast a ballot.

“It might be fun to vote twice, but I don’t think I should try to get away with that,” Jacobs said.

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