Scott McInnis and Bob Schaffer don't know their Colorado mountains

When politicians make a gaffe, an army of online smart asses is ready, willing and able to make them feel stupid about it. Witness Republican gubernatorial hopeful Scott McInnis, whose website went live with a photo on its home page picturing an area near Canada's Lake Louise Ski Area rather than a home-state mountain. Surfers who frequent made the connection in last Thursday's open thread, spawning a subsequent ColoradoPols piece and a Colorado Independent article, both of which noted the similarity between the screw-up by McInnis' staff and a similar one involving 2008 senatorial candidate Bob Schaffer. (As you may recall, Schaffer ran a campaign ad in which Pike's Peak was played by Mount McKinley.) Cut to today, when ProgressNow Colorado sent out a release headlined, "Call to Help McInnis Learn Colorado Geography."

Don't feel bad, Mr. McInnis. You can bet that before long, right-leaning bloggers will return the favor to some Democratic politician. After all, the web eventually abuses everyone, no matter their party affiliation.

Read the ProgressNow e-mail after the jump:

ProgressNow Colorado press release:

Call to Help McInnis Learn Colorado Geography

ProgressNow Colorado Members Pool Funds to Purchase Scott McInnis Geography Textbook after hypocritical "Moving Mountain" website fiasco

DENVER: ProgressNow Colorado, the state's largest online progressive advocacy organization, vowed Monday to help gubernatorial candidate Scott McInnis learn the geography of the Centennial State he aspires to lead, after reports circulated over the holiday weekend that he needs some serious remedial help in this department.

"Scott 'McLobbyist' McInnis has clearly spent too much time lobbying for his corporate friends in D.C. and not enough time focused on the state he lives in," said ProgressNow Colorado founder Michael Huttner. "McInnis, like Bob Schaffer, thinks all mountains look the same."

Local political blogs discovered after the launch of McInnis' new website that a large photo on the front page, emblazoned with the headline "What do you want for the future of Colorado," was in fact a photo of Lake Louise in Alberta, Canada. The photo was subsequently replaced with an image of the Flatirons near Boulder, but not before the image of Canadian mountains was captured and widely distributed.[1]

McInnis' "moving mountains" mistake comes a year after he criticized former U.S. Senate candidate Bob Schaffer for his use of an out-of-state mountain in an ad declaring, "Colorado is my life!"

"What's unbelievable about this is McInnis actually had the nerve to criticize Bob Schaffer after his campaign switched Alaska's Mt. McKinley for Pikes Peak in a television ad," Huttner continued. "McInnis told Schaffer in the Grand Junction Sentinel last year that one can 'only absorb' one or two such mistakes. Does this mean McInnis has already used his free pass?"

In an effort to help McInnis avoid making this kind of embarrassing mistake in the future, ProgressNow Colorado launched a grassroots fundraising campaign to purchase McInnis a copy of Geography of Colorado, an excellent textbook by Joy Clapp and Paul C. Stevens.

"We don't want Scott 'McLobbyist' McInnis to be unable to distinguish Colorado from Canada," Huttner concluded. "Our members are happy to put politics aside and help McInnis learn the difference."

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts