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James O'Keefe/ Mary Landrieu Scandal


  Following Monday's felony arrests of four men for allegedly tampering with the phone system in U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu's New Orleans office, an interesting media meme emerged almost immediately: that the men, all in their mid-20s, were somehow "kids." Michael Madigan, lawyer for 25-year-old James O'Keefe, told the press, "I don't know the facts yet of what exactly happened, but at heart James O'Keefe is a good kid." Speaking to Fox News, Madigan called him "a really good kid." O'Keefe's father, James O'Keefe Sr., told Fox: "He's a good kid."

  The other men — Joseph Basel, Stan Dai and Robert Flanagan — are all 24, but that didn't stop Megan McArdle, writing for The Atlantic, to wonder: "How likely is it that these kids knew how to tap a phone system?" John Hood, in the National Review Online, opined, "I doubt the kids were trying to install some kind of wiretap on the senator's office phone system."

  David Frum, a former speechwriter for President George W. Bush, took it even further: "I'm going to go out on a limb here and predict: the James O'Keefe/Landrieu phone interference case will be resolved with a very stern talking to by a judge, no criminal record, and 100 hours of community service each for the four arrested young people. Which seems about right."

  Landrieu had a different take, telling Politico: "This isn't a child — this is a 24 year old."

  O'Keefe, Basel, Dai and Flanagan were released on $10,000 bond each and formally charged by the FBI with entering federal property under false pretenses with the intent of committing a felony, a charge not normally associated with "community service" or stern talking-tos. — Kevin Allman

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