Archive for the ‘integrity’ Category

When the Right Attacks…
June 28, 2007

contributed by Nathan Lean

I’m going to put myself out on a limb here–it happens from time to time when I feel a moral obligation to defend an injustice. When fear of controversy silences our desire to speak out, we have been robbed of our ability to create change.

The political world took a low blow Tuesday when Ann Coulter decided to open her savage right-wing mouth, yet again, wishing Sen. John Edwards “had been killed in a terrorist assassination plot.” Perhaps you may remember Coulter’s tirades earlier this year comparing Sen. Barack Obama to a terrorist or making crude comments about Sen. Hillary Clinton’s legs. Maybe it was the “ask me about my dead son” comment that brings back stirring memories of Coulter’s wicked ability to tap into a political dialogue with personal attacks about tragic family events. Whatever the case may be, it’s safe to say that Ann Coulter appears to be what many refer to as a “media prostitute –” an opportunist seeking to cash in on outlandish statements.

Perhaps this blog entry is giving the radical mouthpiece more attention that she deserves. But what will it take to silence this monster for good?

Further, has-been “independent conservative” and talking-head Pat Buchanan came to Coulter’s defense, claiming the garbage from her mouth was used to emphasize contradictions relating to haircuts, house size, and poverty. Let’s remember that Pat Buchanan was also the one who defended Don Imus’ outrageous comments about the Rutgers women’s basketball team. Are these the people dominating our political debate?

What ever happened to policy? It seems as if the recent attacks on Democrats personal lives are an attempt to buy time while blood-thirsty conservatives search for arguments with substance related to policy and legislation. Newsflash: Similar to the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, there are none. Why can’t Coulter research Obama’s Health Care plan or Edwards’ poverty proposals?

Perhaps it’s fear of 2008 that drives this defensive, backed-into-a-corner style dialogue. Maybe 2006 was a prediction that people are ready for a “politics of hope” and will silence the Republican machine once and for all. Perhaps the substance of the Democratic party’s platforms can’t be matched.

God forbid, but if I were a Democratic or Republican candidate, I would be the first to denounce this style of trash-talk.

Contrary to popular opinion, we are indeed our brothers keepers. At leas in the minds of the voters.

For a politics of hope, free of trash-talk and low blow attacks, click here.

Coulter’s mouth helps no one.
May 8, 2007

Submitted by Nathan Lean, Director of Rock with Barack

Ann Coulter, the Republican mouthpiece and media maggot has done it again. The conservative columnist recently said that Obama’s urging poll numbers are helping Al-Qaida, proving to people with brains that extremism is not a concept limited to terrorism.
“I think this is Newsweek doing more push polling for al-Qaida,” Coulter said in an interview recently.

I thought it would be appropriate to show our readers the types of comments Coulter has made in the past as to draw realization to fact that she is really Rush Limbaugh in a dress.

“I’m a Christian first and a mean-spirited, bigoted conservative second, and don’t you ever forget it.”

“It is preposterous to assume every passenger is a potential crazed homicidal maniac. We know who the homicidal maniacs are. They are the ones cheering and dancing right now. We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity. We weren’t punctilious about locating and punishing only Hitler and his top officers. We carpet-bombed German cities; we killed civilians. That’s war. And this is war”

“I was going to have a few comments on the other Democratic presidential candidate, John Edwards, but it turns out that you have to go into rehab if you use the word ‘faggot,’ so I’m – so, kind of at an impasse, can’t really talk about Edwards, so I think I’ll just conclude here and take your questions.”

(speaking about the death of Princess Diana) “Her children knew she’s sleeping with all these men. That just seems to me, it’s the definition of ‘not a good mother.’ Is everyone just saying here that it’s okay to ostentatiously have premarital sex in front of your children? [Diana is] an ordinary and pathetic and confessional – I’ve never had bulimia! I’ve never had an affair! I’ve never had a divorce! So I don’t think she’s better than I am.”

The “backbone of the Democratic Party” is a “typical fat, implacable welfare recipient.”

(speaking to a disabled Vietnam vet) “People like you caused us to lose that war.”

Perhaps Ann Coulter is afraid that her Republican buddies don’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell of being elected in 2008 and therefore is doing all she can now to trash talk the man who she will soon refer to as Mr. President.

Personally, I am thankful Barack Obama is a man of hope and unity, not division and cynicism. I personally believe Coulter deserves the fate of Don Imus … forced extinction.

We’ll be praying for you Ann.

“Show Me the Funny!” The press, policy wonks, red meat and America’s need to be entertained
May 1, 2007

The first post of May comes from our contributing blogger, Linda Hansen

“Where’s the beef?” “All sizzle–no steak!”

That’s what we’re hearing. We get it from right-wing media, from mainstream media hankering for the story they want, when they want it. Barack Obama, they say, may be trying to parlay personal qualities, outsider creds and sentiment into an easy glide to the Oval Office. He looks good, sounds good, they say, but where’s the substance? Where are the vaunted position papers, the policy-speak in loquacious detail, every answer to every possible issue facing a troubled nation? We cannot afford, they tell us, another president like George W.; a neophyte who needs on-the-job training.

Give me a break.

If the mainstream media had been half as invested in knowing the facts–the “beef”–about the policy, strategy and purpose behind the Bush Doctrine in Iraq and the ensuing rush to war, we wouldn’t be bogged down in an endless, disastrous war today. If the press had done its job, we’d have known the difference between the truth and the lies, the whole story and the cherry-picked version offered up by the White House. But they did no serious digging, failed to demand answers to hard questions. For the most part, the media served as overpaid stenographers for the Bush administration, slavishly copying down what they were told and running it as fact.

Now some of them are carping about the Obama campaign. They want policy spelled out and they want it with all due speed. How do we respond?

Barack Obama is not George W. Bush. He didn’t muddle his way through college, scraping by academically, partying hearty. Barack Obama finished Columbia University and Harvard Law School without the safety net of wealth. He had to perform. And he performed well enough to be elected president of the Harvard Law Review; the first African American to hold that office. His peers, who elected him, called him “an impressive student, a natural leader.”

He worked with the poor, the disenfranchised in Chicago. He practiced civil rights law. He served as Senior Lecturer in Constitutional Law at the University of Chicago Law School. He served in the Illinois State Legislature. He’s no lightweight.

Barack Obama can pronounce the word “nuclear.” He knows the difference between a Sunni and a Shia Muslim. He’s an intellectual, a gifted communicator, a candidate whose commitment to economic parity, to social justice, is firmly rooted in his life experience. Real time in the street with real people. He gets it.

Here’s the truth, you latecomer media hardliners: You want a policy wonk? Really? We gave you a serious policy wonk in 2000. Al Gore gave you policy–up front and in detail. What did you do? You ridiculed him. He was, you snickered, like the smartest guy in the classroom–the one who always knew the right answers, the nerd who wore a pocket protector and thick glasses. Nobody likes a know-it-all, you said, but everybody likes the guy they’re comfortable with, the one who makes them feel good. Everyone likes the “regular guy” they can hang out with, have a cold one with, the one who doesn’t bore them to death with information. Like, say, happy-go-lucky George W. What an endorsement.

We offered you another policy wonk in 2004. It didn’t work then, either.

Americans don’t jump on the position paper bandwagon. Hard news goes the way of the dinosaur while Britney (with or without underwear), Paris and Anna Nicole grab the headlines and the imagination of a public that prizes entertainment over information. We like our sex and scandal served straight-up. The politics-of-the-gutter, smears, fears, half-truths, outright lies–all of it sells better than real news. Or real policy.

We’re offering you another policy wonk for 2008. But this time we’re offering one smart enough to know he must first capture the imagination and the hearts of American voters. Barack Obama will deliver the “steak” when the time is right. He’s smart enough to know there is no easy, black and white, simplistic answer to every problem we face as a nation. He’s smart enough to take the time necessary to offer sound solutions. He’s unlike George W., who sees everything in Public Policy With Dick and Jane’s Pet Goat terms and fails to consider nuance–or any dissenting opinion. Obama is a thoughtful, intelligent candidate who will draw on the best minds available, think things through, imagine the possible unintended consequences of policy actions. Position papers will come soon enough.

Note to mainstream complainers, Fox News, et al: The Great Communicator, Ronald Reagan, told us he’d pay down the debt, balance the budget, increase military spending (to keep us safe) and lower taxes–all painlessly done–within his first term. Bush 41 promised NO NEW TAXES. Dubyah pledged to “Restore honor and dignity to the White House.” He would rectify, he said, a U.S. military stretched too thin worldwide and put an end to a ruinous policy of “nation-building.” Not one of them kept their word. There’s your “steak.” So much for “positions.”

You won’t push us, you won’t scare us and you won’t dictate the terms of a relevant candidacy. We’ve had quite enough of politics-as-usual according to your rules. We can do better. And, with Barack Obama, we will.

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sects–But Were Araid to Ask
April 12, 2007

Thoughts on sects by contributing blogger Linda Hansen

Surge or no surge, Baghdad is burning. And there’s a reason. Sects in the city. Sunnis and Shi’ites are killing each other just for being, well, Sunnis and Shi’ites–and both sides in this civil war are killing Americans.

If Dubyah had been a student of history, he’d have seen it coming. If he’d had the intellectual curiosity or the competence necessary to lead this nation, he’d have taken the time to learn a little something about the culture, the people of Iraq, before he invaded. Maybe if he’d done his job, been a little smarter, thousands of Iraqis and Americans would have been spared. And maybe our troops wouldn’t be caught in the middle of a religious civil war today.

The Sunnis and the Shia have been at each others’ throats for nearly 1400 years. It all started in 632 A.D. when their Prophet, Muhammad, died. They couldn’t agree on a successor.

Shia Muslims believed that, since Muhammad was the Chosen of God, his bloodline was holy. True divinity–by sacred sanction–ran in the family. It’s understandable. For centuries Europeans held similar beliefs about their leaders. The Divine Right of Kings, they called it. You didn’t mess around with inherent righteousness. Seems God was never too busy to pump up the red cell octane in the veins of royalty everywhere. Shi’ites had double indemnity in making their case for succession-by-blood: Muhammad’s daughter married Muhammad’s cousin, Ali. They would produce an infallible line of Imams for Muslims. It was a done deal.

But Sunni Muslims had other ideas. They liked the notion of choosing a successor from among their most trusted religious leaders. No matter whose blood ran in his veins.

Where was the divinity in that? Some irate fundamentalist Shi’ite probably said something like “The only way to heaven is through the Son of the Prophet. Or through the daughter and cousin, in this case.” To which some equally strident Sunni hollered “Who died and left you the sole authority on who gets into heaven?” And the war was on.

Clearly George W. didn’t know all this. His worldview is amazingly narrow–a “Don’t mess with Texas!” sort of thing. If someone on his staff told him the facts, Dubyah must have believed he could Shock and Awe ’em into getting along. We bombed and invaded. Surely we meant well. After all the fires went out, after the bodies were buried and the rubble was swept into a tidy pile, after the Victory Parade where millions of happy Iraqis threw flowers at our feet, we’d get rid of all those nasty WMD. Then we’d give ’em our version of democracy and convert ’em all to Christianity. Who wouldn’t want to embrace the system of government and the religious faith that brought them all that peace, prosperity and freedom? Presto change-o! Everyone would be friends. We’d have permanent military bases in the Middle East and control of Iraqi oil! Hooray for our side! Hooray for Halliburton and Exxon-Mobile! Other nations in the region would be so impressed they’d fall in line like so many born-again dominoes. What could possibly go wrong?

Everything. We didn’t learn a thing from Vietnam, where a total failure to grasp the complexities of the culture doomed us to lose the war–even if it had been a just one. History repeats through ignorance. Ignorance breeds haste and hubris. Ignorance tainted U.S. foreign policy in Iraq from day one. And the 1400 year long holy war between Iraqis rages on.

Bush and his rubberstamp Congress lacked the foresight to look before they leaped. We need a president who won’t make that kind of mistake. We need a man who recognized, from the start, that this war was unwinnable; that we’d find ourselves impossibly mired in a debacle with no positve way out.

In 2002 Barack Obama made his position crystal clear: This war was a bad idea. He was against it. He knew the difference between “a necessary war and a dumb war.”

Enough said.

An Immoral Minority?
April 2, 2007

And so it came to pass that after weeks and months of antagonizing, blaming, ridiculing, and blasting former President Bill Clinton’s “immoral behavior” during the “Days of Monica,” former Speaker of the House and possible ’08 contender Newt Gingrich admits that he was having an affair at the same time. Sadly, I am not at all surprised. This is the nature of the knee-jerk right.

Gingrich said: “The president of the United States got in trouble for committing a felony in front of a sitting federal judge,” inferring that his admonishment and investigation of Clinton had nothing to do with sexual misconduct and everything to do with lying under oath. Apparently lying in general is an okay but lying under oath is not. Did he want a standing ovation for that nonsense comment? Fast-forward three days. Jerry Falwell, of “Moral Majority” fame, invites Gingrich to speak at Liberty University’s Commencement Exercises. Falwell said: “His most recent book, “Rediscovering God in America,” is a brilliant essay that highlights the unique and obvious Christian influence that inspired our nation’s dawning.” Wait… what!?

In case you don’t know about Falwell, I’d like to note the following comments previously made by him at this point. Read with caution.

• “I think the Muslim faith teaches hate”.

• “There are almost as many alcoholics as there are negroes.”

•”He is purple – the gay-pride color; and his antenna is shaped like a triangle – the gay-pride symbol.”

• “I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way — all of them who have tried to secularize America — I point the finger in their face and say, ‘You helped this happen”. (Referring to September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attacks.)

Last but not least,

• “I am a Christian.”

I can only shiver in fear when I think about what Gingrich and Falwell will discuss prior to their rendezvous in Lynchburg. A possible 2008 Presidential run?

I happen to consider myself a believer. I tend to support the separation of church and state for many reasons, though the “tag teaming” of Gingrich and Falwell’s “moral majority” gives me more reason to support it. Faith is a personal journey, not a political mandate. I can’t for the life of me, figure out why the religious right wants to impose their confined and defined belief systems on a nation that is as diverse, if not more so than any other.

Now comes the question of 2008 Democratic contenders. Have you heard the religion of Clinton, Edwards, or Richardson mentioned? Nope. Yet, people are all over Barack because his family has a multi-cultural background that has had exposure to “the rest of the world”. Why does it matter whether Barack is a Christian or not? As long as there is separation of church and state it shouldn’t matter. Are we that desperate to find someone who fits our defined boxes and lives within the lines we draw that we are willing to attack the fact that other religions exist in the world and –get this—may have something very valid to offer. It’s gotten so bad that the Republican Party has begun to pick out their own people, throwing stones at Mitt Romney because he is a Mormon. It’s as if they think people who are different have contagious diseases that can’t be cured.

For the record, and for those that care –Barack Obama is a Christian. Bottom line.

So, this brings me to my closing argument. If Newt and Jerry want to rant and rave about folks being “immoral” and “un-Godly”; if the Radical Right chooses to separate politicians based on religious beliefs; if the “God-factor” is going to determine the election and these politicians choose to talk the talk, why not walk the walk too? The walk of empathy rather than exclusion, the walk of grace rather than condemnation, the walk of kindness rather than rejection, the walk of embracing differences rather than pointing the finger. Aside from that, nothing matters. I look forward to a point where we no longer feel the need to confine God within the boundaries of our traditions, cultures, communities, and political philosophies.

Thanks for reading.

Nathan Lean
Executive Director
RockwithBarack.com

Rock with The Issues: Iraq
March 18, 2007

Today we rock with the issue of Iraq. Our guest contributor is Marcus Gadson, the deputy director of RockwithBarack.com (for more information check out the “Blog Team” section). I hope you enjoy the dicussion and it provokes you to further debate this topic amongst yourselves and further check out Obama’s stance on it.


The Bush administration’s decision to go to war in Iraq was one of the worst policy decisions in American history. Almost four years after bush declared “mission accomplished,” The US has squandered the lives of over 3,000 brave young soldiers and wasted $407 billion and counting on a war that should never have been authorized or fought. Now, President Bush has decided to make matters worse by surging 20,000 more soldiers.

This came despite the advice of several of his commanders on the ground. General John Abizaid, the former of head of central command argued that more soldiers were not the answer before he left his post. The head of the Iraqi government, Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki was against the surge as well, thinking that an increased American force would only add to the perception of an imperialistic American occupation at a time when increased Iraqi control of the effort was vital.

Of course this is not the first time, that Bush has ignored good advice. In private, Colin Powell advocated against launching the invasion, or going into Baghdad. Bush rejected calls for a larger invasion force and a larger occupation force at the war’s outset. He disbanded the entire military structure. This decision is to blame for much of today’s chaos in Iraq; the country would be much further along had the old military been in place to keep some semblance of order.

Needless to say, escalating hostilities is not the answer. More troops on the ground simply means more targets for terrorist, and more dead young Americans. The only way increasing the number of troops would help is if we put in an overwhelming number of troops: think 100,000 or more to destroy the insurgency. There is neither the public support for this, nor the resources necessary to do this. What we need now is a political solution, not a military one. We need to focus on getting a working Iraqi government, and developing a plan to share oil revenues.

Even worse, the surge is detracting from our ability to fight not only in the rest of Iraq, but in the wider war on terror. To surge troops in Baghdad we will have to pull soldiers from other problem areas like Tikrit and Fallujah. The insurgents will soon move back in, and then we will have to deal with them too. In short, condition will deteriorate in the other parts of the country we leave.

Barack Obama had the wisdom to foresee the disastrous consequences of fighting this war in the first place. Way back in 2002, as a state senator, he said the following:

(See related video – Ed.)

“I know that even a successful war against Iraq will require a U.S. occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined costs, with undetermined consequences. I know that an invasion of Iraq without a clear rationale and without strong international support will only fan the flames of the Middle East, and encourage the worst, rather than the best, impulses of the Arab world, and strengthen the recruitment arm of al-Qaida”

Obama made this statement when the President’s popularity was at a high point, and speaking out against the war was construed as unpatriotic. Despite the political pressure, Obama had the courage and principle to buck the popular opinion and the President, and oppose the war.

While other Senators offer non-binding resolutions that Dick Cheney, George Bush, and Karl Rove will ignore, he offers us the Iraq De-Escalation Act of 2007. This legislation, if enacted would bring our soldiers home by March 31 of 2008 with exceptions in place should an emergency require soldiers. This is the only responsible thing left to do. With our soldiers out of Iraq, we can refocus our energies on stabilizing Afghanistan, and we would force the Iraqi government to taking responsibility for its own security, a prerequisite for any sovereign state. In any case, the time is long since past for escalation of hostilities. So, in the upcoming election, ask yourselves this question: do want someone who wants us to keep sending American citizens to fight a needless war or someone who has been opposed to said needless war from the very beginning?

Don’t be fooled by other candidates who keep going back and forth on their stances. For example, both John Edwards and Hillary Clinton voted for the war in Iraq. Don’t let them re-write history just to gain votes. If you really care about this issue then surely you will make the right decision in the coming election and primaries. Hopefully this has provided some initial insight to help you make that decision. We’ll keep providing you with facts about Obama and the other candidates as well as Iraq in general.

Stay tuned and as always, keep rocking,

Marcus Gadson
Deputy Director
RockwithBarack.com

R.I.P. Captain America?
March 14, 2007

Returning to the Captain America story I mentioned in my State of the Union, I think it is more significant than we may think at first glance. I grew up with Marvel Comics. As a kid I loved the X-Men, Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, and Captain America. Cap was the perfect leader. He represented all that was great about America. Cap gets shot, Marvel Comics/wikipediaAll the idealism in its soul. Everything. He was America. In World War II, Captain America was a straight up propaganda comic. By the 60s, he had become something else. That’s when the legend started growing. In the 90s when I read Captain America, he was one of the most popular comic book figures of all time. After September 11th, he became the main character of a new Marvel Comics story arc. While the ones we grew up always had some significance (i.e. X-Men being outcasts in a prejudiced society taught us about racism and stereotypes, for example), this comic book arc relies much more on this generation of comic book readers to identify with politics.

In this arc the government approves an act that requires all superheroes to submit to the government and register their powers (including revealing secret identities). This causes a division among the superheroes. One half fights for all superheroes to do what they think is their legal obligation and the other half fights for superheroes to retain their civil rights and liberties and not be required to register. Guess which side Captain America fights for in what has been termed the Marvel Comics “Civil War.” Cap becomes a fugitive for refusing to give up his liberties. In the end, he gives himself up in hopes for a peaceful resolution but a sniper shoots him (see picture).

The end of Captain America is representative of how people care less and less about liberties in this country. Our ultimate freedom fighter killed by his own people. This current administration has not exactly fostered the idea of increased liberties either. Whomever you decided to vote for, whether it be Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, or even Rudy Giuliani, just make sure they will restore all the liberties that have been progressively taken away from us in the past six years. Barack Obama gets my vote because I know he cares about the liberties of Americans and that he doesn’t care about profiling those who are slightly different in any way. Barack Obama is my Captain America. He exemplifies everything that is free and good with America. He is not perfect, not flawless, but he does his best to be the best representative possible. Just like Captain America he fights for everyone‘s rights, not just the privileged or the money-making corporations of America. Barack Obama is one of us and he fights for us, with us. Hopefully we can help him out and put him in the best position possible to help us out in return.

Captain America may be dead in the Marvel Universe but in the real universe he is alive and kicking…and running for president.

Scooter Libby and Integrity in Washington
March 6, 2007

Sorry to just give you an article without a thorough analysis but I thought this was a very good analysis of the Scooter Libby situation in the Washington Post (if you are not familiar with the situation or just want more facts, click on the link to take you the Post website which has some excellent material). Just exemplifies why we need something new and refreshing in Washington. Barack Obama is a man of integrity, honesty, and honor. Something even the opposition cannot deny. True, Washington is not the most corrupt place in the world but can any American honestly say that they like the direction our government is going in terms of integrity and virtue? Our next few entries will reflect this matter and how seriously we believe that the man to bring upon this change in D.C. is Barack Obama.

Libby Found Guilty in CIA Leak Case

By Amy Goldstein and Carol D. Leonnig
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, March 6, 2007; 12:52 PM

A federal jury today convicted I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby of lying about his role in the leak of an undercover CIA officer’s identity, finding the vice president’s former chief of staff guilty of two counts of perjury, one count of making false statements and one count of obstruction of justice, while acquitting him of a single count of lying to the FBI.

The verdict, reached by the 11 jurors on the 10th day of deliberations, culminated the seven-week trial of the highest-ranking White House official to be indicted on criminal charges in modern times.

Under federal sentencing guidlines, Libby faces a probable prison term of 1 1/2 to three years when he is sentenced by U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton June 5.

As the jury forewoman read each guilty count in a clear, solemn voice, Libby was impassive, remaining seated at the defense table, gazing straight ahead and displaying no visible emotion. His wife, Harriet Grant, sat in the front row with tears in her eyes and was was embraced by friends. Later she hugged each of Libby’s lawyers.

A few minutes after the jury was dismissed, Libby appeared coatless outside the federal courthouse with his two main lawyers, Theodore V. Wells Jr. and William Jeffress Jr. Wells issued a brief statement to the crush of reporters and television crews.

“We intend to file a motion for a new trial,” Wells said. “If that is denied, we will file an appeal. We believe Mr. Libby eventually will be vindicated.”

” We intend to keep fighting for his innocence,” he added.

Libby and his lawyers then briskly turned away and returned to the courthouse without taking questions. The trial’s outcome may have been a repudiation of the strategy that Libby’s attorneys chose by not calling either Libby or Vice President Cheney, his former boss, as a witness.

Libby, 56, was the only person charged in a three-year federal investigation that reached the highest echelons of the Bush White House. The central question in the probe was whether anyone in the administration illegally disclosed classified information during the late spring and early summer of 2003, when they told several journalists that an early critic of the Iraq war was married to undercover CIA officer Valerie Plame.

No one was ever charged with the leak, but the results of the investigation, led by Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald, ultimately tarnished both the administration and the Washington press corps.

The trial revolved around whether Libby deliberately lied about–or simply was too busy toremember correctly–several conversations he had about Plame with colleagues and reporters whenhe was questioned months later by FBI agents and a federal grand jury investigating the leak.

Plame’s husband, former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, was sent by the CIA on a mission to Niger in 2002 to assess reports that Iraq had sought to buy nuclear materials there. He concluded the reports were false. In early July, 2003, Wilson published a rebuke of the White House, accusing the administration of distorting his findings to exaggerate the danger posed by Iraq and justify the war to the American people.

Prosecutors contended that Libby tracked down and told reporters about Plame’s CIA job as part of an administration strategy to discredit her husband by insinuating that the agency had dispatched Wilson to Niger because of nepotism. The prosecution alleged that Libby realized afterwards that he might have relayed classified information and lied to FBI agents and grand jurors to cover that up.

Defense attorneys countered that Libby had a notoriously bad memory and, consumed by his work on sensitive national security matters, did not recall accurately what he knew and said about Plame. The defense also asserted that Libby did not have a motive to lie because he did not know Plame’s job was classified.

The weeks of testimony and evidence placed a microscope on Libby’s actions during a tumultuous period inside the White House shortly after the Iraq war began, casting a harsh light on the way power and information flows in Washington.

The trial highlighted the nation’s divisions over the war, the Bush White House’s intolerance of critics and the uneasy symbiosis between an elite tier of Washington journalists and their confidential sources inside the government.

It also exposed rifts between the White House and the CIA and laid bare rivalries within the White House itself. Relying on testimony from current and former White House officials and hand-written notes by Cheney, Libby and their co-workers, the prosecution showed resentments among the vice president’s office; Karl Rove, the president’s top political adviser; and White House press secretaries.

It also portrayed Cheney as more intimately involved in orchestrating the campaign to disparage Wilson than was previously known. Cheney was motivated in part by Wilson’s erroneous allegation that the CIA had undertaken the mission to Africa solely at the vice president’s request.

Testimony and evidence revealed that the vice president dictated precise talking points he wanted Libby and other aides to use to rebut Wilson’s accusations against the White House, helped select which journalists would be contacted and worked with Bush to declassify secret intelligence reports on Iraqi weapons that he believed would contradict Wilson’s claims.

“There is a cloud over what the vice president did,” Fitzgerald told jurors in the prosecution’s closing arguments. “That’s not something we put there. That cloud is not something you can pretend is not there.”

The case also broke controversial new ground when prosecutors forced journalists to cooperate in a criminal probe. After a long history of leak investigations that had foundered out of reluctance to subpoena reporters in order to get to their sources, Fitzgerald compelled prominent reporters to abandon promises of confidentiality they had made to high-ranking administration officials.

Several news organizations, including The Washington Post, negotiated limits that allowed Fitzgerald to question reporters on specific matters once their sources had waived confidentiality. But one journalist, former New York Times reporter Judith Miller, went to jail for 85 days in an attempt to avoid disclosing the identities of Libby and other sources to investigators. Her protest went to the Supreme Court, which declined to hear her case. Miller ultimately appeared before the grand jury and at the trial.

By the trial’s end, journalists, all but one of whom testified about once-confidential interviews, accounted for 10 of the 19 witnesses to appear at the trial. . Seven of the nine defense witnesses were journalists, including Bob Woodward, an assistant managing editor at The Washington Post, and Robert D. Novak, the syndicated columnist who was the first journalist to disclose Plame’s identity in print. Three of the government’s 10 witnesses were reporters.

For all the journalistic star power and political intrigue on display in recent weeks in Courtroom 16 of the federal courthouse in downtown Washington, the case Fitzgerald presented to the jury was methodical and, at time, dry.

The prosecution’s case hinged on establishing that Libby had lied deliberately to investigators–in part by showing that the memory lapses alleged by the defense were implausible. In particular, the prosecution chipped away at Libby’s statement to investigators that he thought he heard about Plame for the first time on July 10, 2003 from Tim Russert, NBC News’ Washington bureau chief. Only later, Libby told investigators, did he remember that Cheney actually had told him about Plame nearly a month earlier.

“This is not a case about bad memory,” Fitzgerald told the jury during opening statements last month “It was important. . .He made time to deal with the Wilson matter day after day after day.”

Fitzgerald and fellow prosecutors showed notes hand-written by Cheney and Libby indicating that the vice president was deeply disturbed by Wilson’s explosive accusations that the White House had used bogus intelligence to justify the war. Witnesses and evidence showed Cheney orchestrating a point-by-point response to Wilson’s claims–some of it misleading–that the administration gave to hand-picked reporters.

Prosecutors called current and former administration officials who testified to a series of steps Libby took to learn about Wilson and Plame. Two of them told jurors that Libby had called them during the spring of 2003, sounding agitated and demanding information about why Wilson was chosen by the CIA for the Niger mission.

Prosecutors then took the jury through Libby’s disclosures about Plame. Former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer testified that, on July 7, 2003, Libby took him to lunch in the White House mess. After discussing the Miami dolphins and Fleischer’s pending move to a private-sector job, Fleischer said, Libby told him, “hush-hush,” that Wilson’s wife worked in the CIA’s counterproliferation division and had sent her husband to Niger.

Miller, the former New York Times reporter, testified that Libby became the first person to tell her about Plame, during a meeting in his office that June 23. Matthew Cooper, a former Time magazine White House reporter, testified that Libby confirmed to him off-the-record that Plame worked at the CIA, shortly after Cooper had been told of her by Rove.

Finally, the prosecution highlighted discrepancies between the accounts of the government witnesses and Libby’s statements to investigators. The jury listened to eight hours of audiotapes of Libby’s testimony during two appearances before the grand jury in March, 2004.

The government’s final witness, Russert, was the most pivotal. A well-known face from television, Russert firmly contradicted Libby’s statements to investigators that Russert had told him about Plame. Russert testified that Libby had called him on July 10, 2003 to complain about comments that Chris Matthews, host of the MSNBC show, “Hardball,” made about Cheney and Libby. Russert testified he did not mention Plame during that conversation.

“That would be impossible,” he said, “because I didn’t know who that person was until several days later.”

The defense put on a case that lasted less than three days.

Libby’s lead attorney, Theodore V. Wells Jr., did not explain why he and other defense attorneys decided not to call Libby and Cheney as witnesses. But by keeping them off the stand, the defense spared the two men cross-examination by Fitzgerald.

Instead, the defense relied on a surrogate, John Hannah, to convey to the jury some of the points the defendant and the vice president probably would have made. Hannah, one of Libby’s deputies for national security affairs and now Cheney’s national security adviser, recounted for jurors crises in Iraq, Iran, the Middle East, North Korea and elsewhere in the world that preoccupied Libby about the time of the leak and during the months afterwards.

Hannah testified that “on certain things, Scooter just had an awful memory.” Hannah said that, “times too many to count,” he gave Libby policy recommendations in the morning and, by evening, Libby forgot that Hannah had been the source of the advice.

Libby’s lawyers also suggested the prosecution overstated Libby’s zeal to tell journalists about Plame. A half-dozen journalists, including three from The Washington Post, testified that they had spoken with Libby about the time of the leak–but that he did not mention her to them.

In large part, Libby’s defense consisted of trying to erode the credibility of prosecution witnesses, often by pointing up the fallibility of their own memories.

The defense case did not, however, address the most dramatic assertion Wells made when the trial began. In his opening statement, Libby’s attorney said Cheney had complained that his chief of staff was “put through the meatgrinder” by other White House officials, who were willing to make Libby a scapegoat when the leak investigation began in order to insulate Rove. The defense did not present witnesses or evidence to corroborate that point.

In his closing argument, Wells said the trial turned the courtroom into “a laboratory on recollection,” contending that it was “madness” for prosecutors to argue that Libby’s faulty recollections amounted to criminal conduct. Libby’s conversations about Wilson and Plame, his attorneys insisted, were tangential compared with what was happening inside the White House early the summer of 2003.

“The country was saying, “Hey, you lied to the American public.’ I mean, you talk about a stressful period,” Wells said. “The wheels are falling off the Bush administration. . .It’s a crazy period.”

Months later, when Libby spoke to investigators, Wells told the jury, “if what he said turned out to be incorrect or a mistake, that doesn’t mean he’s a liar.”