Chutzpah at Maine Senate debate provokes audience laughter

In the Bangor debate between five candidates to replace Olympia Snowe in the U.S. Senate, the most dramatic moment involved an act of chutzpah.

The audience, which had followed the moderator’s injunction to be quiet, laughed at the Republican nominee, Secretary of State Charlie Summers.

The laughter came after Summers asserted that it was Angus King and only Angus King who ran negative ads and who benefitted from outside money.

This is patently absurd and true chutzpah.

On outside money, just take a look at the below chart from the Center for Responsive Politics, which gets its data from the Federal Election Commission.

Outside spending in Maine Senate race, as of 10/17/2012

King has had over $3 million spent opposing him. And even the outside money that’s shown as split between supporting and opposing Dill is, as every sentient being knows, really money that’s being spent to undermine King’s candidacy and in support of Summers.

By the way, at the debate, Angus King pointed out that Karl Rove has announced that his group will be spending $1 million in Maine against King.

King noted that the ad he ran that mentioned Summers spells out policy differences and, unlike the tone of the ads run against King, doesn’t mock the Secretary of State.

And then King said, “Being lectured by Charlie Summers on negative ads is like being called ugly by a toad.”*

And, yes, dear reader, more laughter erupted.


*I had no recording device, so the words in quotation marks are based on my memory and on others’ reports.

Amy Fried

About Amy Fried

Amy Fried loves Maine's sense of community and the wonderful mix of culture and outdoor recreation. She loves politics in three ways: as an analytical political scientist, a devoted political junkie and a citizen who believes politics matters for people's lives. Fried is Professor of Political Science at the University of Maine. Her views do not reflect those of her employer or any group to which she belongs.