A good friend from West River sends along the following summary of Daschle overstating his clout regarding Ellsworth Air Force Base:
Daschle claims his nominee to the BRAC Commission saved Ellsworth.
“As Senate minority leader, I had the power in the 1990s to keep Ellsworth off the base closure list by appointing Al Cornella to the panel that oversees base closures. In 2005, the Pentagon will again decide what bases will close, which is why it is imperative that we have the power to send a voice to that panel that will be a rock-solid supporter of Ellsworth.” (Tom Daschle, Rapid City Journal, 4/24/04)
BUT, Daschle’s BRAC nominee said he would recuse himself from Ellsworth dealings.
“Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle’s pick for the commission was the leader of a drive to save Ellsworth Air Force base in South Dakota, Daschle’s home state. Al Cornella, who owns a commercial refrigeration business, promised the Senate panel he would stay out of any deliberations dealing with that base.” (Associated Press, 2/16/95)
Daschle now claims he isn’t aware that his BRAC nominee must recuse himself.
“If Sen. Tom Daschle, D-S.D., gets to name a member of the commission that decides the next round of military base closures, that person would not have to take himself out of discussions about Ellsworth Air Force Base, Daschle said Tuesday. ‘I don't know of any recusal requirements whatsoever,’ Daschle said at a news conference.” (Rapid City Journal 10/27/04)
BUT, Daschle’s staff admitted his BRAC nominee was likely to stay out of deliberations.
“An aide to Daschle said Cornella would probably stay out of deliberations dealing with Ellsworth.” (Associated Press, 1/6/95)
Daschle claims his Oval Office meeting saved Ellsworth.
“Helene you have heard me talk a lot about how important it is for South Dakota to be at the front of the line. I don’t think there is a more important example of that than Ellsworth. I was able to demonstrate how important it is to be at the front of the line as the leader of, one of the two Senate leaders when I was actually in the Oval Office and asked President Clinton to take Ellsworth off the base closing list. He did. He did because I’m leader. He wouldn’t have done that if I had been a freshman Senator.” (Tom Daschle, KSFY Debate, 10/18/04)
BUT, the facts show that Ellsworth wasn’t taken off the BRAC list until months later.
“[The Oval Office] meeting occurred in ‘mid- to late December 1994,’ shortly after Daschle had been elected minority leader by his fellow Senate Democrats.” (Rapid City Journal 10/27/04)
“The New York Times reported on Feb. 24, 1995, that Ellsworth was on a draft list less than a week away from public release by Defense Secretary William Perry. The New York Times Pentagon reporter who wrote that story told the Rapid City Journal in 1995 that an Air Force official called him between editions, and Ellsworth was removed from the list in later Times editions published that same day.” (Rapid City Journal 10/27/04)
Once again, it becomes glaringly obvious that you can't listen to what Daschle says, you have to look at the record. And when Daschle talks about his clout, he's prone to exaggeration, to the point that he even takes credit for the sunrise.