McInnis Inducted Into Bob Schaffer’s Mountain-Moving Hall of Shame

As you may have noticed, your hosts were a little busy yesterday morning doing all of the non-bloggy things we do, and didn’t have a chance to get some posts going until the early afternoon.

Fortunately, our observant readers are always on duty. Recounting some familiar-sounding fun from yesterday’s open thread related to gubernatorial candidate Scott McInnis’ new website, the Colorado Independent reports:

Hours after launching his campaign Web site to much fanfare, official Republican gubernatorial hopeful Scott McInnis yanked from the site a prominent graphic featuring a vista of Lake Louise, a resort nestled in the Canadian Rockies. The Canadian terrain appeared behind the question, “What do you want for the future of Colorado?”

Soon after bloggers uncovered the geographic blooper, lovely Lake Louise vanished from the McInnis site, replaced with background shots of the Boulder Flatirons.

A McInnis campaign spokesman didn’t return a phone call or e-mail seeking comment.

Intrepid contributors to the political blog Colorado Pols uncovered the McInnis campaign’s graphic mixup Thursday afternoon. After speculating the range might be the result of creative Photoshopping, and then discarding the possibility it portrayed a seldom-seen view of Mount of the Holy Cross or Maroon Bells, a blogger using the name johnpauljones found images of the mountain range McInnis used

McInnis’ misplaced mountain echoes a famous snafu from a little over a year ago when Republican Senate candidate Bob Schaffer had to pull his inaugural campaign commercial when bloggers discovered it featured Alaska’s Mount McKinley rather than Pike’s Peak. Schaffer campaign manager Dick Wadhams blamed the mistake on a Washington, D.C.-based media consulting firm.

McInnis made waves right before the election last fall when he told The Colorado Independent he would have done a better job than Schaffer did in the U.S. Senate contest against the eventual winner, Democrat Mark Udall. “I would have beat Udall, that wasn’t the issue,” McInnis said.

That’s what he says, but it looks to us like McInnis is following Bob Schaffer’s campaign kickoff playbook–from the self-destructive and ridiculous “shadow campaign” to this really bizarre inability to proof non-Colorado mountains out of one’s campaign materials before they become the joke of the week–with deja vu-inspiring precision.

40 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. johnpauljones says:

    The beginning.  Look out Ralphie, Club Twitty, …

    Bring your A game.

    I am kidding of course.  Yesterday was fun in a strange way.  6 hours of my life are gone, never to return.

    • Car 31 says:

      that was a great catch.

      • parsingreality says:

        ….is that CO does not have those Matterhorn eroded type of mountains.  I’m sorry I’m not more of a geologist, but most ordinary folk will probably understand what I’m saying.  

    • Middle of the Road says:

      I was so of halfheartedly following your efforts yesterday. Well done, sir. Well done. 🙂

    • Ralphie says:

      It’s not like catching him in bed with a dead girl or a live boy.

      But good catch anyway!

    • Aristotle says:

      I missed all the hullaballoo, but it sounds like it was worth it.

    • guesswho says:

      The mountains of Canada were up about one whole hour from what I understand.  

      Good news for McInnis…he is getting coverage to go to his website that he would not normally had gotten.  

      Maybe they, the campaign, ought buy an ad on this blog…wait a minute…no one else is….

      How does this blog get paid for?  

      • RedGreen says:

        Nah, the Canadian Rockies were on the site all day until about 4 p.m. Nice try, though.

        One thing that’s interesting — the McInnis wizards waited to pull the Lake Louise picture until johnpauljones had identified the mountains as foreign. During the hours Pols contributors were chasing it down — is it Maroon Bells? somewhere in the San Juans? Holy Cross? — the McInnis folk didn’t bother to check for themselves and take care of it without getting called on it.

      • Colorado Pols says:

        Since we pay more to eat at Denny’s than this Soapblox blog costs per month, it’s not hard to stay revenue-positive with the ads we periodically sell. We’re always amused by the persistent idea that this blog costs money, but the checks from George Soros some people insist we receive are running several years late.

        Which is not to say we wouldn’t cash them. Some of Jon Caldara’s Stevinson money while the wallets are out, we’re bipartisan that way in case the recent American Petroleum Institute ads didn’t convince you.

  2. TaxCheatGeithner says:

    Ritter has union members stand up and turn their backs to him during a speech on union holy ground.  

    McInnis stumbles, falls, trips and tries to get up all before leaving the gate.  

    Penry hasn’t announced his decision yet but based on the antics of the aforementioned Hogan and Hartson lobbyists it seems like the big line needs to be updated.  

    Nice work, JPJ.  Yesterday’s episode was a good illustration of just what McInnis would have done to “beat” Mark Udall.  

    • DavidThi808 says:

      Penry is the one that worries me too. I don’t think McInnis & Co has any idea how to campaign on the web (although they are clearly now trying). But I think Penry may make very effective use of the web.

      If we assume that paid TV efforts will be even and cancel each other out, this race is going to be decided on the web. Penry vs Ritter could go either way there.

      • gertie97 says:

        You shouldn’t assume paid TV will be even. Scooter has a wide fundraising base; Penry doesn’t. Scooter also holds a wide margin in people-to-people campaign skills.

        We’ll see about the web impact in a Republican primary. Those voters tend to be older and less connected to the web.

        What Scooter obviously needs on his web crew is somebody with basic political sense, not just tech savvy.

      • Jeff Bridges says:

        I’m not saying it won’t happen, but I think it’s way early to assume both candidates will have equally good (or more likely, equally bad) campaign spots with a similar number of points behind them.

        More importantly, I’ve yet to see a state-wide candidate here in Colorado really use the web to drive energy and votes. Obama had it down, but the amount of excitement around a presidential race dwarfs a governors race. In my experience most campaigns try to figure out the bare minimum they can commit to online messaging and organizing, and then spend just a tiny bit more – or less.

        Any ideas or campaign models Ritter, McInnis, or Penry could follow? ProgressNow seems to have a pretty good handle on it.

        And fantastic work, JPJ. You’re the man now dog.

    • redstateblues says:

      Y’all have such a weak bench that Mark Udall was unbeatable last year.

  3. and another thing says:

    I stole this comment from “jonragner,” the original commenter on the Colorado Independent site… but it was too good not to re-post:

    Remember what McInnis said when this happened to Shaffer? From the GJ Sentinel:

    Such mishaps tend to accumulate, said former 3rd Congressional District U.S. Rep. Scott McInnis, a Grand Junction Republican. “They can afford this one, but one or two more and that’s all you can absorb,” he said.

    So if you count McInnis’ voice mail snafu from a few weeks ago (where he had the same staff working on his campaign and “his” 527) and add this one to it. . .does he have one mistake left?

  4. Progressive Promoter says:

    Another example of where form can take a bite out of function and substance.  The Canadian scene suggests a disturbing dose of incompetence:

    1. Scooter and his team aren’t savvy enough to understand that Colorado has to be at the center of everything message-wise. This ain’t no interview for another DC job.

    2. They aren’t smart enough to learn from other campaigns’ train wrecks. You’d think the strong emotion of the schadenfreude he surely felt as a result of Schaffer’s Pikes Peak gaffe would be a motivator, but apparently not so much.

    Yikes, they’re off to quite an inauspicious start…

    • johnpauljones says:

      That is the story, or at least yesterday’s motivation.  

      Last October’s shot at the Schaffer campaign was sort of chickensh@t.  To come out of the box with the same blunder, yikes!!!

      This is a bad time to remind Republican faithful of past transgressions.

      And I agree press silence is a mistake.  Take your lumps while Colorado goes camping.

      • redstateblues says:

        You guys (I’m making the deductive leap that you’re a Republican, and a Penry supporter, from your comment at the top of this thread) didn’t forget about Scooter’s pre-election commentary for one second.

        It only happened 9 months ago, so it’s not really ancient history anyway. At any rate, It’s been my experience that Republicans have long memories and they especially don’t forget “disloyalty” to the party. It seems like you’re still pretty upset about it anyway.

        This couldn’t have come at a better time for Sen. Penry though, could it have? He’s about ready to announce officially, and just before his campaign kickoff event Scooter’s campaign shoots itself in the foot Schaffer style. It’s almost too good to be true.

        For a while people have been saying Bill Ritter is the luckiest pol in Colorado, but it may very well be Josh Penry.

      • Aristotle says:

        I think most people who’ve been in Colorado for a long time would have done what you and everyone else did, i.e., “What the hell is that mountain? One of the San Juans?” A lot of other people wouldn’t have even noticed. But everyone recognized Denali. Only if they’d used an image of Mount Fuji or Kilimanjaro (you know, a “foreign” mountain) could that have been more embarrassing.

      • WesternSlopeThought says:

        sayeth jpj.  Yet, that is exactly what Penry has been doing at his stump stops.  Penry loves to blame other R’s while refusing to admit his own failed record.  McInnis may not buff his lips before kissing Wadhams’ ass like Penry does, but he does leave hickeys as a reminder that he’s been there.  There is a big difference between Penry and McInnis.  McInnis believes his experiences with Tom DeLay and Bush White House gives him the right to run.  Penry seems to believe that his Princess and the Pea sensitivity to Wadhams’ wants gives him entitlement.  And I suspect being the E.B. Farnum errand boy might be enough to get Republican Party establishment backing, as long as he does what he is told to do.

        • RedGreen says:

          There’s no question Penry’s got it. That’s why McInnis is petitioning onto the ballot, bypassing the caucus route.

        • johnpauljones says:

          This was the worst mistake McInnis could make, not Penry.  McInnis ran his mouth about good he is and how dumb Schaffer was.  McInnis demanded perfection.  He set the bar high and failed.  

          Irony.  That’s why I follow politics and sports.  I love irony.

          • WesternSlopeThought says:

            As reported by the Durango Hearld:

            “Is anyone else here tired of the flimflam, mealy-mouthed Republican?” Penry said.  

            As reported by Colorado Confidential:

            Seems that Penry, upset with a reporter’s rendition of candidate profiles, made some “off the record” comments to the reporter that upset George Orbanek, publisher of the Daily Sentinel. In fact, it sounds like Penry’s tirades may have cost him any future support.From the Orbanek’s column last Sunday:

            “…Because Penry prefaced some of his more candid remarks in his telephone conversation with Saccone (the reporter who wrote the story) as “off the record,” I’m duty-bound not to report any of that here, even though doing so would be of highly instructive value to the few GOP voters still undecided how to mark their ballots Tuesday. I made clear to Penry, however, that his private remarks to Saccone served the purpose of casting Penry, at least to me, in a markedly different light than I previously perceived him. Enough said….”

  5. rocco says:


    I can’t believe it. First oilboy and now this from the lobby king. What’s with the red knowledge (or lack of it) of U.S. geography?

    I’m one of those that’s voting for Ritter in ’10 while holding my nose, but old Scotty made it a whole lot easier for me with this gaffe.

    Great catch JPJ.

  6. ClubTwitty says:

    I’m a little intimidated.    

  7. It's Me says:

    …sloppy work.  

  8. Pam Bennett says:

    Lake Louise is beautiful.

    But so are our own Rocky Mountains.

  9. ajb says:

    The website asks

    What do you want of the future of Colorado?

    And the answer appears to be either Canada or Boulder. Too funny.

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