Candidates vying for office in November’s elections have enough to overcome without creating problems for themselves. Monday Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart took a look at what he called “unforced errors” in this election season.
Stewart wasn’t just picking on Republicans: his first example was California’s Jerry Brown, the Democratic nominee for governor.
The Los Angeles Times released audio of one of Brown’s aides calling rival Meg Whitman a “whore.”
With evident frustration, Brown discussed the pressure he was under to refuse to reduce public safety pensions or lose law enforcement endorsements to Whitman. Months earlier, Whitman had agreed to exempt public safety officials from key parts of her pension reform plan.
“Do we want to put an ad out? … That I have been warned if I crack down on pensions, I will be – that they’ll go to Whitman, and that’s where they’ll go because they know Whitman will give ‘em, will cut them a deal, but I won’t,” Brown said.
At that point, what appears to be a second voice interjects: “What about saying she’s a whore?”
“Well, I’m going to use that,” Brown responds. “It proves you’ve cut a secret deal to protect the pensions.”
Stewart mocked cable news anchors who refused to say the word and instead insisted on using rhyming words like bore, snore and war.
“Is this a bad Dr. Seuss book?” asked Stewart. “How old are you people? Is there anyone in basic-cable land brave enough to use a word that is actually completely legal to say on television?”
The Comedy Central host found his answer in MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough, who used the word at least six times in one broadcast.
“You don’t have to make up for everybody not saying whore,” remarked Stewart.
“But compared to some of the other races from around the country, Jerry Brown is doing okay,” said Stewart as he segued into a story about a GOP candidate who was caught dressing up in a Nazi uniform.
Last week The Atlantic published photos of Ohio candidate for Congress Rich Iott wearing a German Waffen SS uniform.
An election year already notable for its menagerie of extreme and unusual candidates can add another one: Rich Iott, the Republican nominee for Congress from Ohio’s 9th District, and a Tea Party favorite, who for years donned a German Waffen SS uniform and participated in Nazi re-enactments.
Iott, whose district lies in Northwest Ohio, was involved with a group that calls itself Wiking, whose members are devoted to re-enacting the exploits of an actual Nazi division, the 5th SS Panzer Division Wiking, which fought mainly on the Eastern Front during World War II. Iott’s participation in the Wiking group is not mentioned on his campaign’s website, and his name and photographs were removed from the Wiking website.
When contacted by The Atlantic, Iott confirmed his involvement with the group over a number of years, but said his interest in Nazi Germany was historical and he does not subscribe to the tenets of Nazism. “No, absolutely not,” he said. “In fact, there’s a disclaimer on the [Wiking] website. And you’ll find that on almost any reenactment website. It’s purely historical interest in World War II.”
“Classic unforced error by Iott!” exclaimed Stewart. “Ronald Reagan’s first rule: never attack a fellow Republican. His second rule: never dress up like a Nazi.”
But Stewart saved the most egregious unforced error for last.
“Of course for some candidates like New York gubernatorial hopeful Carl Paldino, the unforced error is allowing TV cameras anywhere near you when you’re speaking,” announced Stewart.
Paladino got in hot water Sunday when cameras caught him telling a group of conservative Jewish leaders that children shouldn’t be “brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality” is acceptable.
“That’s not how God created us,” Paladino said of being gay, “and that’s not the example that we should be showing our children.”
He added that children who later in life choose to marry people of the opposite sex and raise families would be “much better off and much more successful.”
“I don’t want them to be brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality is an equally valid and successful option,” he said.
“That’s Carl Paladino. He’s talking about gay teachers in public schools. So that’s Carl Paladino making the case to orthodox religious folk that gay people will brainwash their children into dressing and acting in an unconventional mannerr,” joked Stewart.
Appearing on Fox Business Network the following day, Paladino said that the real issue was that his opponent took his family to a gay pride parade.
But as a man that had a child with a woman other than his wife, Paladino had little room to talk about family values, noted Stewart.
“That’s Carl Paladino making the case that he is the family values candidate because he would never take either one of his two simultaneous families to a gay pride parade,” said Stewart.
This video is from Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, broadcast Oct. 11, 2010.
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