Two letters to the editors of the Winona Daily News underscore the limitations of letters as tool for earned media. By their very nature submitted a least a day before, the headlines on Doug Baker's Quist is too far out and Patrick Boone's Parry stands out read like hipsters' ironic asides tweeted in the wake of Mike Parry's pill-popping comments.
Last night, Josh Moniz captured First District congressional candidate Mike Parry on video talking about how scary Mark Dayton is. Bluestem posted about it in the wee hours with Mike Parry video: "When you sit across from him and you watch [Dayton] pop 15 to 16 pills while you're having a meeting, it's scary".
Now, that's far out.
Suddenly, Parry's own outlandish statements are on center stage, making former represnetative Quist look like the elder stateman of hard-right debt reduction policy. Parry stands out--but probably not what he'd hoped for a week from the primary.
As AP reporter Martiga Lohn writes in Mike Parry taking heat for saying Mark Dayton popped pills:
In the southern Minnesota primary, Parry has made an issue of intemperate comments made by opponent Allen Quist in the 1980s and 1990s, saying they call Quist's judgment and electability
into question. Quist has brought up reckless Twitter posts Parry made before he ran for state Senate in a special election in 2010.
On Twitter Tuesday, Democratic Reps. Terry Morrow of St. Peter and Ryan Winkler of Golden Valley urged Parry to apologize for the pill remark, while Republican Rep. Jim Abeler of Anoka called Dayton a "gentleman."
Minnesota Public Radio's Tom Scheck echoes this in Parry's pill comment is 'gutter politics':
Parry's latest comments may undercut one of his key arguments as to why he's a better candidate than Quist. For weeks, Parry has suggested Quist's past controversial statements about social issues would make him a flawed candidate against U.S. Rep. Tim Walz, a Democrat, in November.
The AP reports In Minn., Dayton dismisses Parry remark on pills:
Gov. Mark Dayton struck back hard Tuesday at a Republican congressional candidate who portrayed him as a pill popper, describing Mike Parry as a desperate politician looking for a boost at his expense ahead of a difficult primary election. . . .
During an unrelated appearance Tuesday in Brooklyn Park, reporters asked Dayton about Parry's remark. The governor said it "says a lot more about him than it does about me."
"In this era of gutter politics, something like that, especially somebody who probably thinks he's losing an election in six days is going to reach for anything he can and try to make an issue out of it and blow it up and see if he can get an advantage with it," Dayton said.
Dayton spokesman Bob Hume said he doesn't know what Parry meant, but he said the governor sometimes takes antacids. Dayton has also said he takes medication for depression.
Parry took part in the Congressional forum-where he asserted that President Obama and Democrats want to end production agriculture, an especially absurd construction given that the ranking Democrat on the House ag committee was ten feet from his right.
Mankato Free Press staff writer Mark Fischenich reports on the debate in Walz, Parry, Quist find little to disagree about at FarmFest forum:
One week before primary voters will send one of them home and the other to the general election ballot, Republican congressional opponents Allen Quist and Mike Parry essentially ignored each other at a forum before hundreds of farmers and a gaggle of media at FarmFest Tuesday.
Mired in an intense battle for months, Quist and Parry shared the stage for the first time with the Democratic congressman they each hope to topple Nov. 6 — but three-term Rep. Tim Walz received only glancing blows from the Republicans. It was tame enough that Walz, a former teacher at Mankato West High School, complimented them in the final minutes of the nearly 80-minute forum.
“I was a high school lunchroom supervisor for 20 years,” Walz said, looking to the pair of Republicans to his left. “I’m proud of you guys today, very proud.”
Following the Forum, Parry was mobbed by the media asking about his deep concern about Governor Dayton's mental health. We'll be adding video of the gaggle (power failed at Farmfest just as Senator Franken was going to talk about renewable energy and we're in a coffee shop at Jackpot Junction); for now, Strib staff writer Jennifer Brooks' report sums it up in Candidate sticks by claim that governor pops pills:
Maybe it wasn't 15 or 16 pills, he conceded, but "it was more than just a few" and "they weren't M&M peanuts, which he seems like." He could not recall the date of the alleged incident. He said the pills were sitting on the table while the two of them were having breakfast.
"I was there. I saw it," Parry told reporters after the candidate forum. "I saw it. I said it. I was there."
He stopped short of saying outright that he thought the governor of Minnesota was a drug addict.
"I have all the sympathy in the world for people that have issues like that," he said. "What I was speaking about was that it would be very scary, very scary if our governor ended up with a House and a Senate that was controlled by one party. I truly believe that this state, in my mind, would turn into one of the most socialistic states in the nation."
Dayton, who says he takes medication for depression, said he doesn't expect an apology for the pill remark, but he'd like one for another claim Parry made at the Monday fundraiser -- that he'd cut services to veterans. Parry also declined to make that apology.
As luck would have it, the governor was scheduled to speaker not long after the forum. Earlier in the day, Dayton's office had chosen not to respond to the personal slam, opting rather to ask Parry to retract a statement about funding the veteran's honor guard last year. Scheck notes in Parry's pill comment is 'gutter politics':
Dayton said he doesn't want an apology from Parry for the pill comments but does want a retraction for Parry's suggestion at the Brown County fundraiser that Dayton cut veterans services.
Bluestem reported on the issue on August 31, 2011, in Will Sen Parry speak up now? State funding for veterans' funeral honor guards cut. Earlier Parry had not spoken up about veterans' funding, as Bluestem noted in If the mirror fits: Why is Mike Parry so angry, and why won't he provide funding details? and Shellito warns of cuts to state vets' programs; Senator Mike Parry silent again.
Lohn reports today:
The feud between Dayton and Parry goes back to 2011, when each blamed the other for cutting a grant program that helped pay for the honor guards at funerals of military veterans.
According to sources we talked with while we were at Farmfest, Parry left the event immediately after being jumped by the press gaggle, with Fox 9 missing him by five minutes. Not to worry: the hard-working Josh Moniz shared his video of the impromptu press conference. The Twin Cities, after all, is another market.
Perhaps amid the power failure, no one will notice bold Mike Parry ran away.
Photo: Mike Parry at Farmfest. Unretouched photo (top); Walz, Parry and Quist (bottom). Credit: Eric V. Adams for Bluestem Prairie.