CNN host accuses Indians of stealing Senate election
Friday, January 9, 2004

Indian leaders, Democrats and Republicans are criticizing the host of a CNN show who accused Indian voters of stealing the 2002 U.S. Senate election, The Rapid City Journal reports.

On Tuesday's broadcast of "Crossfire," Robert Novak, a political commentator, said "Tom Daschle may have to pay for that theft." "In 2002, [Republican John] Thune would have been elected to the state's other Senate seat, but the election was stolen by stuffing ballot boxes on Indian reservations," he said.

On a December 13 show, Novak also made other disparaging comments. "The Indians, they got the phony Indian votes out there," he said.

Lower Brule Sioux Chairman Mike Jandreau called the remarks "outrageous, offensive and factually wrong." A spokesperson for Sen. Tim Johnson (D) said: "For Bob Novak, a seasoned political commentator, to throw around such allegations is yellow journalism at its worst." A spokesperson for Sen. Tom Daschle (D) said: "The false allegations and efforts to intimidate voters on the reservations were a very dark moment in South Dakota politics."

Even state Republicans criticized Novak. Gov. Mike Rounds said the comments were "ignorant" and the campaign manager for Thune said they were "inappropriate."

Thune lost the election by less than 600 votes. Indian voters carried Johnson to re-election. Thune is running against Daschle this year.

A transcript of Tuesday's show can be found at

Get the Story:
CNN's Novak under fire for calling American Indians election thieves (The Rapid City Journal 1/9)

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Indian vote eyed in race between Thune, Daschle (1/7)
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