Friday, December 14, 2007

The Plan

Derek Jordan grasped it first.

“The election isn’t final until the electors vote”, he said.

“Right” answered Duke. “And there’s a big difference between ‘President-elect’ and ‘President’. With Reynolds dead, the question of who won the election is back to square one.”

Heather Connolly nodded. “The voters picked Reynolds, but he’s dead now” she noted, “so the election is void, right?”

“That’s our plan” agreed Duke. “Without a President-elect, they’ll have to run another election, and nobody they pick will be as strong as Derek.”

“But why even have another election?” pondered Heather. “Derek got the second-most votes, and since Reynolds can’t take office, we can argue Derek is the next in line.”

“Well, we’ll have to word it better, so it doesn’t sound like we’re selling the Presidential election like a Miss America pageant” warned Duke, which earned him a cold stare from Connolly, “but yeah, we start with that angle, and then use the new election as a back-up plan.”

Thursday, December 13, 2007


Heather Connolly glared down her running mate and party chairman.

“Look, I know how to look sympathetic”, she protested.

“It’s not enough” replied Horace Duke, the party chair. “Right now, we have to play along with the ‘We are all Americans’ line. The killers were Arabs or Palestinian, or even if they weren’t most people will think of them that way.”

“So?” asked Derek Jordan.

“So,” explained Duke, “There’s a big difference between us calling out the other party for Hypocrisy or being crooked, and looking like we’re happy they get assassinated.”

“It’s murder, not assassination” argued Heather.

“Assassination” returned Duke bluntly. “Like it or not, these people killed the President-Elect of the United States. We just can’t ignore that.

We can play this to our advantage, but you’re going to have to be strong on this, Heather.”

Heather Connolly knew what was coming, but even so she became furious as she listened to Horace Duke explain the new plan.

“You want me to demand a Senate investigation into IRAN?” she exploded.

“Absolutely” replied Duke. “Everyone already thinks Iran did it, so there’s no way we can run against that. But if we push hard as a National Security issue, this plays to our support for winning the White House.”

“What, you mean next time?” asked a puzzled Jordan.

“Hell no” retorted Duke, “Didn’t you realize this means the White House is up for grabs now?”

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Pete Mallard sat across the coffee table from President Shaw, aware that the President had quickly grasped the significance of the event. Shaw’s habit had always been to meet with groups, not individuals, so a private meeting with his NSA showed a quick grasp of the stakes.

“Pete, this smells to high heaven”, began Shaw. “The plot was pretty damned complex, with fake news credentials and a stolen van and all, but they don’t go for anyone else?”

Shaw stood up and paced as he spoke.

“And why not a bomb, or just go for a mass attack? This was too chancy.”

“But it worked” reminded Mallard.

“Yes, it worked” agreed Shaw. “That’s strange too. The right place at the right time? Too lucky.

“So, I don’t buy the ‘usual suspects’, Pete. We need to find the indirect attack.”

Sunday, December 09, 2007

First Decisions

President Shaw looked grimly across the coffee table at Tom Sands, his Press Secretary, and Pete Mallard, his National Security Advisor, as well as Agent Hill and a number of staff officials.

“How bad is it?” he asked.

“Seven dead including Donald Reynolds, plus the attackers, Mister President”, said Tom Sands. “Another five injured, all critically, including Ms. Green.”

“The dead are the President-elect, two from his campaign staff, an agent from his detail, two of Green's staff and an agent from Green’s detail.

“The injured are Ms. Green, two from Reynolds’ detail, and two more from her detail.

“The attackers appear to be Middle-Eastern, one female mid 20s, and five males, also mid 20s. They were wearing CNN shirts, carried credentials and had a CNN van. We’re chasing down the materials on that angle. The credential question is why we slammed the lid on the press-“

“Lift it. NOW” interrupted Shaw. Sands paused, but after a moment he and a man from the AG’s office got up and left to carry out the order.

“OK, I know the security drill” said Shaw, “but what next?”

“Frankly, Mr. President” began Pete Mallard, “that depends on what happens next. This was a conspiracy, which means we need to know what was their next planned move. We can guess, but right now that would be sure to be a mistake.”

“Agreed” said Shaw. “Then I need you to find options for me for each possible route. And Tom?”

Tom Sands stopped at the door.

“I will address the nation tonight. I need a draft by noon, and keep me updated on conditions.

“Also, get me phone numbers for the families of the victims. If I can’t go anywhere right now, I still need to reach the people who lost loved ones here. Start with Peggy Reynolds.”