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Lessons in airing dirty laundry

One of the fashionable criticisms you hear in DFL circles about the Al Franken candidacy is that he should have made (and I gather this is the technical term) a “data dump,” getting all of his dirty laundry out on the table early in the process so h

One of the fashionable criticisms you hear in DFL circles about the Al Franken candidacy is that he should have made (and I gather this is the technical term) a “data dump,” getting all of his dirty laundry out on the table early in the process so he, not his opponents, could control the timing of its release, and put the most positive spin on it.

It’s a little hard to see how this would work when the “dirty laundry” consists of hundreds statements and jokes from Franken’s books, articles, live comedy shows, the daily radio show, “Saturday Night Live” skits, etc. How do you get all that on the table, and then announce that there’s nothing left that anyone might find foul, angry or hyperpartisan?

Anyway, I thought of this when I read an item in Taegan Godard’s “Political Wire” about Bob Kelleher, the Republican challenger for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Sen. Max Baucus, describing Kelleher’s attempt at the data dump strategy.

“Saying he’s concerned Baucus ‘may use personal smears’ in their Senate campaign, [Kelleher] ‘laid out his life’s faults’ yesterday, the Missoulian reports.

“Kelleher noted that he dropped out of a monastery ‘because he couldn’t handle the vow of chastity.’ He also noted he has since been married and divorced three times and has seven children ‘and regrets the impact his absence had on their lives.’

“Said Kelleher: ‘I wanted to have fun.’

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“Not surprisingly [this is Godard’s remark], CQ rates the race Safe Democrat.”