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Google Image search is blamed in campaign snafu

The website of GOP candidate Scott McInnis shows an image of the Rockies -- but the peaks are in Canada, not Colorado where he is running.

July 12, 2009|Andrew Malcolm and Nicholas Riccardi

The Democrats have Vice President Joe Biden for gaffe laughs. Now the Republicans in Colorado have a candidate wrestling with an all-too-familiar PR scandal in his scenic home state: not being able to recognize his own state's mountains.

It's the sort of gaffe possibly unique to a state with more than a dozen distinct mountain ranges. First it was former Rep. Bob Schaffer, whose initial ad in an unsuccessful U.S. Senate race last year touted his Colorado loyalty by noting that he proposed to his wife atop Pikes Peak.

The problem: The ad flashed an image of Alaska's Mt. McKinley.

Now it's former Rep. Scott McInnis who hopes to become the GOP's gubernatorial nominee next year. His Web page debuted with a striking image of snow-capped peaks. Problem is, the peaks look like none in Colorado.

The slip-up was unearthed by the political junkies at ColoradoPols.com (who, like many Coloradans, seem to be a bit mountain-mad as well).

They determined the image is actually of the Canadian Rockies.

The McInnis campaign swiftly replaced it with a photo of the Flatirons, iconic peaks that loom over the left-leaning town of Boulder. Blame Google Images, said spokesman Mike Hesse.

A young McInnis volunteer searched the Web for "Colorado Rockies" and got the Canadian image instead.

Staffers had been warned to make sure all images were 100% Colorado. "We're aware this had happened before, and we told them to be very careful of that," Hesse said. "It was a hiccup. Overall I'm delighted with the website, and we're moving forward."

Gore's British spin on his cause

Al Gore is now comparing the battle against global warming to the fight against Adolf Hitler in World War II.

In a speech to students at Oxford on Tuesday, the former vice president and Nobel Peace Prize laureate conceded that there was still work to do to convince political leaders that the threat of climate change is as urgent as the Nazi threat had been.

The Senate is beginning debate on a cap-and-trade bill to curb emissions, predicted to be an even tougher fight than in the House, where Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) had to twist arms and trade votes to win a narrow victory.

Gore seemed to acknowledge the difficulty of converting grass-roots passion into political will. "The level of awareness and concern among populations has not crossed the threshold where political leaders feel that they must change," he said at the Smith School World Forum on Enterprise and the Environment.

"The only way politicians will act is if awareness raises to a level to make them feel that it's a necessity."

Mindful of his British audience, Gore said the fight to cut carbon dioxide emissions would require a leader with the fortitude of Winston Churchill, who steered Britain through four years of hardship, bombings and economic deprivations to victory against the Nazis.

"Winston Churchill aroused this nation in heroic fashion to save civilization in World War II," he said. "We have everything we need except political will, but political will is a renewable resource."

--

andrew.malcolm@latimes.com

nicholas.riccardi@latimes.com

Top of the Ticket, The Times' blog on national politics ( www.latimes.com/ticket), is a blend of commentary, analysis and news. These are selections from the last week.

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