To say I was surprised by the comments this week from Representative Kurt Bills’ U.S. Senate campaign about U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar would be an understatement. Before you start rolling your eyes, I am well aware of the fact that I previously wrote a blog called Minnesota Democrats Exposed for many years and served in a variety of positions in the Republican Party of Minnesota. In 2006, I served as a consultant to Congressman Mark Kennedy’s unsuccessful U.S. Senate campaign against Klobuchar. I am a proud Republican, but I disagree with the positions and votes Klobuchar has taken over the last 6 years as a U.S. Senator from Minnesota.
On Monday, Senator Klobuchar was called a “prom queen” by Bills’ campaign in reference to the belief that Klobuchar isn’t being asked the tough questions from the media about a variety of issues.
Today, in response to a new Star Tribune poll which showed Bills trailing Klobuchar by 29-points, his campaign issued a press release accusing the Star Tribune of helping “daddy’s little girl” because Klobuchar’s father Jim, was a columnist for 30 years for the Star Tribune. Jim Klobuchar retired from the Star Tribune in 1996 – 16 years ago. Set aside the sexist comments in the press release for just a moment and focus on the theory being presented by Bills’ campaign: The company hired by the Star Tribune to conduct the poll, Mason-Dixon Polling and Research Inc., fudged the numbers in favor of Klobuchar because her father worked for the Star Tribune 16 years ago. This is absolutely ridiculous and spending the time to write out their theory is the maximum amount of time I’m willing to spend discussing it.
After issuing the press release today, Bills’ campaign followed up an hour later with a fundraising appeal which contained the line “[d]addy’s newspaper needs to protect daddy’s little girl.” So this week, Bills’ campaign called Klobuchar a “prom queen”, they accused the Star Tribune of helping “daddy’s little girl” and said “daddy’s newspaper needs to protect daddy’s little girl.” 40 days from the election and the messaging from Bills’ campaign has resorted to attacking the Star Tribune with wild conspiracy theories and making sexist, angry and derogatory remarks about Klobuchar.
This week’s rhetoric from Bills’ campaign is getting dangerously close to U.S. Senator Rudy Boschwitz’s infamous “friends of the Jewish community letter” from 1990 and Tom Emmer’s “$100,000 waiters” debacle in 2010. If the race was closer between Klobuchar and Bills, his campaign’s comments would have blown up much more in the media than they did today.
Derogatory and sexist comments about Klobuchar shouldn’t be the message from Bills’ campaign or from anyone. To steal a messaging theme from the Clinton-Gore campaign in ’92, “it’s the economy, stupid.” In the final 40 days of this election, Bills should be talking about the economy and jobs, a national unemployment rate of over 8 percent, gas prices hovering near $4 per gallon and a federal debt of over $16,000,000,000,000. Potentially alienating over 50 percent of voters by making angry, derogatory and sexist comments about Senator Klobuchar isn’t a recipe for success on Election Day.