The heat continues to build on Democratic 10th District congressional candidate Dan Seals for his grossly overstated claim (dare we say "lie"), made since last October, that he is a "current" adjunct professor at Northwestern University. Seals has used this claimed credential as a centerpiece of his thin resume for many months, even though his single night class at NU's school of continuing studies isn't scheduled to begin until April 2008 (obviously well after the primary), and he's never taught there otherwise.
As Team America has reported, the mainstream media has taken notice. This Wednesday, the Daily Herald broke the story in the MSM, and Thursday the Pioneer Press offered its own take on the scandal.
Just yesterday evening, the Chicago Tribune "clout street" blog ran an item on professor-gate, and bloggers from Wilmette to as far away as Kentucky and New York are also taking notice. And, here at Team America, yesterday's post on the issue smashed our previous record for daily "hits" on the blog, clocking in at over 350, which is about twice the normal daily total (kudos to Capitol Fax Blog for the link yesterday!). Clearly, the voters are interested and paying attention.
For some weeks, we have been seeing in news reports on the Seals candidacy that he has softened his claim from "adjunct professor" to "lecturer", and now some new stories are even referring to him as a simple "instructor." At any rate, Northwestern University public relations representatives confirm that for someone teaching a night course, the proper title is "lecturer", not "adjunct professor."
The pressure appears to have compelled Seals to drop this claimed credential from his campaign literature (as well he should). Yesterday, many of us in the 10th District received yet another apparently District-wide mail drop, which piece centered on the Iraq war. As we've noted before, The Seal Pup can't seem to wean himself away from the war as a campaign issue, and while the war is obviously still an important concern (just ask our troops who are risking their lives overseas), as a campaign issue, the better the war appears to be going (and even the most jaded of Dems seem to acknowledge the amazing progress that has been made in the past several months), it continues to lose its punch as a rallying issue for Dem campaigns.
However, nowhere in the four pages of Seals propaganda does it mention Northwestern, or his claim to "currently" be a professor. While it's still (for some insane reason) on his website, it could be his webmaster is on vacation, or is not talking to the flaks who are doing the literature drops.
So, Seals may be growing some horse sense and trying to diminish the controversy by removing his claim in his current literature. But, simply dropping a claim without explanation does not remove the issue of his veracity and credibility.
We've all seen how trying to skirt an issue that might have been easily addessed early in an election cycle can harm even the most polished and impressive of candidates, such as Barack Obama, with regard to his ham-handed handling of the "Uncle" Tony Rezko scandal. Some pundits have blamed Obama's current perception problems with Rezko simply on not being forthcoming enough, when it mattered. Hillary has pounced on the issue, and for anyone not living under a rock, we all see how it has affected Obama's otherwise star-struck campaign.
Jay Footlik is no Hillary Clinton (even though he worked for Billary), and Dan Seals is no Barack Obama. But you can bet that Team Mark Kirk is not going to let Seals' claims fade into the sunset as the general election approaches, assuming that Seals can weather the professor-gate scandal in the primary, which remains to be seen.