Scandal-Plagued Cal Cunningham Finally Appears in Public, Immediately Sticks His Foot in His Mouth

AP Photo/Gerry Broome

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Sen. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has got to be going out of his mind these days, watching as Cal Cunningham’s Senate campaign continues to implode.

Cunningham appeared in public earlier today (not an official appearance) and made a complete fool of himself as the cameras rolled. But before we get to that, let’s recap how bad his month has been so far:

Thursday: News first broke of a “sexting” relationship involving Cunningham, an Army veteran who is married and has two teenage children, and California consultant Arlene Guzman Todd — who is also married… to an Army veteran.

Friday night: Cunningham issued a statement apologizing for his behavior and vowed to stay in the race. At that time the belief was that the sexting was just sexting, and nothing beyond that.

Monday: Cunningham backed out of a scheduled Monday town hall at the last minute after he was hit with another allegation about a different woman, this time from a former member of his state Senate steering committee who claimed in a Facebook comment that a friend of hers had been having an affair with Cunningham since 2012.

Tuesday: Though that alleged affair has not been confirmed nor denied, the Associated Press confirmed through Guzman Todd herself that she and Cunningham took their relationship way beyond sexting by conducting their affair out of his home as late as July of this year.

Wednesday (today): Raleigh-based WRAL reports that the Army Reserve opened an investigation into Cunningham after the affair was confirmed. The report also noted that “Adultery is listed as ‘unacceptable conduct’ by the military and may be ‘service discrediting.'”

So with all that in mind, let’s take a look at how Cunningham stuck his foot in his mouth earlier today when a local reporter happened to catch him out in public. The reporter repeatedly asked him to explain the relationship, but Cunningham refused, claiming this campaign was “not about my personal life.”

The full interview is here, but the below clip encapsulates the gist of it:

“Not about my personal life”? This is utter horsecrap, and here’s why:

As I noted last night, Cunningham has run this Andy Griffith “family guy, character matters, man of my word” campaign you typically see from politicians in the South right from the start. He frequently mentions his time served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Some of his campaign ads even end with him saying “in North Carolina, the truth still matters.”

But in the blink of an eye, middle of the road voters who could go either way have found out in recent days that the “family man” who told them they could trust him, well, can’t.

Newsflash for Cal: When your entire campaign is based on portraying yourself as a man of honor, integrity, and faithfulness, you don’t get to dial all that back when you’ve been caught in conduct unbecoming. It’s just as simple as that.