Baucus, Messina and "one of the most homophobic ads in American history"

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Salon columnist and former Montana political strategist David Sirota asks some pointed questions in a piece titled "Obama chief's anti-gay secret." The story involves an infamous 2002 political campaign ad that focused on U.S. Senate candidate Mike Taylor's history with a cosmetics business. Taylor was running against Max Baucus, and Jim Messina was working as Baucus' chief of staff. Sirota deems the spot in question "one of the most homophobic ads in American history." It's something Baucus has long claimed he had nothing to do with.

Jim Messina
  • Jim Messina
But in a new profile of Messina, who now works as President Obama's campaign manager, Baucus points to the ad as an example of Messina's willingness to do anything to win elections. Baucus is quoted as saying:

“Jim is tough. I’ll never forget when he showed me that ad. We were in Bozeman in a motel. The curtains were drawn. He said, ‘Max, what do you think?’ They were afraid I wasn’t going to like it. I loved it!”

Sirota connects the dots and is incredulous.

First and foremost, it shows that only a few years ago, a leading Democratic U.S. Senator — one who voted for the odious “Defense of Marriage Act” and who is up for reelection in 2014 — was happily cheering on homophobic demagoguery.

Additionally, it raises questions about whether both a sitting senator and President Obama’s campaign manager blatantly flouted campaign laws about coordinating independent expenditures from party committees — laws that are designed to prevent candidates from circumventing campaign fundraising laws and airing ads with unregulated soft money.

Read the full column at Salon. Watch the ad in question on YouTube. And learn more about Sirota, who worked for Brian Schweitzer during his gubernatorial campaign, at his website.

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