The Democratic Congressional Committee must have thought it had a slam-dunk winner when it found the 2012 video of MN07 congressional candidate Torrey Westrom and State Senator Bill Ingebrigsten and sent the video to a Twin Cities alt weekly known for its lively comments section.
The video, posted on the YouTube channel kept by Occupy Alexandria activist and one time aspiring Minnesota House 12A DFL candidate Judd Hoff, on March 2, 2012, appears to have been shot at a town hall in Morris's DeToy's Restaurant.
City Page's blogger Aaron Rupar checks out the content sent him by the DCCC in GOP congressional candidate Torrey Westrom says 48 percent of Americans don't pay taxes [VIDEO]. It's a straight forward and fair account, although no one in the video other than Westrom is identified.
The problem for the DCCC's earned media placement starts in The Blotter's free-for-all comment section.
Westrom is legally blind, having lost his eyesight in a farm accident when he was 14; the fact that he lives with blindness is a commonplace in reporting about his campaign, and he's given to gentle jokes about being sight impaired, like that shared with the Hutchinson Leader that he "always say I walk softly and carry a big stick."
And so an unfortunate thing happens in the comments at City Pages. Rather than arguing the merits of either side of the argument between Westrom and Hoff, some among the rowdy crowd at the City Pages take swipes at Westrom's appearance, his eyes in particular.
Naturally, less ignorant readers push back:
One supporter minces no words in the back and forth:
Some Westrom rippers just won't quit, going to the extreme of questioning whether the veteran lawmaker is faking it:
A former classmate answers:
Alvstad is accurate--the story of how Westrom and the Elbow Lake commnitiy worked through the issues created by the accident are well-known out on this stretch of the prairie. Indeed, Elbow Lake is such a tight-knit community that Jay McNamar, the high school teacher and wrestling coach who convinced Westrom to excel in his sport, is now the DFL state representative for the area.
We're left to wonder if maybe the DCCC crack communications team should target the news it launches to venues inside the Seventh, where the focus will be on the content of its press releases and not the douchebaggery of some of the readers at a metro alt-weekly--attacks which will likely become a talking point by the right about liberal double standards toward the disabled.
Photo: Torrey Westrom, campaigning at the Ottertail City Parade. Via Facebook.
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