While the discussion about Woodward's State of Denial has largely centered around the communication (or lack thereof) of the Bush Administration, M.J. Rosenberg of TPMCafe caught a little throwaway line in the book that has some deeply disturbing implications:
On page 344, Woodward describes the doings at the White House in the early morning hours of Wednesday, the day after the '04 election.
Apparently, Kerry had decided not to concede. There were 250,000 outstanding ballots in Ohio.
So Kerry decides to fight. In fact, he considers going to Ohio to camp out with his voters until there is a recount. This is the last thing the White House needs, especially after Florida 2000.
So what happened?
James Carville gets on the phone with his wife, Mary Matalin, who is at the White House with Bush.
"Carville told her he had some inside news. The Kerry campaign was going to challenge the provisional ballots in Ohio -- perhaps up to 250,000 of them. 'I don't agree with it, Carville said. I'm just telling you that's what they're talking about.'
"Matalin went to Cheney to report...You better tell the President Cheney told her."
Matalin does, advising Bush that "somebody in authority needed to get in touch with J. Kenneth Blackwell, the Republican Secretary of State in Ohio who would be in charge of any challenge to the provisional votes." An SOS goes out to Blackwell.
The rest is history.