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Member Commentary

Campaign Watch 2000 Update

By Peter Robbins

The major UFO-related political news this past week was George W. Bush's response to a question on UFO secrecy. In an online news conference transcript posted by CNN correspondent Jonathan Karl, Bush replied, "Sure I will," when a citizen questioner asked if he would tell the public "what the hell is going on" with UFOs. Bush indicated that vice-presidential candidate Dick Chaney would use his experience as Secretary of Defense to address the issue.

UFOcity.com posted this story on Tuesday, August 1; the article can be read in its entirety by going to http://www.ufocity.com/breaking.cfm?NewsID=268. In the original coverage, CNN correspondent is credited with asking the actual question, which is then followed up by an individual in the audience, to whom Governor Bush responds. Yesterday, Jan Aldrich from Project 1947 sent us an update on this news item. Jonathan Ackerman had called him to say that while the story was true, the transcript does not give an exact picture of what happened, but the videotape (which Ackerman has seen) does give us a clearer picture of the exchange.

On the video, Jonathan Karl speaks in a voice-over as Mr's. Bush and Chaney are greeting people and shaking hands. The question a number of us were asking ourselves though was why would Mr. Karl have asked the candidate any UFO-related question to begin with. According to John Ackerman, the unidentified questioner is the person who first asked the question about UFOs. The fact is that Jonathan Karl only poses the question in voice-over on the broadcast version of the tape, short-cutting, so to say, the unidentified questioner's original query.

So, the actual chronology is that the unidentified citizen asked if Bush as president would tell us the truth about UFOs, whereupon the governor smiled, then said "Sure I will, then indicated that vice-presidential candidate Dick Chaney would use his experience as Secretary of Defense to address the issue. Chaney makes no comment during the exchange. Even with this subtle revision, we still seem to be looking at an important breakthrough in UFO-related politics. We will be writing to Governor Bush about this next week (as well as to Vice President Gore and other declared candidates) and will keep you apprised of any new breaks in this intriguing story.

Campaign Watch 2000 has very much evolved into a double-pronged project: part one is to get our presidential candidates to answer these three questions:

1) As president, would you be willing to offer executive amnesty for credible UFO witnesses in our military and intelligence communities, so they can freely make available their knowledge on this matter without fear of legal reprisal?

2) As president, would you be willing to order the declassification of UFO-related records and documents held by the government?

3) As presidential candidate, what statement will you issue concerning the American public's right to access whatever information the American government currently has available on this topic?

Part two is to involve the American journalistic community at large in understanding that this is a serious issue, and to invite (or perhaps challenge) them to go beyond their own fears of ridicule and to take their own stands on the subject. As of today I have personally written to 229 political editors, reporters, staff writers and columnists, including background and supporting material on the subject and our efforts. Few have bothered to respond (see last week's CW2K Update at http://www.ufocity.com/features.cfm?NewsID=435), but this week we received a note from the Editorial Page Editor of the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal saying that" We do not believe your concerns are a major national policy issue. Publication declined." While we obviously do not agree with this editor's opinion, we did write to let him know that we appreciated his taking the time to respond to our query.

At the other extreme, we are please to report that in today's edition of the Detroit Free Press, columnist Desiree Cooper devotes an entire column to our efforts. "UFO Question Pulls Politics Down to Earth" may be read or downloaded by going to www.freep.com/news/metro/des4_20000804.htm. We appreciate Ms. Cooper's efforts and hope that more journalists will follow her lead as we close in on Election Day. That's it for the moment. More to follow next week..



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