9:53 AM | Posted in ,
Larry Schumacher from the St. Cloud Times contacted me a couple days ago indicating that he was going to do a story on the Severson video.

Here is the story:

Severson defends link to spoof video on campaign site

By Lawrence Schumacher • lschumacher@stcloudtimes.com • June 20, 2008

A link on Rep. Dan Severson's campaign Web site directs visitors to a video of a fake car commercial in which a terrorist tries to blow up a cafe, but is foiled by the car's solid construction.

Listed on the "Family & Fun" page of the Sauk Rapids Republican's www.danseverson.com site since his 2006 race, the link says "Click here to view a funny movie clip." It recently drew the attention of liberal St. Cloud blogger Eric Austin.

"I was looking through his site for information about his beliefs and issue positions," said Austin, who posted an entry about his discovery earlier this week on his blog, Liberal in the Land of Conservative.

The video shows a Middle Eastern-appearing man wearing a bomb vest blowing himself up inside his car. Austin said he finds it offensive because it "makes light of a mode of death that has killed a number of our soldiers" and because of its "racially insensitive undercurrents."

Severson, for his part, called the video a "spoof" that "makes fun of extremists." He said he not only stands by it, but plans to add more links, pictures and videos to his campaign site that "say something about who Dan Severson is."

"It's an antiterrorism message, and I find it strange that some people would get upset by that," the former Navy aviator said. "It's a clear statement that terrorism has horrific implications, and I stand opposed to terrorism."

In the video, the car unbelievably contains the explosion without even damaging its windows. The message at the end says that the vehicle is "Small but tough."

Severson's opponent, Rice DFLer Rob Jacobs, said he's not overly concerned by the clip, but doesn't think it's funny and wouldn't have put it on his campaign site, http://jacobsforhouse.homestead.com.

"I think they should present who you are, what you believe in and what you want to do for your district," Jacobs said of campaign Web sites.

"And I don't think at this level, we have much impact on what's going on in Iraq or the Middle East, so I don't see the point."

Austin acknowledges Severson's right to claim the video as a spoof and satire, but alluded to criticism of Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Al Franken on similar grounds.

"(I)n a campaign season where the Republican Party is getting bent out of shape about every spoof and satirical comment of particular candidates, it seems somewhat hypocritical for Severson to use the exact same defense and believe that others aren't going to call him on it," he said.

Severson said he hasn't updated his Web site for the 2008 election, but plans to add more links and content soon.

"I've got some other things I want to put on, some fun videos to paint a picture of my campaign," he said.

Anybody want to suggest some more racially insensitive or in poor taste videos that Severson can add to his "Family & Fun" page to tell us what he believes?