The First Draft: questions of fraud and hoax
If Afghanistan has a runoff election, how does that affect President Barack Obama’s decisions on a new Afghan strategy? Will it speed up his decision-making or hamper it?
The U.N.-backed Electoral Complaints Commission is close to a verdict in its investigation of Afghanistan’s August presidential election that has been marred by allegations of widespread fraud.
The Washington Post reports that a runoff is expected, citing officials familiar with the results as saying the investigation had already cut incumbent President Hamid Karzai’s vote tally to about 47 percent.
That would trigger a second election vote, pitting Karzai against his main rival, former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah.
If the vote were held within weeks, as many experts suggest, then would Obama wait it out or just make an announcement regardless of Afghanistan’s electoral timetable? But if bad weather and other considerations force a runoff in the spring, then Obama would have to make a decision sooner.
Was it a hoax? That’s the question being asked about the balloon boy story. TV watchers were transfixed with the image of the silvery flying-saucer balloon drifting over Colorado for a couple of hours yesterday, wondering whether the owner’s 6-year-old son was inside.
The boy, Falcon Heene, is fine, he was hiding in the garage. The family, which had previously participated in the reality TV show “Wife Swap,” was all over the morning TV shows (and on the front page of newspapers after appearing on CNN’s “Larry King Live” last night).
Much is being made of Falcon’s comment on “Larry King Live,” when the boy said, “we did this for the show.”
This morning the boy was obviously not well, he threw up during a television interview. His father continued to answer questions and was asked bluntly if the whole drama was a hoax?
“Absolutely not,” Richard Heene told NBC’s “Today” show.
Photo credit: Reuters/Rick Wilking (Richard Heene with son Falcon after massive search when their balloon broke loose and it was feared the boy was inside)