ST. PAUL - Minnesota Republican leaders plan to launch an advertising campaign against U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson.
Deputy Republican Chairman Michael Brodkorb said the ad campaign is partially a result of the western Minnesota Democrat saying that a quarter of his constituents think the Bush administration had ties to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
"Twenty-five percent of my people believe the Pentagon and (then-Defense Secretary Donald) Rumsfeld were responsible for taking the twin towers down," Peterson told Politico, a Washington-based news organization. "That's why I don't do town meetings."
Brodkorb will unveil the ad campaign at 11 a.m. Wednesday in the party's St. Paul headquarters.
The advertising "will be a combination of two things," Brodkorb said. One is Peterson's "out of touch voting record" and the other is his Politico comment that shows he "is an out of touch congressman," the deputy chairman said.
Peterson's comment was buried deep in a Politico story about people who take over some congressmen's public meetings to discuss their theory that President Barack Obama was not born in the United States, thus making him ineligible to be president (his birth certificate says he was born in Hawaii as do newspaper birth announcements from the time). Other conspiracy theorists, such as those linking the Bush White House to terrorists, also dominate meetings, the story said.
Minnesota GOP Chairman Tony Sutton called Peterson's comments bizarre and demanded an immediate apology.
"If anyone was offended by my off-handed comment I sincerely apologize," Peterson said in a statement.
Peterson said that too often he sees extremists, both politically left and right, take over open forums. So, he added, he holds forums on specific topics to make it more difficult for people to discuss at length topics of little interest to most Minnesotans.