MILWAUKEE -- Tommy Thompson, the Republican candidate for Senate, addressed for the first time on Tuesday, September 11th, an email made by a high-level aide of his -- an email that suggested Tammy Baldwin and gay people don't hold "heartland values."
Baldwin is the first openly gay Congresswoman in U.S. history. When she spoke at the Democratic National Convention, Baldwin's speech was intended to be a progressive counterpoint to the conservative vision represented by Rep. Paul Ryan and Gov. Scott Walker. The theme of Baldwin's speech -- "heartland values" of acceptance she says Wisconsin embodies.
Just as Baldwin was making her speech in Charlotte, North Carolina, Brian Nemoir, the political director of Thompson's campaign, sent an email to supporters from his campaign account which linked readers to a video. It shows Baldwin dancing on stage at a gay pride rally in Madison back in 2010. Nemoir wrote, "Clearly, there's no better positioned to talk 'heartland values' than Tammy."
When asked whether he believed being gay does not represent "heartland values" as Nemoir insinuated, Thompson said on Tuesday, "To me that is absolutely not an issue."
Thompson said he was not aware the comment had been made by Nemoir -- that he acted on his own and wasn't representing the campaign. He expressed disappointment in his political director.
"I thought it was a mistake. He's apologized, I believe he shouldn't have done it," Thompson said.
Baldwin was in Washington, D.C. Tuesday and declined to address the situation. FOX6's Mike Lowe asked her about the topic when she first entered the race a year ago.
Mike Lowe: "Are you concerned, though that, even if criticism of your sexual orientation is not overt in this campaign, that it will be subtle in the sense that they'll make the case that you don't represent 'Wisconsin Values'?"
Baldwin: "Not at all. I think this election is going to be about hard-working people in Wisconsin and how they can get ahead again. Too far in the last decade we've seen people struggling to get ahead."
Nemoir apparently has a new role with the Thompson campaign. The campaign would not detail what has changed.
Democrats say Thompson should take responsibility for his campaign.