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Rove-Protege Tim Griffin Dismisses Caging: ‘I Didn’t Cage Animals, I’m Not A Zookeeper’

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"Rove-Protege Tim Griffin Dismisses Caging: ‘I Didn’t Cage Animals, I’m Not A Zookeeper’"

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griffin28727.gifKarl Rove-protege Tim Griffin recently stepped down as U.S. attorney in Arkansas, realizing that his nomination would almost certainly be rejected by the Senate.

Griffin’s tenure was especially controversial because as former Research Director for the Republican National Committee in 2004, he allegedly engaged in the voter suppression of African-American servicemembers through a tactic known as “caging,” which is both illegal under the federal Voting Rights Act and unconstitutional.

At a speech at the University of Arkansas this week, a teary-eyed Tim Griffin defended his record. Like former Justice official Monica Goodling — who called caging just “a direct-mail term — Griffin attempted to dismiss the allegations. He laid the blame on the “Internet stuff” and made jokes comparing caging to tending zoo animals:

Obviously, I’ve seen the Internet stuff about caging. First of all, the allegations that are on the Internet and have spread through the tabloids are completely and absolutely false, number one. And ridiculous. Caging, as you may know, I had it looked up, is a direct-mail term for basically organizing returned mail. … And I’ll just say that it’s so untrue. … This is all made up and faux pas. I didn’t cage votes, I didn’t cage mail, I didn’t cage animals, I’m not a zookeeper.

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Griffin dismissed the accusations but provided no evidence to support his claims, downplaying the severity of caging. But the allegations against Griffin are serious enough that Goodling briefed Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty on them before he testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Griffin will now be joining Fred Thompson’s presidential campaign.

Transcript:

GRIFFIN: Obviously, I’ve seen the Internet stuff about caging. First of all, the allegations that are on the Internet and have spread through the tabloids are completely and absolutely false, number one. And ridiculous. Caging, as you may know, I had it looked up, is a direct-mail term for basically organizing returned mail. Now I know that it has been defined (inaudible) on the Internet as some sort of purging voters, suppressing voters, caging voters, vote caging. All these different thing go back to one guy, who’s name I won’t mention, who wrote something about me when I came in control of the U.S. attorney (inaudible). It’s completely untrue. It’s not even, there’s not even a scintilla of proof. And I’ll just say that it’s so untrue, I don’t know exactly what you want me to say. I didn’t do any of the stuff he alleges, and of course if I didn’t do it, I don’t know of any Karl Rove impact (inaudible). This is all made up and faux pas. I didn’t cage votes, I didn’t cage mail, I didn’t cage animals, I’m not a zookeeper.

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