An Unfair Hit on the “Next Todd Akin”

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
May 19 2014 1:56 PM

An Unfair Hit on the “Next Todd Akin”

While I'm in full cover-up-for-politicians mode, can I defend Mississippi's Chris McDaniel? The Mississippi Conservatives PAC, which exists to defeat McDaniel and renominate Sen. Thad Cochran, is out with a mailer that plays some of the offensive things McDaniel said in his days as a radio host. Among them: "It's so interesting to see this woman basically using her boobies—I shouldn't have said that—using her breasts to run for office."

BuzzFeed quotes that line without context, saying that McDaniel is "talking about a woman" (true). The Daily Caller writes that the ad catches McDaniel "talking about a candidate 'basically using her boobies' to win votes." 

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But he was right! In 2006 an Alabaman named Loretta Nall ran for governor as the Libertarian Party's write-in candidate. As the AP reported at the time:

Loretta Nall, the Libertarian Party’s write-in candidate for governor of Alabama, is campaigning on her cleavage and hoping that voters will eventually focus on her platform. “It started out as a joke, but it blew up into something huge,” said Nall, a 32-year-old with dyed blond hair.
Her campaign is offering T-shirts and marijuana stash boxes adorned with a photo of her with a plunging neckline and the words: “More of these boobs.” Below that are pictures of other candidates for governor — including Republican incumbent Bob Riley and Democratic Lt. Gov. Lucy Baxley — and the words: “And less of these boobs.”
Her Web site has a cartoon of someone stuffing bills down the front of her low-cut top. And for $50 donation she apparently offers to show a cartoon of herself flashing her breasts.

This was a popular oddly-enough story in 2006; you can still see the merch via the Internet Archive. Why should McDaniel be shamed for accurately joking about a candidate who talked about her cleavage?

It's interesting that the mailer clipped this McDaniel line, and did not warn conservative voters that McDaniels had also joked about reparations for slaves. Anyway, this is hardly McDaniel's biggest problem right now.

David Weigel is a former Slate political reporter. 

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