Donkey Trunk?

John McCaslin

4/21/2008 10:54:51 AM - John McCaslin

"Looks like the official John McCain campaign store replaced their vendor after your story about Vietnam merchandise," writes a high-profile Republican source, who actually points out: "They have since inked a new contract with the same company that handles Barack Obama's campaign store.

"That's right, the company that makes its money bashing Republicans is making money off our Republican."

Inside the Beltway reported in February that the official vendor for the presumptive Republican nominee, Cincinnati-based PC Signs, was forced to apologize to Mr. McCain after sending one of the Arizona senator's sons a McCain for President fleece stamped "Made in Vietnam."

As for Mr. McCain"s now turning, perhaps unknowingly, to Mr. Obama's official campaign manufacturer and supplier — political buttons, T-shirts, bumper stickers and the like — the political blog Pajamas Media reports that it "certainly appears" the Republican's official store is now being run surreptitiously by Ohio-based Tigereye Design, a company that has a long track record of helping Democrats win.

The site has just posted an in-depth story by Steve Gill, a Tennessee attorney, talk show host and political analyst, who says whereas Tigereye CEO Tony Baltes denies any connection to the Web site goptrunk.com — which the McCain campaign now designates as its supplier — "there appear to be a remarkable number of connections between the operators of the 'official Obama store' and the 'official McCain store." "

Consider, Mr. Gill points out:

• "Shipping labels ...on McCain campaign materials ordered from goptrunk.com show a return address in tiny Greenville, Ohio — the same small town where Tigereye conducts its own manufacturing operations. Is it just a coincidence that the location of two major 'official' presidential campaign paraphernalia operations is in a town of just 14,000 people?"

• "Tigereye is the only company that produces presidential campaign t-shirts with campaign logos that are heat-pressed rather than silk-screened. Goptrunk.com is producing McCain shirts that are heat-pressed."

• "Campaign buttons sold by Tigereye Design on the 'official' Obama Web site utilize an identical 'button platform,' or blank, as those sold by goptrunk.com as the 'official' McCain products."

• "The exact same week that the McCain campaign designated goptrunk.com as their 'official store,' Tigereye announced that they were adding 50 new employees to meet the expected demands of their presidential campaign merchandising."

• "The webmaster for Democrat-oriented Tigereye, Chad Groff, owns the cell phone number that was listed under the registration of goptrunk.com."

Still 'stealing'

Now that he's out of jail in Zimbabwe and back in South Africa after being charged with working as a journalist without accreditation, New York Times reporter Barry Bearak is speaking his mind about President Robert Mugabe.

The following note was shared with students, faculty and alumni of Columbia Journalism School by Sree Sreenivasan, the school's dean of students:

"Dear Sree, I'm happily back in [South Africa], having evaded a likely re-arrest by going overland through Zambia rather than risking the Harare airport. I received a lot of support from many places and ... I'm extremely grateful.

"Zimbabwe is a very sad place right now. It appears that Mugabe is going to get away with stealing yet another election. That means continued suffering for the Zimbabwean people. My own understanding of their terrible problems increased a lot in the Harare cells, where I met many good people. I'm hoping for the day when I can safely return to that country and continue reporting."

God's goals

A gentleman named "Gustafsson" wrote this note surrounding the visit to Washington last week of Pope Benedict XVI, which we found posted on "Ted's Take," the blog of Washington Capitals majority owner Ted Leonsis:

"From my 18th Street office in Northwest I walked a mere block to Pennsylvania Avenue a little before noon and caught Pope Benedict's procession pass tens of thousands of Washingtonians today."

"I had a superb view of the Pontiff, and as I seemed to catch his eye for a nano-second I silently asked for his intercession in (1) world strife and conflict and (2) a cleared Capitals' crease. I'm not one to reorient my priorities in vulgar fashion just because the playoffs have at long last arrived in D.C."

Sure enough, facing elimination, Washington's hockey team Saturday jumped to an early lead and hung on to defeat the Philadelphia Flyers by a score of 3-2 in Game 5 of their first-round playoff series, forcing Game 6 tonight in the so-called City of Brotherly Love.