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Thin-Skinned And Misleading? Not So Classy.


The “scary tracker” malarky that the Collins campaign has been peddling?  Inaccurate.  In this video from the Stockton Springs Parade, you see that the very nice video fellow is a polite distance away, and that Sen. Collins of her own accord approaches him on more than one occasion to chat.  As the Maine Democratic Party noted in a press release yesterday:

Senator Collins said, “Are you my tracker?” to which Redmond replied, “Yes, ma’am.” Expressing no sense of surprise or alarm, she then said, “Then we’ll be seeing a lot of each other on the campaign trail.”

I’ve watched this video several times now. There is no element of fear or surprise, and the fellow running the video camera is exceedingly respectful. The claims made by the Collins campaign and blasted around the Maine press by her Senate Chief of Staff/”volunteer” campaign spokesperson Steve Abbott?  Without merit entirely.  Shame on them.

As the Kennebec Morning Journal put it earlier in the week:

On the other hand, we’re not particularly interested in hearing the candidates whine about each other’s campaign maneuvers. Collins did herself no favor by allowing her campaign to portray her as hounded prey; she’s running; she’s tough; this is a crucially important race. She can ill afford to present herself as the victim — especially before she’s been made into one.

Wait until the folks at the Kennebec paper see this video.

While Mr. Abbott has been engaged with Sen. Collins’ campaign matters and his own potential candidacy, the mice in Sen. Collins’ Senate office have been playing around with her Wiki entry. From a source in the know on this:

The July additions to her entry were not only straight from her own talking points but appear to be straight out of her official, US Senate office and on the taxpayers’ dime….

Their response is that they are acting on their own time as “volunteers” and using private email accounts and telephones. No doubt a lot of this work is done during work hours and from Senate offices, no matter which email “account” they use or which cell phone number. And no doubt that when reporters call Abbott or Burita or Kelley about a campaign issue and these employees of the United States Senate are sitting in a U.S. Senate office, they are being used as campaign staffers.

And here is the IP trackback from the Wiki modifications:

Wikipedia changes: (adds all sorts of puffery) (deletes reference to Collins as a RINO)

Both changes were made from the IP address

If you do a WHOIS look up (using a site like you’ll find that IP address is registered to…

OrgName: U.S. Senate Sergeant at Arms OrgID:

StateProv: DC
PostalCode: 20510
Country: US
NetRange: – CIDR: Origin
AS: AS3495
NetName: USSAANetHandle: NET-156-33-0-0-1
Parent: NET-156-0-0-0-0
NetType: Direct Assignment
Comment: Reg
Date: 1991-12-03
Updated: 2007-04-05 OrgTechHandle: NOC143-ARIN
OrgTechPhone: +1-202-224-4186
OrgTechEmail: ******

This is beyond pathetic.  Taking a page from the thin-skinned partisan dirty tricks Fox News playbook should be beneath a sitting United States Senator.  Although, to be fair, Sen. Collins may not have known that her staff was using Senate resources to edit her wikipedia profile in a blatant attempt to rewrite her history — and her less-than-moderate voting record — in a less factually accurate light.  (Where I come from, we call that cheating.)

But are Sen. Collins or Steve Abbott, her Senate Chief of Staff, also aware that staffers may be responding to campaign issues from their Senate offices on the taxpayers’ time clock?  I’d like to know the answer to that question.

Perhaps I am reading the Senate Ethics rules (PDF) incorrectly, but Rule 34 clearly states: “Senate space and equipment may not be used for campaign activities.”  I’m certain that Sen. Collins will want to get to the bottom of this with her Senate staffers, and we eagerly await some answers.  To the many questions about Steve Abbott’s “campaign spokesperson by proxy” work and who is paying the tab for it as well. 

We’re still waiting for the apology for your foot-in-mouthpiece blogger, Sen. Collins.  You should know that we have now raised over $9,000 $9,100 for Tom Allen’s Senate campaign and counting.  You can contribute to Tom Allen’s campaign, and to a number of our other fine Blue America candidates, here at our ActBlue page.

PS — Speaking of not so classy, nice supporters you have there

(H/T to reader cherish for the “foot-in-mouthpiece” appellation.  Good one!  Also, a H/T to My Two Sense who also caught some of this.)

UPDATE:  Huge thank you to Collins campaign foot-in-mouthpiece blogger for posting his own video of the Stockton Springs parade, which again clearly shows that the fellow with the camera was polite and kept a respectful distance from Sen. Collins.  During one portion of this video, there appears to be a reporter interviewing Sen. Collins — for which paper does this person work?  And why didn’t that paper consult with the reporter about the false tracker allegations from the Collins campaign — because she could clearly see that there was no intimidation or close proximity as the campaign alleged.  Can the media please start doing their jobs instead of acting as a press release service for elected officials?  Thanks.

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Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com