Thursday, September 21, 2006


Posted by Craig Westover | 11:46 AM |  

I've just spent an hour or so perusing the web, trying to sort out the issues. Clearly, somebody done wrong in the Klobuchar camp. The Klobuchar campaign was sent a link to a password protected site, and several members of the Klobuchar staff viewed an unreleased Kennedy ad. Tara McGuinness has taken the fall -- either resigned or fired, depending on who you read. Klobuchar’s office notified the FBI. Klobuchar apologized to Kennedy. Albeit, it took four days. The Kennedy campaign is demanding answers to a laundry list of questions about the incident.

Okay, my take.

Sounds to me like Klobuchar’s campaign handled the issue pretty well, but if the apology is sincere, then Klobuchar ought to just bite the bullet and answer the questions being posed by the GOP. Stuff happens, and the worst thing Klobuchar can do is get indignant and defensive, which is what the GOP hopes to taunt her in to doing. Her people screwed up. A “sincere apology” and taking responsibility means going the extra mile, not meeting the Kennedy campaign halfway. In fact, the best thing Klobuchar could do would be get out in front of the GOP in getting the full details out.

The GOP thinks it is in the driver’s seat on this issue, that perhaps it has an issue that can put some life in the Kennedy campaign (beats the hell out of micromanaging Klobuchar‘s mutual funds). In fact, the GOP is treading a pretty fine line here between righteous indignation and foot-stomping petulance. It has to be appear concerned without appearing to bully. While the Klobuchar campaign ought to be willing to bend over on this one, the Kennedy campaign shouldn’t ask it to go that far. After all, we are talking about a stolen peek at a Mark Kennedy campaign ad, not exactly the Pentagon Papers.

Klobuchar’s people might have broken some laws, and this incident doesn’t reinforce the image of a tough-on-crime prosecutor. Couple it with complaints about the work environment in her Hennepin county office, and it paints the picture of a woman that can’t manage a staff very well -- a pretty important if underplayed role of a Senator. But if the GOP intends to hang its hat on this one, then Kennedy's campaign is in a lot of trouble.

This shouldn’t be the best we got. The Republican objective is getting Kennedy elected. This Klobuchar misstep can helpKennedy if the GOP doesn’t overplay it. However, I fear that even as I write, the state GOP has an army of interns armed with thesauruses looking up synonyms for “apocalyptic” and “larceny.” Ain't the way to go.