David Chesley, the New Hampshire political director for Republican Senator and presidential candidate Rand Paul, found himself the subject of a viral video after licking the camera of a tracker from the group American Bridge, which describes itself as “a progressive research and communications organization committed to holding republicans accountable for their words and actions.”
Trackers are political operatives who follow candidates around with cameras, hoping to catch them making gaffes. It’s not unusual for trackers to have their cameras blocked, but it is unusual for them to be exposed to bodily fluids.
The licking incident occurred yesterday at a town hall meeting in Londonderry, New Hampshire, where Paul spoke as part of his recently announced presidential campaign.
According to Politico:
“Well, he’d been standing there, trying to block the camera. That’s not uncommon, though,” explained American Bridge spokesperson Ben Ray. “Licking the camera … well, that’s new to us.”
When asked for an explanation of the camera-licking incident, Rand Paul spokesman Sergio Gor responded: “Senator Rand Paul visited New Hampshire today to accept the endorsement of twenty New Hampshire State Representatives who support his run for the White House, and to visit with and take questions from the voters of NH.”
“It was a great day of events,” Gor added, declining to mention Chesley’s apparent appetite for being on camera.
Unfortunately for Rand Paul, the licking incident seems to have partially overshadowed his presence at the meeting, where he criticized the Patriot Act. According to The Boston Globe:
Paul doubled-down… on his opposition to Patriot Act, a collection of laws billed as a means for the government to combat terrorism — key parts of which expire at the end of this month.
The Kentuckian vowed again to oppose the law that the federal government argues allows the National Security Agency to collect phone records from every American (a court recently ruled otherwise, asking Congress to take action). In response to a question, Paul said that he would remain open minded to voting for something that allowed federal agencies to apply for a warrant on specific individuals, but not give it blanket power to collect phone data.
If Rand Paul hopes to get his message across, he may want to ask his campaign staff to find more sanitary ways of dealing with the opposition.