Amanda Terkel

Amanda Terkel is managing editor of the blog and deputy research director at the Center for American Progress Action Fund.

Recent Articles

Who Will Be the Boss?

Amid unvetted VP rumors, and on-the-trail gaffes, John McCain has proven to be a seriously undisciplined candidate. Who is going to actually hold the reins if he takes the presidency?

During this week's Republican National Convention, pundits have been speculating on who will be in a John McCain administration. The choice of advisers for McCain is especially important because he will likely be relying on them just as much, if not more, than President Bush has on his. In fact, McCain risks being overtaken by a McCain administration. All candidates and presidents rely on their confidants for advice. But something more has been happening in the McCain campaign. McCain's advisers, rather than the candidate himself, are often the authoritative voices. Who will actually run a McCain administration? For example, while on the campaign trail, McCain has promised to repeal the alternative minimum tax, allow businesses to expense all investments in equipment, double the tax deduction for dependents, and create a simplified alternative tax system. Privately, however, McCain's advisers are saying that these expensive promises aren't official policy. When questioned about the...

The Anatomy of Smear

The White House response to former press secretary Scott McClellan's damning new book would be much more convincing if it weren't so familiar. The administration is following the same script it always uses when one of its own turns against it.

Since last Tuesday, senior members of the Bush administration have largely put aside their governing duties and become character assassins. Their target: Scott McClellan, previously a member of President Bush's inner circle and, ironically, once a top character assassin himself. In the world of "loyal Bushies," McClellan's crime is more unspeakable than pushing fake intelligence to lead a country into war or disclosing classified information, such as the identity of a U.S. intelligence agent. McClellan has dared to criticize his now-former friends. In his new memoir, he goes so far as to say that the Bush administration waged a "propaganda campaign" to deceive the American public into supporting the Iraq war. He also accuses Karl Rove, Scooter Libby, and Vice President Cheney of encouraging him to "repeat a lie" about their involvement in the Valerie Plame leak case. The attacks on McClellan have been extremely well-coordinated, with current and former Bush administration officials...

The Fraud of Voter ID Laws

Voting irregularities? There may be ballot box stuffing, electronic voter machine hacking, and list manipulation. Voter ID laws, however, don't address these problems.

Everything was supposed to change after Bush v. Gore . Never again would the outcome of a presidential election be left in the hands of nine Supreme Court justices who issued their opinion amid nation-wide questions of "hanging chads" and "butterfly ballots." In its opinion, the court said it anticipated "legislative bodies nationwide" would "examine ways to improve the mechanisms and machinery for voting" in order to avoid a repeat of the 2000 recount disaster. Seven years later, however, local, state, and federal governments have failed to fix these flawed voting "mechanisms," leaving the country with low-quality voter registration databases and inadequate safeguards for maintaining voter rolls. It takes a hacker just one minute to break into an electronic voting machine. Yet many conservatives have turned their backs on these institutional problems and instead focused their hostilities on individual voters. With reports of rampant "voter fraud" from by organizations of questionable...

Bush's Last Resort

Despite the White House's leap to claim victory on S-CHIP, in reality Bush is playing defense, forced to rely on vetoes and executive orders to swat down the progressive legislation Congress has sent his way.

President Bush walks from the Oval Office, Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2007, after vetoing a bill expanding a popular health care program for children by $35 billion. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
There was no shortage of chest-thumping last week at the White House. When House conservatives voted to sustain President Bush's veto of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP), White House spokeswoman Dana Perino gleefully told reporters, "We won this round on S-CHIP." Earlier in the week, Bush justified denying health insurance to four million children by claiming that vetoes show he is still "relevant." "That's one way to ensure that I'm in the process," he said during a press conference. The media happily joined this celebration, picking up the White House's talking points. On Friday, The New York Times reported , "For now, the insurance vote stands as the latest example of how Mr. Bush can still get his way on Capitol Hill. Through artful use of veto threats and his veto pen, Mr. Bush has fended off attempts to force a change of course in Iraq," among other policies. Roll Call Executive Editor Mort Kondracke wrote that "there is some truth" to the White House claim...