While Minnesota's GOP nominee for governor Tom Emmer is thanking Robert Erickson today for changing the subject at a disastrous town hall meeting with restaurant servers, Colorado's nominee Scott McInnis is trying to get Erickson's number.
McInnis needs a squirrel, any squirrel.
The McInnis campaign is reeling after a series of reports that opinion pieces and a series of "Musings on Water" essays, for which he was paid $300,000 contained plagiarized material. The editorial board of the Denver Post, which reported the original stories, has called for him to withdraw from the race — and in an unlikely convergence, talk radio righties agree.
McInnis used to represent Colorado in Congress, from the same district that produced the fictional "The West Wing" representative and eventual vice president Bingo Bob Russell. I've never known for sure whether that was a coincidence.
Politicians have overcome plagiarism claims before. (See the current, real VP.) But prolix politicians lifting passages for speeches is a lower-order offense than taking pay — big pay, all you out-of-work journalists will note — to recycle material for a think tank.
As a fellow of the Hasan Family Foundation, McInnis was paid $150,000 a year over two years to do speaking engagements and "research and write a monthly article on water issues that can be distributed to media and organizations as well as be available on the Internet."
At 13 grand a pop, you'd think he might pay closer attention to the content of his "original work."
McInnis's response to the flap hasn't helped him one bit.
Hey, Robert Erickson, they have an immigration debate in Colorado, too, and Tom Tancredo is old news.