Let's say you're a county sheriff in Arizona who's running for Congress. It's just come out that you had a longtime relationship with another man (you're a Republican, so the gay stuff is not exactly look upon favorably) who's a Mexican national (raising questions about your own commitment to cracking down on illegal immigration), who has accused you of threatening him with deportation if he ever revealed the relationship publicly. You need to do some quick image rehab because there's a primary coming up. Where do you go?
Why, you go to the experts in image rehab for disgraced conservatives: Newsmax.
Following in the footsteps of Bernard Kerik, Ralph Reed and Vito Fossella is Paul Babeu, who is given the whitewash treatement in a March 4 article by Martin Gould and Ashley Martella. They portray Babeu as "the victim of what his supporters says is a vicious smear campaign in his bid to gain the Republican nomination for a congressional seat," and they assist Babeu in spinning it away:
“It’s been pushed around for months and months, in fact for years; political opponents have threatened me, trying to go to the newspapers and the TV station and nobody would touch it,” Babeu told Newsmax. He said believed his friend was living legally in the U.S. "I had no reason to believe he was any less legal than me or you," Babeu said, adding, "He held a graduate degree, driver's license and full time job."
Babeu says voters should judge him on his long record in public service, including military duty in Iraq. In 2010 Babeu retired from the National Guard after 20 years of service. As a patrolman in Arizona, Babeu was awarded two Life Saving Medals for performing police duties.
Last month, Babeu called a news conference to deny the allegations of threats made by his former friend. Attending the news conference were about three dozen high-ranking uniformed deputies, local elected officials, and citizens, according to The Associated Press.
Republican Arizona Sen. John McCain also joined in supporting Babeu. Noting that Babeu is a “friend of mine,” McCain said, “He also deserves the benefit, as every citizen does, of innocence until proven guilty.”
“I believe we should be defined by not only the value we bring to our community but to our country. That’s what I have done my entire life, that’s how I want and ask people to judge me, the same way that they want to be judged in the end — fairly,” Babeu told Newsmax TV.
The video interview of Babeu accompanying the article is even more fluffy, with Martella teeing up softballs like, "Can you tell us why these allegations suddenly surfaced?"
Once that unpleasantness is dispensed with, Martella gets on with the business of promoting Babeu's law enforcement record and cueing up attacks on President Obama.