You didn't really think that just because the primary was over we wouldn't have any more Les Otten scandals, did you?
Quote of the day:
"One of the great honors that is bestowed upon the first runner up...I get the little tiara," Otten said. "I get to introduce the guy who's going to wear the big tiara."
Libby Mitchell's closing argument:
And new ads from Les Otten and Bruce Poliquin (via Augusta Insider) featuring, respectively, Hitler and lens flares:
A day after the Poliquin campaign launched their ad attacking Les Otten's management of the American Skiing Company, Otten is on the air with a response.
It may not have the same punch as the powerful (albeit grammatically incorrect) "Les Otten, Less Jobs" slogan, but I think it hits just the right note.
Plus, it's a chance for Otten to play the victim and talk to the camera once again about all the jobs he claims to have created.
Most likely, the campaign anticipated an attack on this issue and had the ad canned and ready.
For more on Otten, check out Al Diamon's new interview with the candidate (sort of).
Bruce Poliquin, who who soon be receiving bouquets of flowers from most of the other Republican candidates, has launched the first negative ad of the 2010 race - a full frontal assault on Otten's record as job creator.
I'm surprised any GOP candidate would go negative, even against a front-runner with as much baggage as Otten. Poliquin now leaves himself open to charges of negative campaigning (always a popular accusation in Maine politics). In a 7-way race, there are plenty of other candidates who stand to gain from this kind of conflict.
A sign seen at the Maine GOP convention today, sent in by Brian Phillips with the Poliquin campaign:
Quote of the day:
"I'm obviously not exactly an impartial source in this because I give a lot more grief to Otten than I think an impartial person would,"
Angry twittering by Matt Gagnon and others seems to have galvanized the press into action. Most news sources in Maine have now reported on the Otten campaign's plagiarism, although mostly in a rather facile way.
The folks in the Otten campaign obviously now feel that simply ignoring the whole thing or releasing an incomplete denial won't work as well as it did the first time they were accused of plagiarism and so have elevated their response.
We now get to witness that bit of political theater where a single staffer resigns, absolving the candidate of all his sins.
So I guess it was this Will Gardiner guy who wrote Otten's education responses, his jobs plan, designed his website and (now-abandoned) logo and even created the branding for Otten's real estate development project, years before he began working for his campaign.
Thank God Les Otten stopped this serial plagiarist before he struck again.
The Poliquin campaign has released a statement attacking Otten for his "incredibly poor judgment."
Can't say I'm surprised that Les Otten has continued to appropriate other people's work for his own purposes.
Matt Gagnon caught the plagiarized passages, which are from this report by Steve Bowen at the Maine Heritage Policy Center and were used in this response to an education policy questionnaire by Derek Viger.
This, obviously, comes after several other instances of plagiarism were brought to light early in his campaign.
The Otten campaign offered a stunningly inept denial/apology.
Now the author of the report, Steve Bowen, has written a long post on the MHPC blog criticizing Otten for both the plagiarism itself and his campaign's response once the deed was uncovered.
Had the Otten piece simply been comprised of big sections of unedited text from my work, they could plausibly argue that they cut and pasted it into a new document with the intent of later adding quotation marks and citations. But what they did was rewrite and reorganize whole sections of it. You don't accidentally turn a paragraph into a bullet list, take out the bullets with which you disagree, then accidentally forget to cite the author of the original paragraph from which the bullet list was crafted.
Are they joking with this? [...]
We do not intend for our work to be used in a way that implies we endorse a specific political candidate, nor do we expect candidates to slyly suggest in their statements that we are somehow working behind the scenes to advance their campaigns. That appears to me to be what the Otten campaign is implying and it is both offensive to me and to the organization and potentially damaging to our credibility.
The Otten campaign has taken steps to apologize to me and to MHPC, but not for stealing our work.In their mind, it seems, this was simply an unfortunate accident, not a blatant attempt to pass off my work as the work of Les Otten.
I, for one, am not buying it.
In related news, fake Leslie Otten is back up on Twitter.
Update: Gagnon has found more plagiarized passages sprinkled throughout the policy documents on Otten's website.