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Pence: Fletcher needed stronger advisers in administration

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Gov. Ernie Fletcher needed better advice from within his administration to avoid the missteps that led to his defeat in the Nov. 6 election, one official said.

Lt. Gov. Steve Pence said Fletcher, who lost to Democrat Steve Beshear, was damaged by having too many people tell him what he wanted to hear instead of what he needed to hear.

Pence, a critic of Fletcher's handling of a criminal investigation into the administration's hiring practices, chose not to run for re-election on the governor's ticket. In an interview with the Kentucky Enquirer earlier this week, Pence said Fletcher failed to heed the concerns and criticism he raised.

Fletcher and members of his administration were indicted on charges of using political connections to fill jobs. The governor, against Pence's advice, pardoned the members of his administration who were indicted. Fletcher later cut a deal with prosecutors to have the charges against him dropped.

Pence, a former federal prosecutor who had prosecuted high-profile state government corruption cases, rocked the Kentucky political landscape in June 2006 when he announced he would not run for re-election with Fletcher.

"If people knew what I knew, and had gone to the meetings I sat through, seen the decision-making I sat through, they would not disagree with what I did," he told the newspaper.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

AP-NY-11-24-07 0601EST


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