Marie Cocco

Marie Cocco is a syndicated columnist with The Washington Post Writers' Group. As a reporter and columnist for Newsday, she has covered Congress, the White House, and presidential politics.

Recent Articles

Mr. Blackwell's Designs

Hundreds of voters mysteriously “dropped or displaced” from registration rolls when master lists were electronically merged. Absentee ballots invalidated because voters didn't receive a flier telling them not to remove a security stub. Poll workers who didn't show up to work on Election Day. Polling places unable to open on time because computer memory cards for new machines hadn't been installed. Suspicious shortages of machines in precincts that happened to be heavily Democratic. Voters who left the polls in disgust without having cast a ballot, because they just couldn't wait for overwhelmed precinct workers to sort through a monstrous mess of administrative and equipment problems. Ohio, 2004? Nope. Ohio, 2006. It took Cuyahoga County officials six days after the May 2 primary to come up with a tally of results. The Election Day chaos in Ohio's most populated jurisdiction -- and a heavily Democratic one -- has been the subject of scathing official inquiries that found...

They've Got a Secret

Larry Berman didn't really believe that a journal article he was writing in 2004 would break much new ground in telling the story of Lyndon B. Johnson and his conduct of the Vietnam War. Berman, a political science professor at the University of California at Davis, already had published two books on presidential decision making in the mid-1960s, when LBJ devised and executed his tragic plan to escalate U.S. military involvement in Southeast Asia. Berman concedes that he filed a routine Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for the release of Johnson's presidential daily briefs (PDBs) -- the intelligence summaries the Central Intelligence Agency prepares for the President each day -- in part “as a matter of principle.” The briefs he wanted for the article are dated August 6, 1965, and April 2, 1968. They are part of the historical record, not contemporaneous accounts of current -- or even recent -- national-security matters. “The public has a right to know how these decisions are...

Accidental Tourists

Had they been born and raised on this side of the Atlantic, they might have turned up as characters in a Bruce Springsteen ballad. They are the sort Springsteen tends to memorialize: Their roots are in a faded manufacturing neighborhood; their brushes with the law were petty scrapes that did not keep them from retaining their jobs as mail sorters or retail clerks, or from studying at a local university. All three have that knockabout way of going through life. It makes them neither aimless nor directed, but somehow it carries them along. In the fall of 2001, the happenstance of life as they lived it took them from their hardscrabble neighborhood of Tipton, England, (just outside Birmingham) to Pakistan. That is where one of the Tipton Three, Asif Iqbal, was to be wed in an arranged marriage. The other two, Ruhel Ahmed and Shafiq Rasul, were buddies who went to Pakistan for the wedding and for the sheer novelty of it. “When he asked me to go to his wedding, I said, ‘Why not?'” Ahmed...

The Anti-Joe

Ned Lamont is an unlikely insurgent. The founder of a small cable company that specializes in telecommunications systems for college campuses, Lamont is a wealthy man who speaks with the measured cadence of one who earns his living making deals, not political speeches. Yet the Greenwich businessman has got Connecticut Democrats all wired up: Lamont promises a primary run against Senator Joe Lieberman, an entrenched incumbent with national stature, a flush campaign account -- and a firm hold on state party regulars that resembles the grip of an old-time political machine. Lamont was, in fact, moved to challenge Lieberman himself in part because he could find no established Connecticut politician to take on the senator. His journey began last fall, when Pennsylvania Congressman John Murtha stirred Democrats around the country with his declaration that the Iraq War was a failure and that the troops should start coming home. Lamont found himself aghast at Lieberman's response: The senator...

The Anti-Joe

Ned Lamont is an unlikely insurgent. The founder of a small cable company that specializes in telecommunications systems for college campuses, Lamont is a wealthy man who speaks with the measured cadence of one who earns his living making deals, not political speeches. Yet the Greenwich businessman has got Connecticut Democrats all wired up: Lamont promises a primary run against Senator Joe Lieberman, an entrenched incumbent with national stature, a flush campaign account -- and a firm hold on state party regulars that resembles the grip of an old-time political machine. Lamont was, in fact, moved to challenge Lieberman himself in part because he could find no established Connecticut politician to take on the senator. His journey began last fall, when Pennsylvania Congressman John Murtha stirred Democrats around the country with his declaration that the Iraq War was a failure and that the troops should start coming home. Lamont found himself aghast at Lieberman's response: The senator...

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