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Rep. Thaddeus McCotter joins the GOP race on July 4th weekend -- patriotic, yes, media-savvy, maybe not

July 2, 2011 |  9:20 pm


Michigan Rep. Thaddeus McCotter announced his candidacy for the GOP presidential nomination today.

Who knew?

It may have been carried on local media, but CSPAN was running coverage of the progressive Netroots Nation conference, which took place in mid-June; CSPAN2 was in the middle of a tribute to historian Manning Marable; Fox News Channel had "Huckabee"; CNN had "Nepal's Stolen Children," with Demi Moore; and MSNBC had its prison documentary series "Lockup."

However, you can now scroll down for a video of McCotter's understated announcement.

Perhaps announcing a presidential candidacy at a music festival in a park in Whitmore Lake, Mich., on a holiday weekend was not the best timing to garner national media coverage for the 45-year-old father of three..

The event was neither live-streamed on McCotter's Facebook page nor his official campaign website, and fans were casting about unsuccessfully Saturday evening on Twitter for.... 

...any existing video. Good thing we came along. At his Twitter address, @ThadMcCotter, the candidate did Tweet the announcement at 6 p.m. PT, an hour after it was supposed to take place (he may have been playing his guitar for the crowd in the interim).

The Tweet read: "Under stormy skies at #WAAM Freedom Fest, I announced 4 GOP nomination 4  Thaddeus-McCotter-Guitar President & wasn't struck by lightning."

When you go to the website, there is an introductory video, but as of today, it had no sound. And it had no sound on YouTube, either.

It's an inauspicious start for the campaign of a Midwestern Republican whose highest name recognition may be only among his constituents and the 360,000 or so weeknight viewers of Fox News' 3 a.m. ET pop-culture/political roundtable "RedEye With Greg Gutfeld."

There, the droll McCotter is a regular guest.

Host Gutfeld, a former Huffington Post blogger who was just named as part of the rotating group of commentators on "The Five," FNC's summer replacement for "The Glenn Beck Show," called for McCotter to run for the highest office in the land on his show back in April.

In his "Greg-alogue," Gutfeld said that the race usually attracts egotists and not people who are "smart, creative, tough and moral."

Gutfeld explained his rationale for wanting McCotter by saying, "In my mind, he's one of the few pols who seem less interested in impressing celebrities or making cheap points of sentimentality than preserving the freedoms unique to our delightful island nation."

A graduate of the University of Detroit Law School, McCotter is known in Congress for his trenchant wit, his bipartisan country and rock band, called The Second Amendments, his politically and socially conservative views and his tendency to quote rock lyrics on the floor of the House.

He is also the author of a book called "Seize Freedom! American Truths and Renewal in a Chaotic Age."

But, as a representative from the 11th District just northwest of the heavily unionized Detroit area, he did vote in favor of the Employee Free Choice Act, aka "card check," something he later....

....called a mistake. He also voted in favor of the auto bailouts, and is sticking with that one, even attacking purported GOP front-running candidate Mitt Romney for not favoring government intervention on behalf of GM and Chrysler.

While Romney finds himself frequently having to explain his support of universal healthcare as the governor of Massachusetts, some free-market-minded GOP voters may demand a further explanation from McCotter on his auto-bailout stance.

But while McCotter wasn't in favor of GM restructuring through bankruptcy, he did express a desire to "restructure the government" in his campaign announcement, as reported in a CNN print story.

McCotter is also a devout Roman Catholic. He sat down on June 2 for a wide-ranging interview with host Raymond Arroyo of the news show "World Over Live," on Catholic satellite network EWTN.

While discussing the debt-ceiling vote, excessive government spending, budget reforms, his political views and the impact of technology on self-government, McCotter also referenced a variety of philosophers, from Edmund Burke to St. Thomas Aquinas.

Arroyo's last question was about McCotter's presidential ambitions.

McCotter replied, in part, "I believe we can't have another four years of this administration. I believe that would not be healthy for the country. I believe the ultimate salvation of the American people is the grace of God and sovereign citizens."

He declared there would be "implosion of big government" on the citizens that would "marginalize an exceptional nation for decades to come, and I cannot allow that to happen."

But first, McCotter has to get his campaign off the ground and on the media's radar. Unlike the most recently announced GOP candidate, Wisconsin Rep. Michele Bachmann, who appeared on five network and cable morning shows the day after her announcement, McCotter is not booked on any of the Sunday morning talk shows.

He has, however, acquired space at the Ames Straw Poll in Iowa next month, which will be a very important story on that weekend.


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'Red Eye W/Greg Gutfeld hits 1,000 episodes (and way more Twitter fans)

-- Kate O'Hare

Media critic Kate O’Hare is a regular Ticket contributor. She also blogs about TV at Hot Cuppa TV and is a frequent contributor at entertainment-news site Zap2it. Also follow O'Hare on Twitter @KateOH

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Photos:  McCotter addressing Michigan Republicans and playing guitar  

Andrew Malcolm is on vacation