Wednesday, April 30, 2008

More Missing Young Men - Are They Connected To The Smiley Face Gang?

Last Updated: 05/01/08 12:19am
Still have 35+ news sites & blogs to research
The following list of young men missing from the Midwest is not complete, but it offers The Sope-Bocks' readers an opportunity to research the names along with me. This post will be updated as I learn more -- and you send your feedback. If I can find their locations, I plan to map the locations and post the map here.

Dr. Lee Gilbertson - The timeline of the [40 studied] drownings move in a consistent pattern. "East, west, east, west, east, west, north, south -- east, west, east, west, east, west, north, south. Now we start to see patterns that can't be explained."
Eric Blair
Jared Dion
Adam Falcon
- Missing 11/13/04
- Found 11/18/04
- Location: Grasse River
Ryan Getz
Josh Guimond
- Still missing
Ryan Knatcher
- Missing
Patrick Kycia, 19
- Missing 6/9/05
- Found 9/27/05
- Location: Red River, Minnesota
Glen Leadley
Keith Noble
Michael Noll
Chris Olberding
- Found 10/6/04
- Location: Ohio River
Scot Radel
- Found 3/1/06
- Location: Mississippi River
Brian Shaffer, Med school student
- Missing 4/2/06
Joshua Snell
- Missing
- Found 4 days later
- Location: Chippewa River
Wade Steffey
Joshua Szostak
Brian Welzien
NOTE: I am NOT sure these guys are victims of the Smiley Face Gang.

Sources: Various blogs, Ramblings from the Reservation Blog

Background on the Smiley Face Gang Investigators

So how did all these people investigating and/or researching drowning deaths come to work together?

Decorated former NYC police sargeant, Kevin Gannon, has been trying to resolve what caused the death of at least one college student since 1997. In fact, he made a promise to Patrick McNeill's mother that he would not allow her son's death to go unsolved. He "joined forces" with NYPD Detective Anthony Duarte in a concerted effort to solve the case.

In 2003, they traveled to Minnesota where college student Chris Jenkins was found dead in the Mississippi - thought to be a drunken accident. "It screamed homicide," said Gannon. Jenkins was found floating on his back with his arms crossed on his chest - an unusual pose for a drowned person. Jenkins' death was reclassified as a homicide, and the retired NYPD cops found the spot where Jenkins might have been thrown into the water. It was there that they discovered the first smiley face.

Since that time, Gannon has dedicated his life, his work, even his own monetary means to finding the true circumstances surrounding the deaths of McNeill, Chad Sharon, Christopher Jenkins and dozens more young men across the Midwest.

In the early months of 2003, St. Cloud State University's criminal justice professor, Dr. Lee Gilbertson, invited his students to take a closer look at drowning death patterns of male college students in the region. Five young men had all turned up drowned in a three month period starting October, 2002.

During their investigative work, the Chad Sharon case (South Bend, IN // December, 2002) was one of more than a dozen the criminal justice students reviewed, according to other students in the program.

It has not been confirmed publicly, but it appears the culmination of the Gannon/Duarte investigation with that of the St. Cloud State students lead law enforcement to change the cause of death (CoD) for Chris Jenkins from "undetermined" to "homocide". Additional information gathered from study of more than 100 drowning deaths of young males during the same time period (1997 - 2002) provided a link between at least 40 cases.

Gannon explained, "Right now really, we're out of finances and really can't do any more on the cases. In fact, we looked at 89 cases in totality. We knocked out 30 right away and there was 19 cases that we haven't even done yet -- and out of those 19, it looks like at least 10 or 15 of those could be connected."

In mid-2006, Dr. Gilbertson and St. Cloud criminal justice graduate student, Adam Carlson, are officially working with Gannon and Duarte. Here is some data on the investigators as known thus far:

Kevin Gannon
- Retired NYPD Sargeant
- 20 years service
- Highly decorated

Anthony Duarte
- Retired NYPD Detective
- BA in Criminal Justice
- 20 years of service
- Several commendations

Dr. Lee Gilbertson
- Associate Professor; St. Cloud State University
- Criminal Justice Department
- MS in Criminal Justice
- PhD in Sociology
- 16 years military service
- Certified Gang Specialist

Adam Carlson
- Criminal Justice graduate student at St. Cloud State University
- Former student of Professor Gilbertson
- Certified Gang Specialist

The investigators, who have been working unpaid on the cases for two years, met four weeks ago with Minneapolis police to present their evidence, but approached the national media after local authorities didn't act, Steve Jenkins (Christopher's father) said.

It was bloggers and the media who dubbed the reported serial killer(s) as the Smiley Face Gang or Smiley Face Murder Club.

Sources: Minnesota Daily and Nationwide Investigations

Drowning Deaths Connected To Serial Killers In 2006?

Here's an excerpt from a May, 2006 article where Minnesotans connected the dots between young male college students drowning and a serial killer -- or killers. I kinda think Clave and Gilbertson hit the nail on the head two years ago -- and only now have we a name for the killer(s) -- Smiley Face Gang.

"Could that have happened to us? Could that have happened to one of our friends? those are the things you consider," says Amanda Pressenger, are graduate student at Saint Cloud State University, near Minneapolis."No one has taken an in-depth look at it from, all these cases," Pressenger explains.

She and fellow student Jessica Clave wondered whether Brian Welzien and Glen Leadley's deaths fit a pattern. So they looked at more than twenty cases, all midwest college students last seen drinking at parties or bars, who all vanished and turned up drowned. Among them: Ryan Getz, Keith Noble, Eric Blair, Chris Jenkins, Michael Noll, Josh Guimond, Chad Sharon, Jared Dion, Scot Radel and Brian Shaffer. The deaths, all clustered along Interstate 94 from Minnesota to Ohio.

"The one city that has the most victims is Lacrosse," says St. Cloud State criminology professor D. "Lee" Gilbertson. He noticed the men almost always went missing in the first half of the month, and only during the school year. A closer look at the map revealed a routine of sorts. "There is a cycle -- a chunk in there -- that is east, west, west, east, west, east that repeats itself twice," says Dr. Gilbertson. "That doesn't sound like an accident, either."

The data led students to suggest that it might be the work of a traveling businessman. But why? All these men were found dressed, with their wallets, cash and keys; and no signs of foul play. Professor Gilbertson has a theory. "We think that something happened to the killer when he was 21, possibly when he was drinking..."

Perhaps the killer got lost, took a ride from a stranger, was molested; and now, looks for victims that remind him of himself at that age. "There's no way he's going to touch these people or do anything to them to harm them because that's what happened to him," explains Dr. Gilbertson. So in a sickening twist, a killer may be drowning young men to protect them. "In order to keep control of the situation and to release them unharmed and pristine, the only way he can be sure of that is to kill 'em," says Dr. Gilbertson.

Saint Cloud's police chief listened to the students' presentation last week. But has his doubts, as do others, who see little more than a deadly chain of coincidences, glued together by binge drinking, darkness and hypothermia. "There may be a serial killer out there, there may not. you still don't have a concrete conclusion," says student Jessica Clave.

Smiley Face Murders - Linked Seven Years Ago?

Updated: 6:04pm EDT
Earlier today, I found an article (excerpt below) on The website is maintained by Vance Holmes, a University of Minnesota alumnus, and carries the title "Drowning in Coincidence." Holmes posits the theory that there could be a serial killer on the loose or that these cases are all mysterious coincidences. It documents the 40 cases St. Cloud State University Professor, Dr. Lee Gilbertson, has studied. Gilbertson's research found that 94 percent of the 40 cases studied fell within 100 miles of Interstate 94 (near Lake Michigan) and that 56.3 percent were within 25 miles of I-94. Yet, Gilbertson initially stated he did not think a serial killer was afoot.

Although I originally reported that detectives Gannon and Duarte have done the "real" work, I'm starting to wonder if they are the public face of the investigation, while Dr. Gilbertson is the backbone. Anyway, on to the article... states the fact that several people began questioning the possible link between drowning deaths of young male college students at least seven years ago. While they may not have had a tangible link -- such as a smiley face or nicknames left at the scene -- friends and family of the young men have wondered if the deaths were related somehow.
For years, concerned citizens have commented, complained and cried about a series of mysterious student deaths labeled "drownings" and filed away as unfortunate but coincidental accidents. For years, those painful cries have been laughed off -- or worse yet, simply ignored. It's one thing to investigate and dismiss baseless theories -- it's another to shrug off the deaths of dozens of young men.

As far back as 2001, there was wide-spread speculation that the many cases were related. With each new awful death, suspicion and frustration moved closer to fear and anger. Soon the talk became about a possible serial-killer, or copy cat killer stalking college campuses in the Midwest.

How many boys have strangely gone missing only to turn up dead in the river? Impossible to know. It all depends on what parameters you set, what you consider "strange," and how far back you go. Certainly, there have been 8 unsettling cases in the last 9 years -- and that's in the La Crosse area alone.

Looking at cases spanning the midwest, St. Cloud Minnesota professor, Dr. Lee Gilbertson, estimates a number between 26 and 30.

Needless to say, even one student's mysterious drowning is one too many and should be addressed by authorities. As Arthur Miller wrote in Death of a Salesman, "Attention must be paid." But obviously, an on-going series of eerily similar disappearances warrants a full -- on-going -- investigation.

The road is long indeed that never bends. Finally, a multi-agency review of the cases has begun. I sincerely hope this investigation brings some comfort to the many families, friends, students, and troubled on-lookers who want answers.

Speaking personally -- all I've ever wanted is for someone to pay attention. I've agonized at the thought of these men's deaths, and the thought that nobody in authority was looking into them. The one commonality I was certain of, was that all these identical drownings were being ignored and written off as "coincidence."

When family members have a gut feeling that something's not simply an accident -- police owe it to them to pay some attention. When a whole community of people have an unshakeable feeling that the mystery deaths will continue -- the authorities have to pay attention -- or be blamed for their willful ignorance. At long last, attention is being paid.

Excerpts from October 16, 2006 reports from WXOW News.

Smiley Face Gang - What's The Holdback?

Last Updated: 6:37pm EDT
From my investigation thus far, I suggest the detectives (and law enforcement) have an important holdback in the area of evidence for the deaths linked to the Smiley Face Gang. I know for a fact that investigators have a few holdbacks at this point. One is that there are informants' who have assisted Gannon and Duarte. The fact that informants exist was accidentally leaked into the edited KSTP article. Another holdback is the nicknames of so-called Smiley Face Gang members -- some of which have been left at multiple death sites. Still a third -- which might be related to the first two -- was mentioned by Chris Jenkins' father yesterday during a press conference, "The investigators said the gangs leave specific graffiti at the sites of their killings, including a smiley face at the site of Chris Jenkins' murder, as well as 12 other symbols repeated throughout the 40 cases."

"In every case, the physical evidence led in one direction and the body was found in another," Dr. Gilbertson said. Whether there is another, larger holdback or not -- Some "thing" is not yet publicly known! Until last weekend, the holdback that became the namesake for the serial killer(s) was the smiley face. What other piece(s) are we missing in the puzzle?

Actually, there are arguments for AND against a major holdback...
Think about it... How would the victims be subdued and killed without any physical evidence of foul play? We do know that the cause of death (CoD) for most of the young men is "undetermined" or "drowning". Public reports do NOT note major bumps, bruises, scratches or abrasions on the victim's body. Toxicology reports show alcohol present in most, but not necessarily all the young men. Did the coroners test for any other substances?

Did the coroners assume too much? IE: Young man pulled from a body of water + Alcohol in his system + Friends report he left alone + No major trauma to body = Drunk kid drowned. You know, I doubt that the coroners in 25 cities, across 11 states, are all that incompetent.

The other side of the coin...
IF the deaths were ruled "undetermined" or "drowning" in all 40 cases (plus many more that may not link up), there would be NO reason for a holdback in evidence as the case would be closed. Period, end of story.

Give me your feedback -- More holdback evidence or not?

Smiley Face Gang

The Smiley Face Gang seems to have hit the news pretty big two days ago -- and dropped yesterday. Personally, I wonder why more isn't being said about the fact that more than 100 young men have died in supposed drowning accidents -- almost all in similar circumstances -- and the FBI, state agencies and attorneys general are not raising red flags about the situation.

I hate to say it, but if 100 young college girls went missing or supposedly drowned under similar circumstances, everyone in the media and half the federal law enforcement agencies would be crawling every inch of the banks of the Mississippi River -- and several lakes. If these guys were all gay, GLAAD, the NEA, HRC and every other liberal group with an agenda would be all over the story. Instead, these are mostly middle-class white guys -- so who cares?!?

Nonetheless, I'm still trying to find everything I can in order to assist LE and the blogosphere in solving the case. One thing -- I'm currently looking for a list of the 40 names that former detectives Kevin Gannon and Anthony Duarte have associated to the Smiley Face Gang. I have the list of 19 names from Wisconsin and Minnesota. Add to that number, Patrick McNeill (NY) and Chad Sharon (IN). I need information (hopefully name & location of disappearance) on the other 19 young men.

I also know that victims died in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, New York, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa. Gannon and Duarte claim to have linked cases in eleven states. What other three states are involved? [I have read about a case in Tennessee (Jessiah Jameson), but am not sure if it is "officially" connected or not.]

If YOU have any additional information, please post a comment here. I would appreciate names, locations, dates and links to news or law enforcement documentation of the story.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Smiley Face Gang - Serial Killers?

Detectives Kevin Gannon and Anthony Duarte have been tracking the suspicious drowning deaths of young men across the country ever since they investigated the death of fellow New Yorker (and college student) Patrick McNeill, who drowned in 1997. Gannon made a promise to McNeill's parents that he would never give up on his case.

The Sope-Bocks has already uncovered a couple more names that may or may not be on detectives Gannon and Duarte's list: Robert Barrington Leigh (University of Toronto) and Scott Javins (University of Indiana). Both young men drowned under what some might consider suspicious circumstances -- their deaths attributed to drunken student accidents.

In fact, most of the cause of death reports have been officially ruled "undetermined" or "drowning". A few similarities may link all 40 deaths:
  • Male
  • Late teens or early 20's in age
  • College student
  • Good grades
  • Ventured out alone
  • Almost all are white
  • Most were athletic
  • Alcohol served to victim or at location where last seen
  • And last, but not least, all were close to a body of water
One more apparent link is a strange "smiley face" painted or markered at or very near the sight where several victims died. The detectives found the smiley faces in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Wisconsin and Iowa.

I have also learned that Gannon & Duarte suspect the serial killers are either a gang or trying to manipulate evidence in order to look like a gang. Nicknames of gang members and at least once street name (Sinsiniwa) have also been found at multiple "drowning" sites.

While some folks are already writing the story off as mere speculation, I'm not prepared to do so just yet. There is one thing (thus far) that leads me to wonder whether any connection between the deaths exists -- serial killers are not gangs. If the cases are linked, there is at least one instance of two young men meeting their doom on the same night, in different cities. That would require at least two people -- maybe a minimum of four.

We're investigating and will continue to report as we learn more.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Investigation - Smiley Face Serial Killers

Photo from
I hate to tease you with a great story and then not deliver. Let's just say -- time permitting -- The Sope-Bocks is on the case of the smiley face serial killers. KSTP Eyewitness 5 News publicly broke the story earlier today. I plan to take in all the documentation and blog my investigation, as well as report to you about the evidence in a case that links 40 (or more) suspicious drownings in 25 cities across 11 states -- from as long ago as 1997.

The real work has been done by two retired police detectives and one of the victims' parents. Sgt. Kevin Gannon and Detective Anthony Duarte, along with victim Chris Jenkins parents, have spent thousands of hours and tens of thousands of dollars trying to find out what caused the deaths of 41 or more young male college students.

As with previous cases that became high profile news stories (Maria Lauterbach, Jesse Dirkhising, among others), The Sope-Bocks is prepared to offer insight and assistance to law enforcement, amateur sleuths and the blogosphere.

My profile of Ceasar Laurean assisted other bloggers (and maybe police) in tracking down Laurean's movements in the Lauterbach murder case. The Sope-Bocks was also instrumental in exposing the mass media cover-up of Jesse Dirkhising's torture and murder a few years ago.

I hope this investigation will help lead to a fitting end for the smiley face serial killers -- and closure for the many families who are tonight in pain due to the loss of their sons.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

World's Leading Internet Evangelist Bill Keller 'Debates' Oprah, the High Priestess of the New Age Movement

Oprah Winfrey is a New Age EvangelistArticle by Staff founder Bill Keller has engaged in a "high tech cyber debate" with the most powerful woman in the media, Oprah Winfrey, who Keller called "the most dangerous woman on the planet" in a recent FOX News appearance.
Keller, who reaches over 2.4 million subscribers worldwide every day with his Daily Devotional, and hundreds of thousands more on his "live" TV program seen now exclusively at ever Mon-Fri at 10pm EDT, has been exposing Oprah for years to his audience as a false prophet who is leading the souls of millions to hell. Keller contends the New Age teachings Oprah promotes, lead people away from Biblical Truth and faith in Jesus Christ, which the Bible states is the only way to be saved.
Keller has called these New Age teachings "spiritual crack," since they make people feel good for a short period, but leave them wanting more, and ultimately put them on a road to destruction. Keller commented, "Oprah is free to believe whatever she wants. However, she claims to be a Christian, yet denies that Jesus is the only way to be saved, and the Bible is the only Truth. She clearly has no idea what being a Christian means, since she is being used as a tool of satan to lead the souls of men to hell with these New Age lies she promotes." You can see this "high tech cyber debate" at

Bill Keller of LivePrayer.comAbout Bill Keller
The press has crowned him the Dr. Phil of Prayer and the next big thing in mass media religion. Bill Keller is the host of Live Prayer with Bill Keller, the nation's only live call-in faith and values-based program airing exclusively on the internet. The program deals head-on with issues ranging from divorce, homosexuality, abortion, sexual abuse, pornography, drug addiction, radical Islam, race relations, spousal abuse, false prophets and more, from a conservative, biblical worldview. Live Prayer is unscripted and unedited, giving it a fresh and totally spontaneous approach to problem solving. The program can be seen live, Monday through Friday at 10PM EST, and 24/7 through programs archived on For information please visit

About Live
In 1999, Keller launched, which has become the most successful online faith outreach in history. Since its inception, has responded personally to more than 60 million online requests for prayer. Additionally, Keller's Live Prayer devotional is received daily by nearly 2.5 million email subscribers, making Keller devotional one of the most read e-communications in the world. For information on where to watch Live Prayer in your area, visit

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Eric Clapton And Prayer

Eric Clapton - Complete ClaptonEric Claptonis best known for his guitar licks and blue hits. But, the past ten years, his days have begun and ended in prayer.
Clapton wasn't always a Believer. He spent many years running from God and the faith he knew as a young man. Failing through a month of rehab in 1987, Clapton fell to his knees and finally "surrendered" to God, dedicating his sobriety to his newborn son, Conor. Four years later, when Conor died in a fall from the window of a 53rd floor of a Park Avenue apartment, Clapton admitted, "There was a moment when I did lose faith." Still, he found the strength to present a session to his Alcoholics Anonymous meeting on "handing your will over to the care of God". Afterward, a woman confessed that he had taken away her "last excuse" for drinking, a confirmation to Clapton that "staying sober and helping others to achieve sobriety" is "the single most important proposition" in his life.

In his autobiography,Clapton elaborates on the beginnings of his prayer life — that 1987 rock-bottom moment at the rehab treatment center.

"I was in complete despair," Clapton wrote. "In the privacy of my room, I begged for help. I had no notion who I thought I was talking to, I just knew that I had come to the end of my tether … and, getting down on my knees, I surrendered. Within a few days I realized that … I had found a place to turn to, a place I'd always known was there but never really wanted, or needed, to believe in. From that day until this, I have never failed to pray in the morning, on my knees, asking for help, and at night, to express gratitude for my life and, most of all, for my sobriety. I choose to kneel because I feel I need to humble myself when I pray, and with my ego, this is the most I can do. If you are asking why I do all this, I will tell you … because it works, as simple as that."

Excerpt from

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Military Death Tolls for the Last Twenty-six Years

This is an email I received yesterday. Very little editing has been done. The numbers are quite interesting. If true, they are also telling of the liberal media and those who oppose the war in Iraq, based on military losses. Here is the email:
Bet you didn't know the following! I surely did not. These are some rather eye-opening facts:
Since the start of the war on terror in Iraq and Afghanistan, the sacrifice has been enormous. In the time period from the invasion of Iraq in March, 2003 through now, we have lost almost 4,000 military personnel to enemy action and accidents. As tragic as the loss of any member of the US Armed Forces is, consider the following statistics. The annual fatalities of military members, while actively serving in the armed forces -- 1980 through 2006:

1980 ......... 2,392
1981 ......... 2,380
1984 ......... 1,999
1988 ......... 1,819
1989 ......... 1,636
1990 ......... 1,508

1991 ......... 1,787
1992 ......... 1,293 ----------------------------------------------------
1993 .......... 1,213
1994 ......... 1,075

1995 ........ 2,465
1996 ........ 2,318 8 Clinton years @13,417 deaths

1997 ......... 817

1998 ......... 2,252

1999 .......... 1,984 -------------------------------------------------
2000 .......... 1,983
2001 ......... 890
2002 ......... 1,007 7 Bush years @ 9,016 deaths
2003 .......... 1,410
2004 ..... ..... 1,887
2005 .......... 919

2006........... 920 ---------------------------------------------------

If you are confused when you look at these figures... you are not alone. Do these numbers mean that the loss from the two last conflicts in the Middle East are LESS than the loss of military personnel during Bill Clinton's presidency; when America wasn't involved in a war? Even more confusing is that in 1980, during the reign of President Jimmy Carter (a Nobel Peace Prize winner), there were 2,392 US military fatalities!

These figures indicate that many of our media & politicians will pick and choose. They present only those 'facts' which support their agenda-driven reporting. Why do so many of them march in lock-step to twist the truth?

Additionally, our mainstream print and TV media, and many politicians like to slant that these brave men and women, who are losing their lives in Iraq, are mostly minorities!?! Wrong AGAIN -- just one more media lie! The latest census, of Americans, shows the following distribution of American citizens, by race:

European descent (White) ... 69.12%
Hispanic .................................. 12.5%

Black ....................................... 12.3%

Asian ....................................... 3.7%

Native American ................... 1.0%

Other ...................................... 2.6%

Now, here are the fatalities, by race; over the past three years of Operation Iraqi Freedom:

European descent (White) ... 74.31%
Hispanic .................................. 10.74%
Black ........................................ 9.67%
Asian ........................................ 1.81%
Native American .................... 1.09%
Other ....................................... 2.38%

These statistics are published by Congressional Research Service, and they may be confirmed by anyone.

Now ask yourself these two questions:
1. 'Why does the mainstream print and TV media never provide statistics like these?'
2. 'Why does the mainstream media hate bloggers as much as they do?'

You do the math! These figures don't lie ... but, media-liars attempt to sway public opinion with their "facts". THINK for yourself! Test their rhetoric against the actual record. And get the word out!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Recession Talk is Simply a Trick By Mass Media Bent on Putting Democrat in White House

Last week, Barack Obama proclaimedAs most experts know, our economy is in a recession.Hillary Clinton made similar statements last fall. Yet, as any economist knows, a recession is two consecutive quarters of negative growth, and we haven’t even had one single quarter of negative growth reported. The economy slowed down significantly during the end of last year, but that was after a sizzling annual GDP growth rate of 4.9 percent in the third quarter.

Let's look at the numbers: Housing has obviously been a big drag on the economy, but many other sectors of the economy, such as exports, have been doing well, some extremely well. For example, aerospace exports increased by over 13 percent last year. Seasonally adjusted civilian employment is 650,000 people greater than it was a year ago. Personal income grew at a strong half of one percent in just February. Gas prices are going up. The economy is slowing.

Talk of recession is seemingly everywhere. While the majority of people rate their personal finances positively, consumer confidence in the economy has plunged to a 16-year low, well below what it was during the last year of the Clinton administration when we were in a recession. The media’s focus on the negative side of everything surely helps explain people’s pessimism. In a recent interview Fox’s Neil Cavuto claimed this bias “is all part of the media’s plan to get a Democrat in the White House.”

Let's look at some more numbers: A Nexis search on news stories during the three-month period from July, 2000 through September, 2000 using the keywords “economy recession US” produces 1,388 stories. By contrast, the same search over just the last month finds 3,166. Or, even more telling, take the three months from July through September last year, when the GDP was growing at a phenomenal 4.9 percent. The same type of Google search shows 2,475 news stories. Over 78 percent more negative news stories discussed a recession when the economy under a Republican was soaring than occurred under a Democrat when the economy was shrinking.

During the 2000 election, with Bill Clinton as president, the economy was viewed [by the media] through rose-colored glasses. According to polls, voters didn’t realize that the country was in a recession. Although the economy started shrinking in July 2000, most Americans (through the entire year) thought that the economy was fine. But over the last half-year, the media and politicians have said we were in a recession even while the economy was still growing.