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Civil Discourse, New York Style

Jay Townsend is exercising his First Amendment rights all over New York 19 House of Representatives Civil Discussion Center’s Facebook page.

Townsend is a political consultant and current spokesman for New York Republican Rep. Nan Hayworth. The Facebook page is maintained by a local Democratic group.

It all began with the group’s May 25 status update: “National gas prices are now below where they were a year ago while oil is down 8% on the year. Gas looks to be fizzling as a campaign topic. WSJ … Clearly all due to President Obama’s quick action…. Why isn’t Nan praising him? Hmmm….”

“Rather like Obama claiming credit for killing bin Laden. Oil prices down and bin Laden is dead in spite of Obama,” Townsend posted the next day.

He then mocked another Facebook commenter:

“Listen to Tom. What a little bee he has in his bonnet. Buzz Buzz. My question today…when is Tommy boy going to weigh in on all the Lilly Ledbetter hypocrites who claim to be fighting the War on Women?”

“Let’s hurl some acid at those female democratic Senators who won’t abide the mandates they want to impose on the private sector.”

Townsend then linked to a Free Beacon article alleging a gender-pay gap in Senate Democratic offices.

On May 27, the group’s moderators called out the campaign spokesman:

“‎Jay Townsend – as an official and paid employee of the Hayworth Re-Election Campaign, please refrain from calling our members names. If you keep that up, I will have to remove you from the page.”

“Also, I can’t believe Congresswoman Hayworth would want you posting such un-referenced nonsense to this page,” the moderator continued. “Does she know you are doing this or have you gone rogue?”

Townsend’s response:

“The only one calling anybody names was Tom Conroy, and the others on this page who can’t resist the temptation to hurl insults at Nan Hayworth,” he wrote. “Your ‘civil discussion center’ isn’t very civil and it only took a couple postings for me to make that point. In the interest of this sacred holiday [Memorial Day] I am celebrating the sacrifice made so that we might have the freedom to express our views.”

Townsend then posted this video:

Democratic candidate Richard Becker’s spokesman, Barry Caro, was outraged at Townsend’s comments.

“I’d be fired — immediately and with cause — if I said stuff like this,” he said in a statement. “Which begs the question: Why is Jay Townsend still Nan Hayworth’s spokesman?

“Does she agree that ‘bin Laden is dead in spite of Obama?’ Does she agree that we should ‘hurl some acid’ at politicians her campaign disagrees with?

“These comments are simply unprofessional and should never cross the lips of a Congressional spokesman.”

Calls to Hayworth’s campaign haven’t been returned. Hayworth’s Congressional office would not comment for this story.


CORRECTION: The original post incorrectly identified Townsend as a cable access personality.

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