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Posts tagged: John Foster

Popkey: Don’t Mess With ‘Big Ben’

At the Idaho Statesman, Dan Popkey writes about Secretary of State Ben Ysursa's attempt to protect Idaho's sunshine law by seeking disclosure of financial donors to Luna Law propositions:

On top of ignoring popular will, EVI, led by Gov. Butch Otter’s two-time campaign manager, Debbie Field, is attacking Ysursa, Idaho’s top vote-getter. In 2002 and 2010, Ysursa outpolled every other contested candidate, averaging 76 percent of the vote in those two contests. In 2006, he was unopposed. In what appears a desperate attempt to keep secret embarrassing information about the contributions, Field is linking Ysursa, a lifelong Republican, with teachers unions the campaign calls “thugs.” “Although efforts by the Secretary of State, the union and its allies have temporarily chilled our ability to fulfill our mission, we won’t back down,” wrote Field and EVI spokesman John Foster in an op-ed Monday. More here.

Question: Do you want to know who's funding the pro-Luna Law side?

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Ex-Dem Exec Pushes Luna Laws

The latest campaign commercial in the fight over whether to repeal Idaho's controversial school reform laws is running statewide, including in the Spokane-Coeur d'Alene market. John Foster, a lobbyist and political consultant who's behind the new “Parents for Education Reform” PAC that's running the ad, declined to identify its financial backers. “We'll file our disclosure reports at the appropriate time, but we're happy to receive enough support to get this ad off the ground, and hopefully do more,” Foster said. “This PAC is just one piece of a larger effort to spread the message of education reform in Idaho, and we'll be announcing more about that in the coming days. It's an effort that is not wholly about this campaign or this election season, it's bigger than that and will go beyond and past November”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.


Foster: NBC Smart To Tape-Delay

In his latest Reading the Race blog post, John M. Foster applauds the synergy between the Olympics and NBC advertising following the Individual Medley swim race won by Ryan Lochte of USA over rival American Michael Phelps, the Olympic hero from four years ago who finished a distant fourth. Remember? Foster: “Immediately after the race ended, excited television announcers wound down from the finish and transitioned to a commercial break. What followed was a series of 30-second advertisements featuring Lochte, the hero from moments earlier. Ad after ad featured the handsome American swimmer promoting everything from razors to sports drinks. The remarkable thing was how seamlessly broadcaster NBC integrated those ads into the coverage. The reason has been the subject of much attention and some outrage since the Olympics began: tape delay.” More here. (AP photo of gold medal swimmer Ryan Lochte)

Question: Are you bothered by tape-delay coverage of the Summer Olympics?

Foster Quits Ed Reform Work, Dems

John Foster, a former executive director of the Idaho Democratic party and former Democratic Congressman Walt Minnick's 2010 campaign manager, said Monday that he has ended his volunteer affiliation with the campaign by GOP Gov. Butch Otter and GOP Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna to preserve their 2011 education reforms. Foster said he told aides to Otter and Luna “about 10 days ago” that he needs to focus on building a new business with his partner, Kate Haas, Minnick’s former chief of staff. Foster and Haas were fired by Seattle-based Strategies 360 on Feb. 3 after Foster attempted to make the campaign a client for the company. Strategies 360 fired the pair in February and sued them. Foster and Haas counter-sued. Their new company is called Kestrel West/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Is John Foster a man without a cause or party now?

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Foster About Face Angers Dems

Gov. Butch Otter’s recruitment of John Foster, a former Idaho Democratic Party executive director, suggests Otter is taking seriously his promise to defend “Students Come First” at the polls Nov. 6. The news, rumored the past two weeks, prompted anger and disappointment in Democratic circles, where repealing the three 2011 laws authored by Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna is a litmus test. In addition to a mandate for online classes, the laws restrict collective bargaining to salaries and benefits and enact pay-for-performance. “It has changed and is gonna change the complexion and effectiveness of education in Idaho, big time,” Otter said. “In order to be successful, you gotta get the best people”/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Will John Foster be a man without a party when the dust settles? Or will he continue to gravitate toward Republicans?

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Otter Enlists Ex-Dem Operative Foster

Republican Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter has enlisted a former Democratic political operative to help develop his strategy for fighting to preserve new education laws that weaken teacher negotiating power and emphasize online learning. The governor has vowed publicly to do everything in his power to guarantee the measures aren't rejected by voters in November. The battle over the reforms deeply divided Republicans and Democrats during the 2011 session. Now, Otter's staff has brought on John Foster to serve as an informal adviser leading up to the referendum. The decision, which Foster confirmed Tuesday, may surprise some/AP. More here.

DFO: Sisyphus had this one right, 24 hours before Foster acknowledge here.

Question: Wonder what the Dems think of Foster now?

43rdSB: Foster Backing Luna Reform?

The referendum on Students Comes First will take place on the date of the general election, the first Tuesday of November, 2012. Word on the street is that John Foster has been tapped to lead the political efforts for Republicans against the initiatives, and in favor of leaving intact the draconian education reform legislation. John Foster is the former executive director of the Idaho Democratic Party. Foster is most notorious for his role as a staffer for Idaho's blue dog Congressman Walt Minnick, and leading Minnick's 2010 re-election campaign to an ignoble defeat. Since then, Foster has headed the office for a lobbying group./Sisyphus, 43rd State Blues. More here.

JF: Death Watch Media Serve Role

John Foster: I have the honor of serving as the lobbyist for the Idaho Press Club, and wanted to make one clarification. The media serves a greater role in this process than just reporting for their individual outlets. Those members of the media selected (via a drawing) to view the execution have agreed to serve as the eyes and ears of the public and not just their respective outlets. Those journalists will exit the execution chamber and immediately proceed to a press conference where they themselves will report to others what they saw and heard. In other words, the journalists present at the execution have an obligation to not just be reporters, but to be witnesses for the public. And I know from my conversations with journalists involved that they take that higher obligation very seriously.


Minnick’s concession made Twitter history

Idaho Congressman Walt Minnick talks about the race on Election Night in Boise

BOISE – Idaho Congressman Walt Minnick’s election-night concession on Twitter made history – according to Twitter. It was ranked No. 8 on the site’s list of the “10 Most Powerful Tweets of 2010.”

The tweet, sent by campaign manager John Foster around 2 a.m. as Election Night stretched into morning, said, “Congratulations to Raul Labrador on a hard-earned win, and best of luck as Idaho’s next Congressman.”

In its “Year in Review,” the microblogging social network site reported, “Twitter was a powerful campaign tool during the 2010 U.S. Midterm Elections, and Election Night results often broke first on Twitter. Demonstrating how quickly the world of political communications is changing, Idaho incumbent Walt Minnick’s campaign manager issued a concession Tweet.” Betsy Z. Russell/SR

Who do you follow on Twitter? Or are you not a Tweeter, er Twit, uh Twitterer. Oh, you know what I mean.

Grant: John Foster Admits His Failure

Larry Grant (re: Foster: No Democratic Party in Idaho): Given that one of the primary responsibilities of Foster, first as Idaho Democratic Party Executive Director and then as campaign manager of a top-of-the-ticket candidate, was to build the party organization and infrastructure, I guess his statement is as close as we are going to get to an admission that he failed. (Also: RedStateBlueGuy takes John Foster to task in this latest post-election analysis of Democrat losses in Idaho here.)

Question: Who or what is to blame for the decline of the Idaho Democratic Party?

Foster: No Democratic Party In Idaho

“I say this as a former executive director of the state Democratic Party. There is no Democratic Party in Idaho. A party is infrastructure. A party is operation and fundraising. There is simply no party” — John Foster, former campaign aide to Congressman Walt Minnick, responding to a question from the Boise Weekly. More here.

Question: Do you agree with Foster that there simply is no Democratic Party in Idaho?

Foster: No Regrets For Negative Ads

Democratic Rep. Walt Minnick’s campaign has no regrets for running negative advertisements against Raul Labrador, Minnick’s campaign manager said Wednesday. Labrador responded to Minnick’s negative ads with negatives ads of his own. Minnick campaign manager John Foster said U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid ran ads that were more negative than Minnick’s and ran them earlier in the campaign. He said that’s one of the reasons Reid beat Republican challenger Sharon Angle, and it shows the impact negative ads can have. Minnick fell victim to a nationwide Republican wave, Foster said, that was not unexpected/Mike Butts, Idaho Press-Tribune. More here.

Question: Did the negative ads really have an impact? Or was Minnick, like Dan English, simply a sitting duck who had 2 strikes against him: ‘incumbent’ and ‘Democrat’?

P.S. Game Changer? Or Dirty Trick?

In the comments section, Larry Spencer is excited about a political sign that Boise talk shower Austin Hill is calling a “game-changer” for the Minnick campaign (the one above). But a closer look at the small print below the main wording tells a very different story: “Paid for by Ron Lahr and not authorized by any candidate or candidates committee.” It gives a Post Falls address. Minnick aide John Foster adamantly told Hucks Online that Minnick’s campaign had nothing to do with this sign. He considers it a dirty political trick and is “exploring legal options” re: campaign finance laws. Later, in the comments section under this post, Lahr, a Reagan Republican, writes: “The sign is just a reminder to people that Minnick is a Democrat since his own campaign materials neglect to mention it. A dirty trick? Hardly.”

  • Originally posted at 5:25 p.m. Wednesday

Question: Do you consider this to be a dirty trick or clever politics?

FactCheck Corrects Minnick Criticism

The arm of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania called the Idaho Democrat’s new TV ad “pretty cheeky,” but swiftly issued a correction Wednesday. posted a story Wednesday saying Minnick was among nine Democrats falsely claiming to have voted against the Wall Street bailout. But after speaking with Minnick’s campaign, a correction was issued: “We originally reported that Minnick’s ad said he ‘voted’ against the bailout. His campaign manager John Foster objected, pointing out that what Minnick says in the ad is: ‘I’ve said no’ to Wall Street bailouts. “It’s true that, as a candidate in 2008, he did denounce passage of the bill. He would have been more accurate to say in his ad that he ‘spoke out against’ the bailouts”/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Does it matter to you exactly what Walt Minnick said about bailouts?

Foster Returns Fire To Labrador Dig

Thursday afternoon at 5:30, 1st District Republican congressional nominee Raul Labrador issued a three-page news release blasting Democratic Rep. Walt Minnick’s June 30 vote for the financial reform law signed by the president Wednesday. Three hours later, Minnick campaign manager John Foster responded in kind, in an e-mail to reporters with the subject line “Correcting Raul’s financial illiteracy, plagiarism.” Labrador’s release was posted here at Idaho Politics in full at 6 p.m. Thursday/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: What do you make of this dust-up over finance reform?

Foster: A 22-Point Swing Since June?

John Foster, Minnick for Congress campaign manager: So back in June the Labrador campaign tweeted and promoted a Greg Smith poll showing Raul leading Walt by 12 points. And now Raul is touting one showing Walt ahead by 10. By his own standards, there has been a 22-point swing in Walt’s favor in the last five weeks.

Question: So which side spun the Bob Moore poll results best — Minnick’s or Labrador’s?

Sometimes Comments Are ‘Discusting’

In the Idaho Statesman comment section (via John Foster Facebook page):

  • Replying to CaptObvious (07/15/10 3:54:34 PM): “Ward supporters — withholding your support for Labrador is discusting. You people are sick!!”
  • RealistIdahoan wrote on 07/15/10 06:13:03 PM: You’re inability to spell is disgusting. It’s sad that your vote counts as much as mine.

Question: Do you get turned off by bad spelling and grammar in critical letters to the editor or online comments?

Labrador Isn’t Enamored w/McCain

China Gum, a spokeswoman for Labrador, did little to walk back the candidate’s remarks, noting only that Labrador had voted for the Republican presidential nominee in 2008 while Minnick has supported Democrats for president, including Barack Obama. “Raul Labrador has voted for all Republican presidential candidates as did the overwhelming majority of Idaho voters in the 1st Congressional District,” said Gum. “So who best represents the 1st CD? The conservative Raul Labrador or the smooth Walt Minnick?” Minnick campaign manager John Foster fired back at Labrador’s camp, taking McCain’s side. “Walt would never, as Labrador has done, question the ethics and principles of an American hero who spent more than five years as a prisoner of war,” Foster said/Politico. More here. (AP photo: John McCain in Mesa, Ariz., earlier this month)

Question: Will Raul Labrador’s lack of enthusiasm for former Republican presidential candidate John McCain haunt him in his congressional race?

Greg Smith Fires Back At John Foster

Pollster Greg Smith responds to criticism first posted at HucksOnline by Minnick spokesman John Foster: “It’s too bad that John Foster, whom I admire greatly, has chosen to take issue with the results we’ve produced over the years. As he and anyone else with even a scant knowledge of political polling knows, a poll is simply a “snapshot” of attitudes at the time of the research, and is NOT a prediction by any means. Just like consumer attitudes, voter attitudes do in fact change and adapt due to a number of variables. Further, if one bothers to look at the entire report that was produced in 2006 discussing the aforementioned results, you’ll see that I fully indicated that (1) I felt Sali would be in trouble as November approached (for which I received a great deal of grief from Sali and other Republicans), and (2) I also felt that Otter would in fact surge in the remaining days/weeks”/Dustin Hurst, Idaho Reporter. More here. (AP Photo: Matt Cilley)


Greg Smith Polls Missed Key Races

RE: John Foster: Greg Smith polls are worthless/HucksOnline

Wednesday’s poll may not necessarily be an indicator of Minnick’s true standing with voters, however.  One month before Minnick ousted Republican Bill Sali from the seat in 2008, Smith’s polling among 200 likely voters in the district found that Sali enjoyed a 51-39 lead over his challenger.  Minnick went on to defeat Sali 51-49 on election night.   In 2006, Smith found Democrat Jerry Brady ahead of Republican Butch Otter by 5 percent in the gubernatorial race.  Otter defeated Brady at the polls 52-44. The poll results drew the ire of Minnick spokesman John Foster, who showed no confidence in the work of Smith and his team. “Usually when Greg Smith promotes one of his rigged polls, he at least tries to make it look real; this one is just a joke,” Foster told “He is notorious for being inaccurate”/Dustin Hurst, Idaho Reporter. More here.

Question: Do you think the Greg Smith poll that showed Raul Labrador leading Congressman Walt Minnick 36 percent to 24 percent is accurate?

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About this blog

D.F. Oliveria is a columnist and blogger for The Spokesman-Review. Print Huckleberries is a past winner of the Herb Caen Memorial Column contest by the National Association of Newspaper Columnists. The Readership Institute of Northwestern University cited this blog as a good example of online community journalism.

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