Wednesday, September 2, 2015

House Rep. Photoshops pup into campaign portrait

Some Democrats are wondering how far one state Representative will go to win the pro-puppy" vote.

House Rep. Photoshops pup into campaign portrait


Some Democrats are wondering how far one state Representative will go to win the "pro-puppy" vote.

Rep. Rob Kauffman, a Republican, running for his fifth term in the 89th House District west of Harrisburg, sent out this mailer to voters with a family portrait showing Kauffman, his wife Nikki and their four children.

A few weeks later a new campaign mailer went out. This one featured the same photo with a new addition in the lower left corner: a puppy!

The presence of the photoshopped dog was made public by Keystone Politics, a website devoted to Liberal political news. The site called it "the worst campaign photoshopping of 2012" along with a rundown of infamous image alterings of presidential campaigns' past.

For his part, Kauffman said he added the family's six-month-old adopted Yorkshire Terrier mix, Cora, to the photo because she joined the family after the portrait was taken.

"This is patently silly," said Kauffman, who lives in Scotland. "Like most families with pets, we consider Cora part of the family and wanted to include her in our photo. The photo was taken a few weeks prior to our family adopting her from a rescue, so we added her later."

But some ask is Kauffman making a not-so-hidden overture to the dog lovers in his district? 

After all, pups have figured prominently in presidential campaigns. Consider the hullabaloo over President Obama's decision to bring to the White House a Portuguese Water Dog we now know as Bo from a breeder, rather than adopt a rescue dog.

Or Vice President Biden's purchase of a German Shepherd from Chester County breeder Linda Brown, who ran a kennel so filthy it eventually had its state license revoked. Biden later promised to adopt a shelter dog as a second pet, but last time we checked, he had not.

And how could any serious politics watchers miss "Dogs Against Romney," the group launched to make a statement about GOP candidate Mitt Romney's long ago dog Seamus, the Irish Setter, who spent 12-hours in a crate strapped to the roof of the family car on a vacation trip.

In 2008 Kauffman got a taste of what it meant to run headlong into a battery of animal lovers when he balked at supporting the proposed anti-puppy mill legislation. After a great hue-and-cry from constituents, Kauffman signed on to the landmark bill and he has been supportive of companion animal bills ever since.

Kauffman blamed the "outing" of Cora on his Democratic opponent, Susan Spika.

"It's sad that instead of talking about real issues affecting Pennsylvania, my opponent and her allies want to focus on trivialities like this to hide their liberal ideas," said Kauffman in an email.

Spika's website features a family portrait of the candidate, her husband and their two daughters walking through the woods.

But, wait, where's Chloe?

According to the campaign website,  Spika and her family are the proud owners of yes, a female Yorkshire Terrier named Chloe.

Photoshop anyone?



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Commonwealth Confidential gives you regularly updated coverage of the state legislature, the governor and the workings of the state bureaucracy. It is written by Angela Couloumbis in the Inquirer's Harrisburg bureau, based in the statehouse, and by the newspaper's far-flung campaign reporters.

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