Jim Messina, President Barack Obama’s campaign manager, is facing scrutiny for a 2002 political spot that is considered homophobic.
The ad was for Senator Max Baucus of Montana, who was facing a challenge from Republican Mike Taylor. As reported by Buzzfeed, the commercial used porno music and a montage of Taylor’s old men’s cosmetic line. The spot ended with an edited crotch grab.
‘Mike Taylor: Not the way we do business in Montana,’ a voiceover intones.
Some maintain that line referred to a loan scandal Taylor went through. Buzzfeed counters it brings up questions about the challenger’s sexual preference.
Team Obama turned to Joe Solmonese, the former head of the Human Rights Campaign, to offer a full throated defense of Messina and, by extension, Obama.
‘With the exception of the President himself, the LGBT community has had no greater champion or advocate within the administration than Jim Messina,’ Solmonese wrote in an email to Buzzfeed. ‘In the fight to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, I had the honor of working by Jim’s side throughout the entire process. No one that I know was more proud of that accomplishment or more visibly moved on the day of its passage than Jim. I’m proud to call him a friend.’