Anonymous video attacks gubernatorial hopeful

By Kevin Miller, BDN Staff
Posted Jan. 29, 2010, at 8:58 p.m.

Several would-be governors obviously have decided that it’s not too early to start airing campaign ads in December and January.

But what about attack ads?

At least one anonymous person doesn’t seem to think so.

Earlier this week, someone posted a video on YouTube.com attacking Republican candidate Les Otten’s record as a businessman. The video starts with clips from one of Otten’s own commercials, then flashes snippets of news articles on the financial challenges of American Skiing Co., which Otten ran.

The video since has been removed from YouTube by its creator, but it lives on thanks to Matthew Gagnon, who keeps track of Maine politics on his Web site www.pinetreepolitics.com.

As Gagnon pointed out in one of his postings, the same person apparently had been sending out messages on Twitter that were supportive of one of Otten’s opponents in the GOP primary, Bruce Poliquin.

Within hours of the YouTube video’s original posting, Poliquin’s campaign sent out the following statement to news media condemning the attack ad:

“In the strongest possible terms, I deplore the online advertisement singling out Les Otten. There is no place for this kind of attack ad in our race. I have personally spoken with the Les Otten campaign to express my strong disapproval. I hope the other candidates join me in publicly condemning the ad as a childish and unnecessary attack.”

Musings on the video and whether this single incident portends anything about the primary may be found on Gagnon’s site and on www.augustainsider.us, another Web site that chronicles Maine politics.

Sorry, jacket and shirt required

After answering many questions about the enormous cast on his leg, Rep. Michael Carey of Lewiston has been eager to talk about anything other than his recent skiing mishap.

But as Carey told his House colleagues this week, be careful what you wish for.

The Democrat is getting more than his share of ribbing around the State House for being named to Cosmopolitan magazine’s list of “Politicians we’d like to see shirtless.”

Cosmo compiled the list after all of the recent attention paid to the man the magazine named “America’s Sexiest Man” way back in June 1982: Republican Sen.-elect Scott Brown of Massachusetts.

Cosmo’s Web site had this to say about Carey, a real estate developer: “Knowing this blue-eyed New Englander is working hard in the State House of Representatives makes us want to brave the Maine winter just to vote for him.”

Unlike Brown, Carey didn’t take off any clothes for Cosmo — nor does he intend to, Carey assured a roomful of snickering lawmakers on the House floor on Thursday. Cosmo’s Web site features a photo of him seated at his legislative desk, courtesy of House Democrats.

Mystery letter writer

Amid all of the opinionating about the president’s performance during his first year, the pro-Obama views of one mysterious and prolific letter writer named Ellie Light have attracted a significant amount of attention lately.

On Jan. 21, the Bangor Daily News published a letter from Light defending Obama’s attempts to address the challenges facing the country. Light identified herself as a Bangor resident when contacted by editorial page staffers before the letter ran in the paper.

Apparently, Light either misled them or she has a collection of homes fit for a monarch.

Light — or someone calling herself or himself “Ellie Light” — submitted nearly identical letters to newspapers across the country, always identifying herself as a local resident.

At last count, nearly 70 papers nationwide — including at least one other paper in Maine — had published the letters before a Cleveland Plain Dealer reporter based in Washington, D.C., picked up on the Light phenomenon. Since then, the issue has become a popular topic among on-air conservative political pundits and bloggers.

Susan Young, the BDN’s editorial page editor, reiterated to me on Thursday that the paper contacts letter writers before publishing their submissions.

“Clearly, this is someone determined to lie, and it slipped through,” Young said. “It shouldn’t have, and we’ve reviewed and improved our confirmation procedures.”

Not surprisingly, Light’s letter-writing campaign doesn’t appear to be winning over many Obama critics. In fact, it’s just the opposite.

Coming up:

Here is a sampling of a few of the issues coming up in Augusta next week:

· House debate, expected on Tuesday morning, on a bill that would add Maine to the list of states supporting election of the president by popular vote.

· The Criminal Justice Committee will hold a public hearing at 1 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 3, on a bill, LD 1737, clarifying when and where firearms may be carried inside Acadia National Park.

· An Insurance and Financial Services Committee hearing at 1 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 3, on LD 1620, which would prohibit health insurance companies from setting annual or lifetime limits on paid-out claims.

· An Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee hearing on LD 1598, which would strengthen the penalties for operators of illegal “puppy mills.”

http://bangordailynews.com/2010/01/29/politics/anonymous-video-attacks-gubernatorial-hopeful/ printed on September 20, 2014