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Jason Salzman embraces the Hug Mobile

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Those who attended Sarah Palin's campaign appearance in Loveland yesterday were among the first to see the latest attempt by the folks at ProgressNowAction to tie John McCain's candidacy to the legacy of George W. Bush: the Hug mobile. The display commemorates an awkward photo of McCain and Bush embracing and comes complete with a lovingly schmaltzy soundtrack. According to Effect Communications' Jason Salzman, who's promoting the Hug Mobile, the tuneage includes the Carpenters' "(They Long to Be) Close to You," Orleans' "Still the One," the Turtles' "Happy Together," Queen's "You're My Best Friend" and Barry Manilow's "Can't Smile Without You."

Salzman, of course, also writes a fortnightly media column for the Rocky Mountain News -- and when he sent the Hug Mobile press release to "Gunny" Bob Newman, a KOA talk-show host who uses his right wing every bit as much as Salzman uses his left, the yakker was appalled. The text of Salzman's blog item on their exchange, "Gunny Bob Discovers I'm Biased!," can be found below. -- Michael Roberts

Gunny Bob discovers I’m biased!

Last night I was helping to spread the word about the arrival in Denver of the Hug Mobile, a van pulling a life-sized representation of the now famous photo of Bush and McCain hugging.

I thought KOA’s Gunny Bob might enjoy it. He’s the extreme right winger on KOA, 85 AM, from 7 to 10 p.m.

I’ve never forwarded a news release to him before, but there’s something about the HUG that I thought he’d appreciate.

Gunny hasn’t always wanted to talk to me in the past, but he got right back to me this time.

First, here’s an excerpt of the news release I forwarded to Gunny.

McCain = Bush Hug Mobile Spotlights Denver Premiere of “W” Movie

A Mobile, Life-Sized Statue of Bush Embracing McCain

Vehicle Will Be Parked at 16th and Welton Oct. 17 at 12:30, Just Prior to the First Denver Showing of “W”

Hug Mobile to Go on State-Wide Tour

What: The “Bush = McCain” tour consists of a van pulling a flatbed trailer carrying a statue of McCain and Bush embracing. The hug statue replicates a real photo-widely seen this election season-of McCain and Bush, with arms wrapped around each other and with McCain’s head buried into the chest of the taller Bush. The Bush = McCain vehicle will travel across Colorado. Click here for more information.

And Gunny’s response to receiving the news release:

GUNNY: You have taken to spamming members of the media? Are you serious? Does your employer know about this?

JASON: I thought you might be interested.

GUNNY: How can the unbiased media critic for a major daily -- any paper, for that matter -- be working for a clearly biased political action group? We’ll be covering this on the show tonight. Care to comment?

I’ve been freelancing for the Rocky for years, and Gunny, who’s attacked me repeatedly in the past, hasn’t figured out that I’m biased! I’m a lefty media critic. He hasn’t noticed? I try to be fair, and I guess I’m doing my job pretty well.

But can Gunny read my frequent “disclosures” in my column, like “Disclosure: A client favors legalization of Marijuana” or “A client works for Democrats.”

On the other hand, if Gunny thinks I’m not biased, it might explain why he thinks the news media is so liberal. He appears to make no distinction between the commentary section of the newspaper and the news section. Maybe he reads the Saturday column by Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman in the Rocky and thinks it’s proof of liberal bias at the Rocky. I’ll ask him tonight, as you can see below.

JASON: Sure. I’m not unbiased. If you look at my tagline, you’ll see that I run a PR company. I’m constantly disclosing this in my column.I’m not a Rocky staffer. I’m a freelancer. Do you want me on your show to discuss.

GUNNY: Thank you, yes. I shall have Dom contact you for a call-in time. I am on 7-10 this evening.

JASON: Keep in mind that Dave Kopel, my counterpart, works for the unbiased Independence Institute.Maybe we can discuss whether a hug is an appropriate metaphor for the relationship between Bush and McCain?

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