Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Strange Bedfellows: Bachmann Hires Media Co. Employing Rand Paul's Wife

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“True it is that politics makes strange bedfellows.” The precise origin of this phrase is unclear, but its application to the race for President in 2012 is all too evident and perhaps a bit uncomfortable.

Normally, the rolling out of the predictable campaign ad blitz in an early primary state would not be very noteworthy. The ads for GOP presidential contender Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), however, are drawing attention because of the media strategy company producing them. The Bachmann ad was produced by Strategy Group for Media, (SGM) an Ohio-based political media consulting firm whose former client list includes Bachmann’s competitor for the GOP presidential nomination — Ron Paul.

The Paul family's ties to SGM go beyond a mere client-vendor relationship. After successfully handling the media requirements for Rand Paul’s race in 2010 for Senate from Kentucky, the firm hired Senator Paul's wife, Kelley Paul.

Politico reports that in order to avoid difficult family reunions, representatives of SGM sat down with Congressman Ron Paul last month giving the patriarch the heads up on the Bachmann hire.

According to reports the meeting was “tense,” with both sides feeling “a little awkward” given the fact that any way you slice it, SGM (and by extension, Paul’s own daughter-in-law) is now working to help get one of his fellow candidates elected to the very office he is seeking.

Interestingly, SGM is a new hire for Bachmann, as the Minnesota Congresswoman has used another media consulting firm, Greener and Hook, for her former media needs. In fact, one of the principals at Greener and Hook, Ed Brookover, has been one of Representative Bachmann’s most trusted advisers in the past.

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Why, given the closeness of the relationship between Brookover and Bachmann and the history of the latter working happily together with the former’s company, would the Bachmann team choose a firm with a Paul on the payroll?

Is this part of a grander Bachmann scheme to sow discord in the Paul campaign in the days before the campaign for the White House starts in earnest? Despite an insider’s opinion that “that’s the business,” there can be no doubt that neither Ron nor Rand Paul can be pleased to read stories about how Kelley Paul is now working against her father-in-law and by association throwing her support behind his rival.

Bachmann, a native of Waterloo, has begun running television spots in Iowa and by many accounts they are making quite a splash. In the 30-second spot she plays up her deep Iowa roots.

The ad opens with a cityscape shot of Waterloo, Iowa, her birthplace. It is heavy on photos and biographical details meant to introduce her to a broader audience. Bachmann also stresses an unequivocal stance against raising the nation's debt ceiling. 

The ad begins its rotation about six weeks before the important Republican straw poll in Ames, which serves as a 2012 test of strength. 

Ron Paul is accustomed to winning these bellwether straw polls, but it can't help that his own son's wife is employing her talents in guaranteeing that he doesn't win in the only poll that counts — the election in November of 2012.

Photo of Kelley Paul: AP Images