Clucking drowns out Senate challenger

FRIDAY, APRIL 23, 2010

LAS VEGAS – Senate candidate Sue Lowden has a problem: Chickens are really funny.

Lowden also has all the makings of someone who could topple Democratic Sen. Harry Reid. A casino executive, she can tout herself as a job creator during a recession. She’s got the looks and smooth delivery of a former beauty queen – Miss New Jersey 1973 – and Las Vegas TV anchorwoman.

But Lowden can’t go anywhere these days without someone squawking about chickens. After she seemingly advocated “bartering” for medical care this month, Jay Leno smelled a punch line.

“That’s a great idea,” Leno said. “But what if your doctor’s not Amish, OK?”

Instead of backing away from the comment, Lowden tried to defend it in a television interview, which aired Monday:

“You know, before we all started having health care, in the olden days our grandparents, they would bring a chicken to the doctor; they would say, ‘I’ll paint your house.’ I mean, that’s the old days of what people would do to get health care with your doctors. Doctors are very sympathetic people. I’m not backing down from that system.”

Though Lowden’s campaign has made a valid argument that medical bartering is not uncommon, no one has paid much attention. Democrats launched a website called “Chickens for Checkups.” They remixed her comments with techno music, a dancing chicken and a disco ball and slapped it on YouTube.

This week’s Twitter traffic revealed a multitude of possible riffs, including “It’s even worse when they pay in rubber chickens, because those always bounce.”


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