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Sue Lowden’s Macaca Moment Goes Viral

It’s the same ol’ story: What happens in Vegas stays on YouTube.

Patrick Coolican of the Las Vegas Sun reports today that Nevada Republican U.S. Senate candidate Sue Lowden “defended her remarks Monday on the Nevada Newsmakers TV show” with regards to the “bartering for doctors” brouhaha which has erupted, spread out of control, and become a political punch line since last week.

A lot of people are understandably asking why Lowden seemingly compounded the problem in that interview on Monday in light of things such as Democrat communications director Phoebe Sweet showing up at the Lowden campaign office with a live goat – now immortalized on YouTube and coming to a television commercial near you – last Thursday.

The far left-wing Daily Kos blog wrote yesterday: “Sue Lowden, the likely Republican nominee against Harry Reid, is doubling down on her widely ridiculed proposal that people should haggle and barter with doctors to bring down prices. Appearing yesterday on Nevada Newsmakers, Lowden said….”

Here’s why it seemed as though Lowden was “doubling down” in that interview. It was taped. It was actually conducted last Thursday in Reno before “Goat Girl” showed up at Lowden HQ in Vegas and the whole issue went viral. I suspect that had the interview actually been conducted live on Monday, Lowden would have addressed the matter quite differently.

And now you know….the rest of the story.

Still, the Lowden campaign has been molasses-slow in recognizing how bad this “macaca”-like moment really was when it first became public, and excruciating horrible at defusing it. Indeed, Ben Smith’s blog post this morning in Politico blares this headline: “Bring a Chicken!”

Add to the problem all the ridicule being heaped on the candidate by people commenting on the blog posts and columns which are commenting on the issue. Here’s just one example found this morning on Smith’s post: “In April, we have take-your-kids-to-work-day. But in Republican senate candidate Sue Lowden world, it’s take-your-chicken-to-the-doctor-day.”


Compare and contrast this with how “The Natural,” Sarah Palin, has handled a similar situation.

Remember when it was revealed that she had scribbled speaking notes on her hand at that Tea Party convention several weeks ago? That, too, became the butt of jokes and political fodder for late-night comedians. But look at how Palin responded. Instead of becoming defensive or ignoring it, she’s used humor to deflect and deflate it.

For example, at last weekend’s Southern Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans, Palin stopped in the middle of her speech, looked at the palm of her hand as though she was reading something on it, and then deadpanned into the mic, “Poor man’s teleprompter.” That brought down the house. Lowden needs to find a similar way to deal with this bartering issue. And fast.

Make no mistake; this incident probably won’t kill Lowden’s primary chances. She’s still way ahead in the polls and the election is just seven weeks away.

But Harry Reid ain’t Danny Tarkanian or Sharron Angle. And this out-of-control mess is a warning sign that Team Lowden’s quick-response messaging machine might not quite be ready for prime time. If they don’t get their act together soon, by the time Harry Reid really aims the vaporizer at her after the primary, should she hold on and win, there might not be anything there to vaporize.


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