Monday, October 09, 2006

Burns/Tester Campaign in Today's Wall Street Journal

The print version of the WSJ had a front page story about how the Tester campaign is following Burns around trying to catch Burns gaffes and posting them on YouTube. The online WSJ also has it and is subscription but I linked to the story anyway.

It's a brilliant tactic and one I wish Burns would use - although he would be accused of being negative. The main purpose is to get the mainstream media to pick up on it and run stories. I don't think the demographics of the YouTube generation are going to be the deciders in this election but the fact that the gaffes are made public in the mainstream are what is effective.

Two things jumped out at me in this article.

He (Kevin O'Brien) joined the Tester campaign in April for a salary of $2,750 per month, knowing he was essentially signing up for an extended road trip. A Chicago native, Mr. O'Brien went to work for the Democratic Party in 2004 after graduating from Illinois State University with a degree in political science. From there, he went to work at Wal-Mart Watch, a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit opposed to the retail giant's business and labor practices.

Mr. O'Brien is the individual who is traveling the state videotaping Burns. He is an out-of-stater. According to the Democrats and Liberals who complained about the three "conservative" initiative's signature gathering by out-of-staters, this should be unacceptable. How could a Chicagoan possibly be working for a Montana candidate and understand Montana values? I guess it's OK for Liberals and not for Conservatives.

Mr. Burns not only tolerates his young shadow's presence at most public events, they've developed a cordial relationship.

Riding on horseback at a recent rainy homecoming parade Saturday in Bozeman, Mr. Burns spotted the familiar Mr. O'Brien, sporting jeans and a sweatshirt, protecting a palm-size Sony camcorder under a wide black umbrella. "How ya doin', Kevin?" he hollered out genially.

"Fine, Senator, how are you? It's a little wet," yelled Mr. O'Brien, his video camera clutched in one hand. Mr. Burns smiled. "Good... good," he responded, before turning away.

"He's a nice kid. He's just doing his job," says Mr. Burns after the parade, as he dried out in the back seat of an extended-cab pickup truck on the way to a tailgate party. Such continuous scrutiny comes with the territory he says, before joking that his campaign has been supporting its young foe all summer.

"We have to feed him, 'cause the Democrats ain't paying him nothing," Mr. Burns says with a chuckle.

This is self explanatory.

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