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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

 3:59 PM 

Thompson says aide's email was a mistake

GOP U.S. Senate candidate Tommy Thompson said Tuesday it was a mistake for an aide to send out an email linking to video of Dem opponent Tammy Baldwin dancing at a gay pride event.

In his first public comments since the email became public, Thompson said he was very upset about it.

“I thought it was a mistake,” Thompson said after a speech to the Milwaukee Rotary Club. “I’m sorry, and he’s apologized, I believe.”

When asked, Thompson said aide Brian Nemoir is still with the campaign but in a different role. He didn't elaborate.

The email was sent on the eve of a speech that Baldwin gave at the Democratic National Convention. Leading up to the speech, Baldwin said she'd talk about “heartland values” that she said Republicans don't represent.

“Clearly, there’s no one better positioned to talk ‘heartland values’ than Tammy,” wrote Nemoir, whose title was listed as senior advisor/communications on the email. Nemoir also included a video link of Baldwin dancing in 2010 with the costumed disco ban VO5 at a gay pride event.

If elected, Baldwin would be the nation’s first openly gay senator.

Asked if the email now means that his personal life is fair game, Thompson said Nemoir should not have sent it. He was also asked if being gay does not represent heartland values.

“To me that is definitely not an issue,” Thompson said.

In a brief phone interview, Nemoir said he had been Thompson’s senior adviser and is now political director. The change came after the primary election and wasn't related to the Baldwin email. He declined to comment on the email.

Baldwin’s campaign, which initially had no comment to WisPolitics.com on Nemoir's email, now says “Thompson failed the test” with his response.

“For five days he has remained silent about the divisive, personal attack his own campaign launched,” said spokesman John Kraus. “For a week he hasn’t said one word about the fact his campaign launched this personal attack and then tried to fool people into believing they didn’t. Today, Thompson had an opportunity take personal responsibility for his divisive and misleading campaign but he refused to do so.

"We are confident that Wisconsin voters will hold him accountable for his record, the positions he takes and what his campaign does and says."

-- By Marie Rohde

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