Thursday, May 15, 2014

Did Mike Rounds Just Get Willie Hortoned?

It appears that the Bosworth campaign is flashing back to 1988.  They have a new attack ad going after Mike Rounds.  The ad links Mike Rounds to Joaquin Ramos, a convicted killer that murdered a mother and her unborn child and who Mike Rounds commuted his sentence when leaving office.  When I first saw the ad, all I could think of was Willie Horton.

For those that don't remember or are too young to know about Willie Horton, he was connected Presidential candidate Michael Dukakis in 1988 in his race against the eventual President George Bush (senior)  The Wikipedia entry gives a brief summary of how Willie Horton was used:
On June 6, 1986, he was released as part of a weekend furlough program but did not return. On April 3, 1987 in Oxon Hill, Maryland, Horton twice raped a local woman after pistol-whipping, knifing, binding, and gagging her fiancé. He then stole the car belonging to the man he had assaulted. He was later shot and captured by Corporal Yusuf Muhammad (formerly named Joseph Bell) of the Prince George's County Police Department after a pursuit. On October 20, Horton was sentenced in Maryland to two consecutive life terms plus 85 years.... 
Republicans picked up the Horton issue after Dukakis clinched the nomination. In June 1988, Republican candidate George H.W. Bush seized on the Horton case, bringing it up repeatedly in campaign speeches. Bush's campaign manager, Lee Atwater, said "By the time we're finished, they're going to wonder whether Willie Horton is Dukakis' running mate."[9] 
Campaign staffer James Pinkerton returned with reams of material that Atwater told him to reduce to a 3×5 index card, telling him, "I'm giving you one thing. You can use both sides of the 3×5 card." Pinkerton discovered the furlough issue by watching the Felt Forum debate. On May 25, 1988, Republican consultants met in Paramus, New Jersey, holding a focus group of Democrats who had voted for Ronald Reagan in 1984. These focus groups convinced Atwater and the other Republican consultants that they should 'go negative' against Dukakis. Further information regarding the furlough came from aide Andrew Card, a Massachusetts native whom President George W. Bush later named as his Chief of Staff.[10]

It appears the Bosworth campaign is taking a page from Atwater's play book.  She states in a press release posted on South Dakota War College:
But Mike Round’s involvement in the tragic story of Joaquin Jack Ramos’s killing of Debbie Martines and her unborn baby in front of Martines’s children also has a deeper meaning. Even though Rounds scrambled to make amends after he began to get bad press, his commutation of Ramon’s sentence remains inexplicable to this day. Hopefully, this ad will finally bring Gov. Rounds to fully account for his actions. 
I must admit that I don't know the whole story behind the commuting of Joaquin Ramos by then Governor Mike Rounds.  It appears that he failed to do due diligence and  later regretted his actions (Kind of like inappropriate use State airplanes and oversight of the EB-5 program.)  It is the message that voters will get that will matter.  

The Willie Horton Ad

The Joaquin Ramos Ad


  1. Yeah, but the ad uses material from that liberal blogger CAHeidelberger (watch for the second newsprint cut). She issued a press release that clearly explained why that blogger has no credibility. Therefore, this ad is clearly bogus, right?

  2. Corey, that must mean that you are part of the conspiracy to elect Mike Rounds.