Republican National Committee chairman Marc Racicot on Monday condemned a TV ad that, according to some critics, insinuates that Mike Taylor, the Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate from Montana, is gay. The ad, which was paid for by the Democratic Party, accuses Taylor of mishandling student loan money while running a beauty school in the 1980s. But what caused the uproar is a film clip from an old TV segment showing Taylor applying lotions to the face of a man sitting in a barber chair while discussing skin-care techniques. In the ad, Taylor is wearing a tight-fitting three-piece suit, a big-collared open shirt with several buttons undone, and gold chains. Taylor pulled out of the race October 10, saying that the ad had killed his chances of unseating Democratic U.S. senator Max Baucus, who is running for his fifth term.
Racicot, who was formerly governor of Montana, said the commercial was probably intended to convey that Taylor is gay and that the ad played on the homophobia of some voters. "What is particularly insidious is that the Democratic Party has tried to present itself as a champion of fair and equal treatment of everyone, including those who are victims of judgment based on sexual orientation," Racicot said.
Baucus defended the ad during campaign stops on Saturday, calling it "totally factual."