Was President Obama's campaign manager Jim Messina responsible for an allegedly infamous (we'll admit we've never heard of it until today) anti-gay campaign ad that aired in Montana in 2002?
According to Joshua Green of Businessweek, he was.
More after the jump.
The ad in question was created on behalf of Senator Max Baucus of Montana in his campaign to take down Republican challenger, Mike Taylor.
As described by Buzzfeed, "The spot features porn music and decades old footage of Taylor's men's cosmetic line, suggestively edited to end with an apparent crotch grab."
We'll let you judge for yourself regarding the crotch grab...
The voiceover says, "Mike Taylor: Not the way we do business in Montana." Critics pounced on the ad, asserting that while it pretends to address a loan scandal, it was actually an attempt to raise questions about Taylor's sexual orientation.
Baucus claims that Messina was, in fact, responsible for the controversial ad and its message.
Baucus tells Businessweek, "Jim is tough. I’ll never forget when he showed me that ad. We were in Bozeman in a motel. The curtains were drawn. He said, ‘Max, what do you think?’ They were afraid I wasn’t going to like it. I loved it!”
In an e-mail to Businessweek, Mike Taylor writes, “I found out quickly from Messina that there was no honor in politics.”
Apparently the Obama campaign isn't too concerned, more than likely because Messina is held in very high esteem by LGBT rights advocates.
The Obama campaign responded to Buzzfeed's request for comment with an e-mail from a top supporter in the gay rights movement, Joe Solmonese, President of the Human Rights Campaign.
Solmonese defended Messina and compared Messina's record to that of the president's. In an e-mail to Buzzfeed, he writes:
"With the exception of the President himself, the LGBT community has had no greater champion or advocate within the administration than Jim Messina. In the fight to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell, I had the honor of working by Jim's side throughout the entire process. No one that I know was more proud of that accomplishment or more visibly moved on the day of its passage than Jim. I'm proud to call him a friend."
What do you think, Instincters? Did the 2002 campaign ad cross the line? Should it impact Messina's role in President Obama's campaign?