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Eye On Boise

AP: Labrador backers have been airing Minnick gaffe on Web for weeks

The Associated Press, in its full story today on GOP congressional hopeful Raul Labrador pulling a campaign ad that featured an out-of-context snippet of Walt Minnick from a 2008 Idaho Public Television debate - but not the comment two minutes later in which Minnick corrected himself - notes, "For weeks now, Minnick's 2008 gaffe has been taken out of context on pro-Labrador websites. But Labrador's new ad was the first time the campaign has officially pushed the mistake." Click below to read the full report from AP reporters Jessie Bonner and John Miller.

Labrador ad takes Minnick remark out-of-context
By JESSIE L. BONNER and JOHN MILLER, Associated Press Writers

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Republican Raul Labrador's campaign has pulled a new ad that took a remark made by U.S. Rep. Walt Minnick out of context to suggest the Democrat favors a middle-class tax increase.

Minnick misspoke during a 2008 debate on Idaho Public Television with then U.S. Rep. Bill Sali, but then corrected himself two minutes later and said: "We need to have a middle class tax cut, not another tax cut for the rich."

After the debate, former state Senate Majority Leader Rod Beck pointed out that Minnick had made an error when he first said: "We need a middle-class tax increase."

Here's what Beck said at the time during a post-debate analysis that aired statewide: Minnick "talked about, 'Oh I want to give a middle class tax cut. Now of course, he kind of, sort of caught himself, because he originally said 'middle-class tax increase.' His wife was down in the audience, going 'Whoa, whoa, you mean tax cut.' "

Labrador's campaign launched a new TV ad Thursday that included a short video clip of Minnick's misstep but made no reference to his correction. Labrador's campaign did not immediately concede the ad was in error, but spokesman Phil Hardy later said they would revise the TV spot because it may have infringed copyright laws.

"We have been notified by Idaho Public Television that part of the material in our intended new advertisement is in fact copyrighted material, which we were not aware of," Hardy said in a statement. "As this is the case, our ad will be revised immediately and any material taken from Idaho Public Television will not be used."

For the past three decades, the Idaho Public Television debates have attempted to provide a platform for candidates to "speak to the issues of the day," said station manager Peter Morrill.

"We have never intended for these debates to be excerpted for campaign videos or political purposes," Morrill said.

Beck told The Associated Press on Thursday he hadn't yet seen Labrador's new commercial, but said whatever he said on the post-debate analysis show in 2008 in reference to Minnick's mistake was accurate.

Beck is a strong Labrador supporter, but says it's inappropriate — even during the heat of a tough campaign fight — to take a rival's words out of context.

"I personally would not misrepresent a candidate's views," Beck told The AP. "But I don't think Walt has anything to complain about, the way he's run his campaign, trying to make Raul look like an illegal immigrant, or misstating his position on immigration."

Minnick, who represents Idaho's 1st Congressional District, has launched negative ads targeting Labrador's work as an immigration attorney. One ad claims more than half of his work is "helping illegal immigrants stay in the United States."

For weeks now, Minnick's 2008 gaffe has been taken out of context on pro-Labrador websites. But Labrador's new ad was the first time the campaign has officially pushed the mistake.

When contacted Thursday, Labrador spokesman Phil Hardy said the campaign was reviewing the full video from the 2008 debate. The Idaho Republican Party said in a statement Thursday it supported Labrador's new ad.

A call to Idaho GOP Executive Director Jonathan Parker was not immediately returned.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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