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Former Obama White House staffer Andy Kim

Former bosses back Kim credentials

Candidate’s biography changes still a target for MacArthur

By Nikita Biryukov, June 06 2018 2:30 pm

Rep. Tom MacArthur and his Democratic challenger Andy Kim are again brawling over the latter’s qualifications, but this time, Kim has some help from his former bosses.

Backing Kim’s credentials, which MacArthur’s campaign has said the former Obama staffer inflated, are retired Col. James Seaton III, formerly a senior advisor to David Petraeus, and Tom Nides, a former deputy secretary of state.

“I hired Andy because he was one of the best and brightest our Nation had to offer,” Seaton said. “His tireless, critically important work directly supported General Petraeus in making strategic-level decisions as the head of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan. Andy Kim’s service to our country should be applauded not attacked.”

At issue are a 2011 internal State Department email in which Kim is referred to as a notetaker and changes made to Kim’s campaign biography after MacArthur’s campaign levelled the original charges in early May.

The 2011 meeting was attended by then-Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, two ambassadors and a stable of senior State Department officials, according to the email.

At the time, Kim was part of a U.S. detachment sent to Afghanistan, where Petraeus was commander of the International Security Assistance force.

“Andy was the author of all the official preparation material for the high-level talks and was the point person for the State Department coordinating the Foreign Minister’s entire visit to Washington,” Nides said. “I asked him to take on the critical role of doing the official write up of that meeting so it would become a road map for our political engagement with Iraq going forward.”

But while the statements do serve to assuage concerns over Kim’s role in Iraq, they do not address the changes made to Kim’s biography, said MacArthur strategist Chris Russell.

“A statement from a fellow Washington, D.C. political operative and Democrat political appointee like Tom Nides doesn’t explain why Andy Kim made significant changes to the biography on his own web site after we started to raise questions about his puffed-up claims,” Russell said.

It’s not clear when the changes to Kim’s biography were made.

Versions of Kim’s campaign website archived on Jan. 31 say the candidate “helped our nation lead a global war against ISIS.”

In a later version of the website, dated Feb. 24 and beyond, that portion of his biography was migrated to a different page, which was first archived on May 18.

The later version provides a somewhat tempered description of Kim’s role at the time, saying he “worked at the White House on countering terrorism and protecting our country.”

For Kim, those attacks are in line with the one about his being a notetaker.

“Tom MacArthur can try to distract voters from his horrendous voting record by attacking my service,” Kim said in a statement. “But, I can say with certainty that Congressman MacArthur hasn’t the slightest idea about what it’s like to sit in the Situation Room with Secretaries of State and Defense and four-star generals making life-and-death decisions that would stop an imminent genocide and save the lives of tens of thousands of innocent people.”

The MacArthur camp doesn’t see it that way.

For them, the discrepancies are cracks in a façade.

“Andy Kim’s service isn’t the issue, it’s the fact that he felt compelled to exaggerate it for political gain and then got caught.  Just like he cheated on his taxes for financial gain and then lied about that, too,” Russell said. “These defensive statements – weeks after the original criticism was made – demonstrate that Andy is feeling the heat and struggling to explain his ever-changing stories to skeptical voters.”

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One thought on “Former bosses back Kim credentials

  1. Does MacArthur realize attacking someone’s service ticks off a really large military presence in his district? The military he abandoned when he ditched their committee, tried to take their healthcare, hurt their property values with the tax vote, and voted for their families to receive less SNAP benefits. Why does MacArthur hate those who serve?

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