Bush Supporters Say DUI Arrest Won't Hurt Him, Accuse Democrats of Dirty Tricks

By Christine Hall | July 7, 2008 | 8:26 PM EDT

(CNSNews.com) - The Democratic-sponsored leak of the story, that Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush was arrested for drunk driving 24 years ago, represents a "dirty trick" and will remind voters of similar tactics used by the Clinton Administration, according to one of Bush's supporters.

"It reminds people of the Clinton Administration's historic contempt for people's privacy, for their use and abuse of FBI files against political enemies, and their willingness to do absolutely anything," Grover Norquist, President of the Americans for Tax Reform, said. "We were always expecting an October surprise, and I guess this is it." remarked Norquist.

Norquist said he expects the backlash to help Bush and predicted legal consequences for those who leaked the court documents.

"I think it will help Bush a little bit [because of the backlash]. This is such obviously a dirty trick and such obviously done by the Democrats, and it's twenty-four years old. This comes across as desperation," said Norquist.

"We now know [this was] leaked by an active Democrat, Gore supporter, in violation of the law, of taking sealed court documents," said Norquist. "The guy who leaked it will almost certainly be disbarred for this, and the judge who was part of this, who was also a Democrat," Norquist predicted.

Norquist conceded that Bush should have revealed the information himself earlier.

"In 20/20 hindsight, it would have made sense to have brought it up seven months ago," said Norquist. "[But] it wasn't as if he had insisted he had never had a problem because he drank too much; his point was his drinking was affecting his life and he decided to change it and he did," he said.

Jim Tobin, a long-time Republican political strategist from Maine, said he thinks the impact on the election will be minimal. "People are going to see this for what it is, [which is] a Democratic dirty trick."

"It's very interesting that this comes within four days of the campaign," said Tobin. "Mr. Connolly practices law in Maine, and I can't imagine that he just came across this information recently," he said. "I'm sure he's directly linked with the Gore campaign. He's in Maine, Maine is a small state," Tobin concluded.

Some Republican lawmakers and Texas Democratic Rep. Martin Frost agreed that the DUI disclosure won't have an effect on the November 7 election.

Frost said during a Fox interview today that, "I don't think it matters." Frost went on to question why Bush didn't disclose the DUI earlier. But Frost disagreed with Norquist's prediction that there would be a backlash against Democrats for leaking the information, saying he doesn't think that will matter, either.

In a separate interview, House Majority Leader Dick Armey blamed political motives for the leak and said, "When you weigh this against what Gov. Bush has accomplished, it's a very small blip on the radar screen."

The Republican governor of Connecticut, John Rowland, agreed that the DUI disclosure would not hurt Bush and added, "Anyone who thinks the disclosure was not politically motivated is naive."

If Democrats Al Gore and Joe Lieberman win the presidential election, Rowland will be the one appointing a Republican successor to Lieberman's Senate seat.