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Saturday, January 20, 2007

Brian Camenker vs Mitt Romney

Previously on Lloydletta's Nooz.

After AP covered anti-gay activist Brian Camenker's attacks on Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney for being too supportive of gays, the Romney campaign posted an attack of Camenker on their website. Peter LaBarbera from the anti-gay activist organization, Americans for Truth About Homosexuality had a cow over the attack. Then Romney's campaign engaged LaBarbera in a blog posting.

From the AP:

But Camenker's report and other reports of pro-gay statements by Romney have struck a nerve with some conservatives.

"He does need to address better the comments he made in the past if he truly wants to court social conservatives," said Tom McClusky, spokesman for the conservative Family Research Council. "Too many people are going to be cynical and wonder if his actions are politically motivated."

Ya think?

Evangelicals for Mitt has been playing defense. The DNC has taken note, trying to play down the gay issues this is about in their press release.

This is from one of the sources the Romney campaign used to attack anti-gay activist Brian Camenker:

His 17-year-old son says he may have to start wearing a paper bag over his head to Newton North High School. His 19-year-old daughter has forbidden him from ever doing such a thing again.

Brian Camenker now knows there are few worse ways to score points with your children than to be interviewed for a segment on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show."

Camenker, who heads a group campaigning to repeal same-sex marriage, played the unwitting straight man in a report called "Mass.Hysteria," which examined whether Massachusetts had deteriorated since gay marriage was legalized.

Despite being peppered with such questions as: "Is it hard to stay interested in your wife with temptation out there?" Camenker professed to having come away relatively unscathed.

"I didn't think they treated me that badly," Camenker said. "They treated me a lot better than I thought they would."

Camenker was the second political figure from Newton to serve as the butt of a Comedy Central pseudo-newscast over the past two weeks. But while Camenker said he could take the joke, US Representative Barney Frank was not amused.

Frank, the nation's first openly gay congressman, was featured on the Oct. 27 "The Colbert Report," a recent spinoff of "The Daily Show." Host Stephen Colbert, the network's answer to Bill O'Reilly of Fox TV, interviewed him for the second installment of a 435-part series called "Better Know A District."

"To sum up," Colbert intoned, "you're left-handed, you're Jewish. But there is something else about you. And this is sort of the elephant in the room that I'm not naming, but as a journalist I feel like I have to name it. Um, you're a little overweight."

Colbert then asked Frank if his weight bothered his wife.

"I can honestly say to you whether or not I lose weight is of no concern whatsoever to my wife," said Frank, who though known for his quick wit didn't crack a smile during the interview.

"I was disappointed," said Frank, who called the show "sub-Three Stooges." "It was silly. I like political humor, but I found this really strange. His basic interview technique was to pretend he didn't know things. That wouldn't be funny in junior high school."

Camenker and Frank both acknowledged not knowing what they were getting into when they went on the shows.

"I don't know why I did it," said Camenker, adding that he had earlier turned down the producers several times. "They said, `We promise we'll be fair with you.' So in a moment of weakness, I agreed to do it. If I had to do it over again, I'd be more into the comedy thing of it. I really didn't know. I figured I'd just be myself."

Camenker, a Newton resident and director of the Waltham-based Article 8 Alliance, is widely known for his strong positions and is often lampooned by the local and national media.

On last week's segment, correspondent Ed Helms asked whether the quality of life in Massachusetts was on the decline because of legalized gay marriage.

"Yeah," Camenker said.

Has homelessness gone up? Is crime on the rise? Is the air quality diminishing? Helms asked.

Camenker smiled as he saw where Helms was heading. "I could probably, you know, find some way of connecting the dots to gay marriage to all of these if I had enough time and I did some research," Camenker said.

"Yeah, why take time to do the research when saying it is so much faster?" Helms responded.

At one point, Camenker said, "gay activists use a lot of the PR tactics and propaganda tactics that the Nazis used."

"That comparison is a bit extreme, don't you think?" Helms deadpanned. "I mean, what did the Nazis do that was so bad?"

Camenker said the crew filmed for about 3 1/2 hours in a hotel suite at the Hyatt Regency in Boston. For the first half, they filmed just Camenker's responses to Helms's questions. Then, they moved the camera and filmed Helms asking the questions this time, a little more embellished.

"They really could have made me a lot worse," Camenker said. "When you have 3 1/2 hours' worth of stuff, you could really murder somebody."

Camenker's daughter, who is in college, saw the show while at a party with friends. "She wasn't too happy," he said.

"I've heard from a lot of my relatives around the country," said Camenker, who has been on several national news shows and rarely gets feedback. "It's amazing how many people watch this. Clergymen, people that I know."

Camenker said that while his argument against gay marriage may not have been convincing in the footage that was aired, he may have changed some hearts and minds among the "25-year-olds from New York City who naturally are all pro gay marriage."

"They were moved by what I said about the subject," Camenker said. "They didn't use 99 percent of my stuff. But the arguments I said, you could tell they were visibly moved, and that I was saying things they hadn't heard before."

Frank was less enthusiastic about his interview. "I really regretted the waste of my time, but even more the waste of TV space," he said. "Getting younger people to watch who are interested in the issues is important. What a waste to make them think it's all Silly Putty." - Source: Interviews No Laughing Matter for Local Notables,
Matt Viser, GLOBE STAFF. Boston Globe. Boston, Mass.: Nov 10, 2005. pg. 6

The Boston Globe also published the text of the interview.

Ed Helms, a correspondent for "The Daily Show" with Jon Stewart, last Thursday presented a news segment called "Mass.Hysteria" that looked back on the year since Massachusetts legalized gay marriage. Prominently featured was Brian Camenker, a Newton resident and director of the Article 8 Alliance, a Waltham-based organization fighting same-sex marriage. Here are portions of the show, which can be viewed in full at index.jhtml).

Helms: Last year, Massachusetts became the first state to allow gay marriage and critics feared the worst. . . . Now, just one year later, Massachusetts pro-family activist Brian Camenker believes those fears have become reality.

Camenker: The gay marriage issue is destructive on many levels. You have to deal with it in business, you have to deal with it in the public square, you have to deal with it in the public schools.

Helms: So the quality of life has decreased?

Camenker: Yeah.

Helms: Homelessness gone up?

Camenker: (Laughs) I can, you know . . .

Helms: Crime rates?

Camenker: Crime rates?

Helms: Air quality?

Camenker: I mean, let me put it this way. I could sit here and I could probably, you know, find some way of connecting the dots to gay marriage to all of these if I had enough time and I did some research.

Helms: Yeah, why take time to do the research when saying it is so much faster?

. . .

Helms: How does legalized gay marriage affect your relationship with your wife?

Camenker: That's such a ridiculous question, I don't even want to answer it.

Camenker: Are you like asking me serious questions or not?

Helms: Of course.

Camenker: OK. Good.

Helms: Is it hard to stay interested in your wife with temptation out there?

Camenker: I'm not going to answer that. I mean, come on.

Helms: What are some other gay activities you haven't indulged in?

Camenker: Indulged in, what do you mean?

Helms: Has legalized same-sex marriage led to more homosexuals?

Camenker: I think in the broad way, it has.

. . .

Camenker: It's a little scary as to where this movement might be headed. Gay activists use a lot of the PR tactics and propaganda tactics that the Nazis used.

Helms: That comparison is a bit extreme, don't you think? I mean, what did the Nazis do that was so bad?