Here's an example of spin gone wrong. Pat Powers runs an unsourced photo of three guys sitting outside. You can't make out any of the faces or the location, but Powers says that his unnamed source says that it shows Matt Varilek sitting at a Capitol Hill coffee shop.
Hmm... so Matt Varilek visits Washington, D.C., during his campaign, just as Kristi Noem bragged about doing for a few days at the end of July, 2010, during her U.S. House campaign. What did challenger Kristi do during that 2010 D.C. jaunt?
Since arriving in the nation's capital Sunday, South Dakota's Republican nominee for the House has been busy meeting with GOP leaders, filling out questionnaires for political action committees and raising money. She's visited with bloggers, done some media training and interviewed with political handicappers who can influence where national donors, consultants and political parties put their money and attention [Ledyard King, "Kristi Noem Lays Groundwork for Win with Visit to D.C.," that Sioux Falls paper, July 29, 2012, as posted same day on Kristi Noem's Facebook page].
So does Matt Varilek's visit to Washington mean anything different? Not really. He's doing what contenders do: making connections, tapping donors... and possibly signalling that the national Democratic Party recognizes that his chances of beating Noem are getting better every day.
Among things Matt Varilek is not doing in Washington is getting the Farm Bill through Congress. But that's funny: neither is Congresswoman Noem.
Varilek won't be hanging around Washington for long. He's got to get out here to the Hills to speak to the South Dakota Stockgrowers Convention Saturday at noon. Rep. Noem any House business or events on her calendar, but our Congresswoman won't be joining her challenger to discuss the Farm Bill in front of the Stockgrowers.
So where Matt Varilek was this week may be really good news for his campaign. And where Rep. Kristi Noem isn't sends a very clear message about the bad news for her campaign.
Update 06:18 MDT: Rep. Noem obviously hasn't been leveraging her leadership position and charm to win signatures for Rep. Bruce Braley's discharge petition to force the Farm Bill to a vote. As of this morning, that petition has 64 signatures, only a small minority of which come from Republicans. The petition needs 218 to trigger a vote.
But the Wall Street Journal doesn't mind: it says Rep. Noem is simply "buckling under election pressure" to "resurrect a spending boondoggle."