Debbie Pelley, the Jonesboro conservative, called me today. She and I have disagreed on just about everything over the years, but she is nothing if not sincere.
She called to say that did not write an e-mail attributed to her by Natural State Report, and quoted in part by me here, particularly a racially tinged passage in a long and rambling memo on reasons to vote for John Cooper, the Republican candidate for state Senate. He won the special election Tuesday.
Pelley supported Cooper. Many of the parts of the e-mail on Cooper’s record and Obamacare reflect her own view and it’s possible it included, by someone else’s cut and paste, some things she’s written on other occasions, she said. But she was sure she did not write anything about race.
“I am very cautious about that partly because I am in no way a racist and partly because I know what people will do with it,” she wrote. She added that she did write the portion listing positive points about Cooper, but it was written after Cooper’s primary runoff victory and not in relationship to the general election.
I went to Trey Baldwin, who did the original Natural State post. On reviewing the record, he’s now concluded he made a mistake. He reprinted an e-mail he’d been supplied by someone on a mailing list supporting Cooper and credited Pelley because her name, e-mail and phone numbers appeared at the bottom of the forwarded message. His source has now told him he got the memo from another Cooper supporter, not Pelley.
The memo and its views are, in other words, real (and pretty routine Republican talking points for the most part), but not written by Pelley except for the Cooper “bullet points.” But it was erroneous to say Pelley distributed it or wrote the part referring to Democratic Party appeals to black voters. I am sorry that I repeated the mistake and criticized her for words she didn’t write. I apologize to Pelley. I will have many opportunities to part company with her — I honor her by dishonoring her, she says with a touch of pride — but I hope to credit her with no more than she deserves.