The Senate race in Wisconsin took an ugly turn last week. A GOP staffer to Tommy Thompson’s Senate campaign dredged up a more-than-two-year-old video of Tammy Baldwin dancing on an outdoor stage at a Pride performance at the University campaign in Madison, and link/tweeted, just before the Congresswoman spoke at the DNC last week:
Clearly, there’s no one better positioned to talk ‘heartland values’ than Tammy
Divisive antics meant to separate voters from one another based on their inborn characteristics is a long-time GOP tactic, but Russ Feingold is having none of it:
In Wisconsin, we reject divisive personal attacks. It’s time for Tommy Thompson to both take responsibility for the harmful divisiveness of his campaign and to squarely reject it.
Tommy Thompson should probably distance himself from his campaign’s political director, Brian Nemoir.
Nemoir’s message was first reported by WisPolitics.com. He’s admitted sending out the tweet. Spokespeople from both campaigns have declined questions from the media about the incident.
I don’t know how much better anyone expected W’s former HHS director to act; gay-baiting is probably a deeply held value in his campaign, just as it was in W’s 2004 re-election campaign run by then-closeted Ken Mehlman. Will Tommy Thompson reject this homophobic attack on a sitting Congresswoman, which implies that her values don’t match Wisconsin’s because — what? Because she dances onstage at a Pride Celebration
with the disco band VO5, whose members are dressed up in Wonder Woman costumes and playing the theme to the comic-based television series.
Hide the children, here’s the video (totally SFW btw):
Thompson has apparently called his aide’s message a mistake and he’s no longer a spokesperson for the campaign, although still employed there:
Republican U.S. Senate candidate Tommy Thompson said Tuesday that it was a mistake for one of his aides to send a disparaging email and Twitter messages about Democratic opponent Tammy Baldwin dancing at a gay pride event.
The email and tweets were sent in advance of Baldwin’s speech at the Democratic National Convention last week.
“I thought it was a mistake, I’m sorry, and he’s apologized, I believe,” Thompson told reporters after a luncheon of the Milwaukee Rotary Club. “He shouldn’t have done it.”
The emails were sent by aide Brian Nemoir from his campaign account. It also included his title and the campaign’s web address.
The message accompanying the video said, “Clearly, there is no one better positioned to talk ‘heartland values’ than Tammy” and told the viewer to take note of the gay pride event.
The theme of Baldwin’s speech at the convention was heartland and Wisconsin values.
Nemoir’s email and tweets were the first time that Baldwin’s sexual preference has become an issue in the campaign. If elected, Baldwin would be the nation’s first openly gay senator.
Even though Nemoir sent the email from his campaign account , another Thompson aide, Darrin Schmitz, said that Nemoir “acted on his own” and called his actions “unauthorized.”
“He was not representing the Thompson campaign in this matter,” Schmitz said.
In making his first comments about the matter on Tuesday, Thompson said he wasn’t aware of Nemoir’s email before it was sent.
“I was very upset,” said Thompson. He said that a person’s sexual preference is “absolutely not an issue.”
As a result of the emails, Thompson said Nemoir is no longer the spokesman, but remains with the campaign.
I do not, incidentally, find any record of a public apology from Brian Nemoir, as referenced by former Governor Thompson. Perhaps he is referring to a private apology? In any event, he’s still on Thompson’s campaign payroll, so there’s that.