Mike Baumgartner, a U.S. Senate candidate hoping to unseat Democratic Sen. Maria Cantwell this fall, told a local reporter to “fuck off” earlier his week. His only apparent regret about his outside-the-box PR strategy? Failing to stop his staff from later issuing an apology on his behalf.
The reporter, Baumgartner told CBS News afilliate KIRO 7, “had it coming,” adding that he had not signed off on the apology before his staff released it.
The whole thing appears to have started Monday when Seattle-area political blog Publicola’s Josh Feit interviewed the Republican Senate candidate (and current Washington state senator) for a larger story about the topic of the moment in the political world: Todd Akin and his views on rape and abortion.
The way Feit tells it, Baumgartner—who for the record called Akin’s views “ignorant” and “offensive“—made it clear during the interview that he wished the media focused more on the war in Afghanistan (the ending of which is a key pillar in his campaign) than the recent abortion flap.
That night, Feit opened his inbox to find an email from Baumgartner that included a pic of the candidate and another man. It read: “Josh, this is Pat Feeks, a Navy SEAL killed last week in Afghanistan. Take a good look and then go fuck yourself.”
Feit later published the email on his blog, prompting Baumgartner’s staff to issue the apology that has since been retracted by their boss. It read:
Senator Michael Baumgartner made this statement today regarding Publicola’s article that published a private e-mail between him and Publicola editor, Josh Feit:
“This was a follow-up e-mail to a previous conversation with a local blogger,” Baumgartner said. “I apologize to Josh for my strong language.”
“A cornerstone of my campaign thus far has been to address and end the war in Afghanistan. Every week, our best American men and women are killed. Since I announced my candidacy in October, 301 Americans have been killed.”
“The problem is that many media outlets, including Publicola, do not want to talk about why these men and women continue to be killed. They don’t want to discuss Maria Cantwell’s record supporting the war in Afghanistan or a smarter foreign policy that can save thousands of lives in the future.”