Sep 6, 2012
The political director for the U.S. Senate campaign of former Gov. Tommy Thompson highlighted his opponent's participation in a gay pride event and criticized her ability to discuss "heartland values."
Thompson, a Republican, is running against U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin, who if elected would become the nation's first openly gay senator.
Thompson's political director, Brian Nemoir, sent an email and posted a Twitter message about Baldwin dancing at the gay pride festival in advance of Baldwin giving a prime time speech Thursday at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. Baldwin has said that speech will focus on "heartland values."
"Clearly, there's no one better positioned to talk 'heartland values' than Tammy," Nemoir wrote in his email, which was obtained by WisPolitics.com.
The email included a link to a video of Baldwin dancing in 2010 on Library Mall at the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus with the costumed disco band VO5 playing the "Wonder Woman" theme. Baldwin, wearing sunglasses, dances on stage with the band and at the end hugs a dancer who is dressed like the comic book hero Wonder Woman.
Baldwin spokesman John Kraus had no immediate comment. Nemoir said Thompson would not be available for an interview about the email.
In an interview, Nemoir acknowledged sending the email, saying he acted on his own and sent it to a "handful of select contacts."
In response to being asked whether he regretted sending the video, Nemoir said, "I think there are issues in this race that are extremely significant that will be generated on a day-to-day basis, and I look forward to coverage of those issues."
Nemoir said the race should focus on issues such as the 23 million unemployed Americans and the nation's rising debt. He said the race should not focus on the issue raised by the video he sent and he emphasized the nation's economic problems when asked whether the Thompson campaign would return to the issue of the video.
"There are no shortages of issues to talk about in this campaign," he said. "That's really what we should be talking about."
Thompson said this month that he believes gay marriage should be left to the states, but that he supports the federal law that says states that ban gay marriage do not have to recognize gay marriages from other states.
During a May 2007 debate, while he was running for president, Thompson said he believed private businesses should be able to fire employees because of their sexual orientation. Soon after, he said that was not his position and that he misspoke during the debate.