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GOProud’s Jimmy LaSalvia and Christopher R. Barron
The leaders of GOProud, an organization that claims to “represent gay conservatives and their allies,” has continued its public criticism of Gov. Rick Perry’s campaign pollster and strategist Tony Fabrizio, demanding the man they “outed” yesterday resign from the Perry campaign.
GOProud’s wrath follows a Perry campaign advertisement in which the presidential hopeful asserted, “There’s something wrong in this country when ‘gays’ can serve openly in the military but our kids can’t openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school.”
The group’s board chairman, Christopher Barron, responded to the advertisement in disgust, with a tweet yesterday asserting, “Rick Perry’s pollster & strategist is a gay guy. Totally disgusting.”
GOProud Executive Director Jimmy LaSalvia further added, “I’ve just about had it with fa–ots who line their pockets with checks from anti-gay homophobes while throwing the rest of us under the bus.”
In a statement released today, GOProud backtracked somewhat on proclaiming Fabrizio’s sexual orientation, but asserted Fabrizio “is not the victim here.”
“Tony Fabrizio has lined his pockets for years with money from gay groups and is now one of the chief architects of a campaign strategy – not just an isolated television ad – intended to demonize gay people in order to score political points,” declares the joint statement from both GOProud leaders. “If Fabrizio really does oppose the ad and the broader strategy, then the honorable and decent thing to do would be to resign from the campaign. Tony Fabrizio is no junior staffer; he is one of the top campaign pollsters and strategists in the country.”
ABC News reports that Nelson Warfield, who created the ad, claims Fabrizio actually objected to it, calling the ad “nuts.”
“Tony was against it from the get-go,” Warfield told the Huffington Post. “It was the source of some extended conversation in the campaign. To be very clear, that spot was mine from writing the poll question to test[ing] it to drafting the script to overseeing production.”
The controversial ad itself can be seen below:
Ray Sullivan, communications director for the Perry campaign, admitted there was a disagreement within the camp about the advertisement, but also told ABC News: “We ran the ad because it accurately reflects Gov. Perry’s faith and opposition to the Obama administration’s attacks on faith-based organizations. The Obama administration attacks include penalizing religious health-care providers, attacking the right of churches and religious organizations to make certain hiring decisions and refusing to defend the Defense of Marriage Act in federal court. It is a good, strong ad that accurately reflects the governor’s faith and policy positions. We believe it is a message that will resonate with a majority of Republican voters, especially Iowans.”
GOProud, however, blasted the advertisement, claiming it “appeals to the worst in people.”
“Rick Perry should be embarrassed,” GOProud asserted, “and the people around him who are the architects of this strategy, particularly people like Tony Fabrizio, should be ashamed.”
As for “outing” Fabrizio, the Miami Herald reports, the pollster is a divorced dad and said he doesn’t discuss his private life, but the strategist was hired by the Florida Red and Blue committee that unsuccessfully tried to block a 2008 Florida constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.
“From the time this organization was founded we have been clear in our opposition to outing,” GOProud said in its statement. “We would never intentionally out anyone. However, in the case of Tony Fabrizio, top pollster and chief strategist for the presidential campaign of Texas Governor Rick Perry, we did not believe there was any question about his sexual orientation – nor did the reporters who called us to ask about his involvement in Perry’s anti-gay campaign strategy. Questions about an individual’s sexual orientation should obviously be answered by that individual.”
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