As we’ve long known, politics makes for strange bedfellows. But out in Minnesota’s 8th Congressional District, it very nearly made for a particularly strange pairing this week. Congressman Rick Nolan (D – MN8) is running for another term in this D+3 district, and of course that means holding some fundraisers. There’s nothing unusual about that, but unfortunately for Nolan, he scheduled one this month featuring Peter Yarrow.
Yarrow is perhaps best known for his musical work with the group Peter, Paul and Mary back in the heady hippy days of the 60s and for singing Puff the Magic Dragon. Only slightly less well known is Yarrow’s conviction in 1970 for taking “improper liberties” with a 14 year old child in his hotel room after a concert. (Yarrow served a whopping three months in jail on the charge, and was issued a presidential pardon by Jimmy Carter in 1981.)
After first being called out on this inappropriate situation by Republicans, Nolan refused to back down and planned on going ahead with the fundraiser anyway. But this led to the NRCC releasing the following video in his district.
Transcript of the ad:
Meet Peter Yarrow. He was arrested and thrown in jail for child molestation after he admitted to taking “immoral and improper” actions with an underage girl.
But now our Congressman Rick Nolan is raising money with Yarrow. Inviting him into our community. He’s even invited him to his official congressional office. An office paid for by Minnesota taxpayers.
The Duluth News Tribune says “there’s no way Nolan should have picked Yarrow for the event” and that he “shouldn’t have been booked in the first place.”
Yet, Rick Nolan refused to cancel the event, or even answer questions about it.
Rick Nolan. Putting sex offenders ahead of Minnesota families.
Wow. That’s pretty rough even by the standards of no hold barred politics, but Nolan really brought it on himself. In any event, it seems to have finally sunk in to the Congressman that this might not be exactly the type of image he wants to project to Minnesota voters and on Friday he wound up realizing that he had, er… a scheduling conflict.
U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan canceled his appearance Friday at a fundraising reception that originally had been paired with a concert by entertainer and convicted sex offender Peter Yarrow…
Kendal Killian, Nolan’s campaign manager, who was in Duluth on Friday evening, said the fundraiser had been canceled “because of a scheduling conflict.”
“It had been scheduled at one time,” Killian said. “We want to move past this and talk about issues that matter.”
Killian denied that Nolan canceled the event as a result of its pairing with the Yarrow concert.
“There was no association between Rick Nolan and Mr. Yarrow,” Killian said. “Our schedule changes all the time.”
Candidates’ schedules do change all the time, but this one is particularly curious since Nolan himself had told the same newspaper a rather different story less than five hours earlier.
“I’m into forgiveness and redemption, not still trying to condemn the man,” the congressman said. “What he did was wrong and terrible, but he’s spent a lot of time redeeming himself.
“He’s done a lot of good for a lot of people.”
A forgiving nature is certainly an admirable character trait, but apparently your forgiveness for child molesters begins to run dry once the press takes notice. But not until then. I don’t know if this puts MN-8 in play this fall, but it should certainly be an informative moment for Minnesota voters.