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Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Tarrant_o30 There was an email in my inbox at 6 a.m. this morning titled “R U Shitting Me?” 

It was from a fine gentleman who used to work for a Republican statewide officeholder. He was positively dumbfounded that in its Tuesday edition The Burlington Free Press endorsed the self-funded Republican candidate in Vermont’s U.S. Senate race. That’s right. If you haven’t heard yet, the Gannett chain’s Vermont shop endorsed the  $7 million man, Richie Rich Tarrant, over that living Vermont legend - eight-term Independent Congressman Bernie Sanders.

That's a shot of Richie Rich we took yesterday as he entered the Capital Plaza ballroom in Montpeculiar where, with other candidates, he spoke at the Vermont Mental Health Association gathering. Didn't really address mental health in particular, but rather Tarrant just gave his standard five-minute health care stump speech.

This comes on the heels of the Freeps surprising many with its endorsement of Democrat Peter Welch for Congress, and surprising many more with its backing of Democrat Matt Dunne for Lite-Gov.  Speculation has been that the addition of highly-respected former Howard Dean press secretary Sue Allen to the Freeps editorial board had injected a heavy dose of Vermont political reality to the strange band of faceless unknowns who decide the Gannett paper’s editorial-page positions.

“Rich Tarrant offers practical and creative ideas on jobs, taxes and a more streamlined health care delivery system. He deserves a chance to bring these and other ideas to the U.S. Senate.

"Tarrant is a problem-solver. He has a background in business that would be refreshing in Congress. He is a self-starter with proven accomplishments. His ties to the state are strong. He has a solid knowledge of health care. His is a voice of moderation.”

Yes, indeed, Ol’ Tarrogant Richie does have “solid knowledge of health care.” It’s the kind of knowledge one gets by being on the executive committee of the Fletcher Allen Board of Trustees when the biggest financial scandal in Vermont history went down! And Trustee Tarrant, forced to resign in disgrace, aggressively defended until the bitter end the point man on the scheme - the crooked CEO who lied to state regulators and went to federal prison for it where he sits today.

And we did catch Republican State Rep. Anne Donohue of Northfield giving Tarrant an earful in the hallway at the Plaza over his remarks, reported in Sam Hemingway's recent story, praising convicted CEO Bill Boettcher. Donohue does not consider "community activists" bad people.

"His courage to take a strong position when community activists attack is refreshing," Tarrant, now the Republican Senate candidate, said of Boettcher in a Nov. 12, 2001, e-mail to board Chairman Phil Drumheller. "We are lucky to have Bill Boettcher."

Boy, money does talk, doesn’t it?

Any thoughts, folks?


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Steve Arrants

I was shocked when I read it online this morning a little after 5am. i went down to the street to get my home-delivered copy to see if it really was true. Yup. And it read as if the Freep took a bunch of Tarrant press releases, cut them up, and then pasted them into the endorsement.

Just after 6am I called the Freep's subscriber line and cancelled my subscription (just two weeks after subscribing). When asked why--"Delivery issues? Leaving Vermont for the Winter?" I told the representative that it was because the paper had endorsed Tarrant. She didn't sound too surprised.

Oh well...guess I'll have to miss my weekly supermarket coupons...


The Free Press endorsed a pro-business megalomaniac who most resembles the daily rags owner? Get out of here! Although James Carey is short fat and bald, he and Tarrogant are cut from the same cloth. I thought the endorsments of Dunne and Welch were a bit peculiar, but they do appear to insulate the paper from any criticism that they lean to far to the left or right. My guess is that the day of Free Press influence in the political process has passed. I also thought it strange that on the same day of Richie Rich's endorsment, the "letter's to the editor" section was headed by two ringing endorsments for Tarrogant, one of which is highly critical of Bernie. Not a single endorsement for Bernie to be found today. Interesting, as I've noticed about a 2-1 Bernie support vs. Tarrant in recent "letter's to the editor". Probably just a coincidence.

Greg Hancock

I cancelled my subscription to this rediculous excuse for a community paper this morning also. The editorial read like nothing more than a talking point memo direct from the Tarrant campaign. If Tarrant wants to waste the money he "earned" from GE shareholders, that's his choice. But for the local paper to endorse this campaign is suspcious. Here's a great opportunity for 7Days to do an investigative piece.


I'm absolutely shocked that the Free Press would endorse Tarrant. As a Vermonter, I have always thought the paper was poor, esp. in its coverage of local poltics--but this is even hard for me to figure out.

Something else struck me odd about this endorsement--it was very tepid and nuanced. Did anyone else feel this way? It was just a regurgitation of campaign slogans and platitudes, with no real analysis of the issues of where Tarrant stood on the important issues of the day--Iraq, government oversight, abortion, taxes, etc.

It was as if the board was saying, trust us, Tarrant is "a voice of moderation." Just ignore the last 6 months of unbelievably negative attack ads that are filled with partisan venom and half truths--forget that Tarrant is largest funder of Bush/Cheney in the state of Vermont, giving hundereds of thousands of dollars to conservative causes--don't worry that Tarrant is pro-life--forget that Tarrant said that there shouldnt be hearings to investigate the White House...the list goes on and on...But really, Vermonters, he is a "voice of moderation."

It is obvious the Free Press didnt want to dig below the surface on this one. The question is why? Keep the wealthiest man in Vermont happy, while not taking a single shot at Bernie? Was that the back room logic? It appears to me to be the case...


Un-BLEEPING-believable. I am speechless. Problem solver? Voice of moderation? A strong knowledge of health care? What is his experience in the health care field, aside from setting up an accounting system for doctors' offices? That does not make one knowledgeable. Oh, that's right, he sat on the Fletcher Allen BOD and was asked to resign!

I will say, though, that I saw Chris Graff's interview with him last week on VPT. If he had approached the race like the man he was in that interview, my thoughts of him would have been totally different, but still, not enough to vote for him.

Bravo to those who cancelled their subs. I would have done the same thing if I had one.

Gary Bressor

Tarrant still can't figure out which state he is running in. Today's mail brought an 8 1/2" by 11" photo of the Cornish-Windsor Bridge which is 90% in the state of New Hampshire since the river is owned by New Hampshire. The photo shows only the NH portion. I put the standing seam roof on the bridge in the early 1990s and resent my work being used to support Tarrant.


wow, you people are beyond paranoid. Clearly, the Free Press endorsed Tarrant because he is clearly the best candidate. And great response to the endorsement Peter, referencing the Fletcher Allen scandal for the 10 millionth time, as well as criticizing the fact that Tarrant is wealthy, all while ignoring the substantive reasons that the Free Press decided to support Tarrant.


And what a bunch of whiny little brats, cancelling subscriptions because a newspaper didn't endorse a candidate you like. Way to take your ball and go home. This is a true sign of a bunch of losers.

yellow line

The Tarrant endorsment was cut and paste right from Tarrant's web site. The endorsemtn actually highlights plans that are really poorly defined and have absolutely no detail.

Whenever real detail is needed, he simply in essense waves his hands doesn't provide any real detail on financing or on how he will get the job done.

For example, in his property tax plan. He comes up with this silly idea of attacting existing internet based companies to NEK. He's going to do this by using his "sales" experience, but at the same time recognizes the logistics issues of the having the airport in BTV and not in NEK.

From there, he offers to have executive helecopter shuttle service to NEK and says internet based businesses can use USPS, or UPS and don't need to be by the airport.

What an idiot. Does he not realize that the USPS and UPS use airports too and that the logistics would be much easier and it would actually be preferred to have the compaines located near an airport?

Is it only executives that use airports?

Another thing. How are you going to convince a company to move to the NEK? Its so far off the beaten path, the logistics make the cost of doing business higher and you somehow have to convince the owners and the existing workers that they would actually want to live there rather than perhaps some tech mecca, even Burlington for that matter.

what a dork.


Kyle, I hate to break it to you but the best candidate will be decided next Tuesday. I can't wait to hear what hot heads like you come up with to explain why Tarrant loses in a landslide. I also can't wait to watch Teethant's concession speech, ahhhhhh the luxury of having your guy win :)


Nobody should be too flustered about the FreePress endorsement.

The paper sucks.

There's a reason why over the last 20 years or so we've seen a number of small papers get decent readerships inside and outside the burlington community.


Are you folks really shocked? Come on, what did you expect from the Freeps? And if you're still "shocked," try this one: The Wall Street Journal doesn't like Bernie, either! Gasp!

Come to think of it, it must have been hard for the Freeps to choose between the two millionaires. But, of course, they chose the richer one.

Get over it, folks. And remember, nearly 40% of Vermonters don't vote for Bernie -- no matter his opponent or the office he's running for.

As for me? I'm voting for a non-millionare: Go Diamondstone.

RH factor

Conservative bias. More big biz alignment in this state with it's media alla CAX and Freeps.

Why isn't VT's two biggest medias not aligned with its people? Conservative bias m,ight as wll be saluting GW and Dick Cheny.


While I was surprised at first, it didn't last long...Gannett's a corporation, after all.

Or maybe they figured, the hell with it, this will at least boost letters to the editor, which is all anyone reads in that instantly recyclable wad.

But good news for all you free press soon as you cancel, you get put on a list for the "weekly advertiser", which is mainly the BFP's weekly coupons. So no one misses out on those grocery store discounts, and, bonus, the BFP gets to add the numbers of all those weekly deliveries to their advertising numbers. Sweet, eh?

as for Richie Rich, the BFP will not influence many...after all, Burlington isn't even considered Vermont by most other Vermonters.


"you people are beyond paranoid"
"bunch of whiny little brats"
"bunch of losers"
---posted by "Kyle Barry"

Trolling: posting inflammatory and disruptive messages in online forums for the sole purpose of drawing other users into engaging the troll in a fruitless confrontation.

I doubt that you are the "Kyle Barry" who is a member of the Yale Law School class of 2007, or ran cross country at UVM. And I doubt you ever worked for Bernie Sanders. Ultimately, it doesn't matter, as posting instigative nonsense on message boards is embarrassing behavior for anyone--whether they are pretending or not.


Here's an irony: many moons ago, the Free Press endorsed an opponent to Phil Fiermonte for the Ward 3 city council race. Phil, as some may know, works on Bernie's staff. The reason they didn't support Phil: So that Phil could dedicate more time to helping Bernie's congressional campaign, something the Editorial Board fervently believed in.

I even called them with confusion and spoke to a raging a-hole (either Mike or Jim, can't remember). I wanted to know: how could a paper essentially support the lifetime work one person did (Phil) then go and support his opponent?

The a-hole said they had no problem with Phil. In fact, they were big fans of Bernie and wanted to see Bernie succeed. Therefore, Phil should "not be distracted" (paraphrased quote) by council duties and should go and help Bernie full-time.

I suppose the guy could've been pulling my leg, but that's a little weird.

No matter, an endorsement from the Free Press is like being tongued by the Grim Reeper.


I know its Holloween, but whats with Tarrant's picture?

Did he just climb out of his self made coffin?


Most folks stopping at the general store here in town think that the freeps endorsement of Tarrant is more of liability for the freeps than for Bernie.


And to think I was just about to subscribe - for the coupons, of course! It will take years to erase the credibility problem the Freeps just created for itself. Little lily-white corporate weak-kneed hacks. Disgraceful, and embarrassing.

Kyle Barry

I am a member of the YLS class of '07, and I did run country cross at Vermont, and did work for Bernie Sanders, learning first hand how he has the respect of no one in Washington, including his peers in Congress. Believe me, if he's not speaking to a camera in an empty room, he's speaking to a room full of people laughing at him.

But anyway, I think it is clear that many of the posters here are incredibly paranoid. The Free Press supports Tarrant and it just can't be because he's the better candidate (a lot of smart and thoughtful people believe that he is, by the way) but it must be because the Free Press wants to keep the rich man happy! Or at a minimum, they want to keep rich people in general happy, especially large corporations. To believe such nonsense and to call for a seven days investigative piece rather than even consider the possibility that the Free Press editorial staff made a reasoned determination that Tarrant will better represent Vermont than the national laughing stock who is Bernie Sanders, is not only paranoid, but fully delusional. In retrospect, I was being kind.

Further, how can people cancelling their newspaper subscriptions over this not conjure up the image of a whiny little kid doing the only thing he can to get back at those who picked him last for basketball--take his ball and go home. It's a sign of a loser, acting pathetic in defeat, making excuses, crying foul, and then running off to a place full of other kids who suck at basketball who will sympathize with him.

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