Feb. 13, 2016 SIGN IN | REGISTER

T&A on the Trail?

Democrats are tweaking Larry Diedrich, the GOP nominee for the House special election in South Dakota, for placing a campaign billboard in a politically awkward spot in downtown Sioux Falls.

The “Diedrich for Congress” sign features a giant photo of the candidate next to the big, block letters “T&A” — slang for two naughty words — which

just so happens to be the name of a local business on Minnesota Avenue.

Given the uproar over Janet Jackson’s recent wardrobe malfunction, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokeswoman Kori Bernards wondered whether this coincidence will play well for the conservative candidate.

“I am not sure what their polls are saying, but I think this message plays better on Broadway than in Sioux Falls on Minnesota Avenue,” cracked Bernards. “Having said that, this could be a new kind of microtargeting that we just haven’t picked up on yet.”

But it turns out that “T&A” is actually a well-established, upstanding auto repair shop in Sioux Falls.

“It stands for the owners — Tom and Anita,” Darrell Williamson, accessories manager for the shop, said in a telephone interview.

Williamson said employees used to get razzed about the name years ago. “When I first started here I thought it was strange,” he allowed. “But after a while, you move on. It stands for Tom and Anita. They’re good people and they probably didn’t make the connection.”

Bo Harmon, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee, said the DCCC was dissing a fine small business.

“Republicans and Larry Diedrich do understand small business, growing our economy and creating jobs such as those at the family business where this billboard is located,” he said.

Curb Your Political Enthusiasm. Now that Super Tuesday is over, the media can finally focus on whether Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) can beat President Bush.

But forget about their stances on national security, health care and the economy. The pundits may be missing the most pressing question dividing the parties heading into this year’s presidential and Congressional elections: Who’s funnier — the left or the right?

That burning question will be pondered by a star-studded panel of Democratic strategists (John Podesta) and Republican strategists (Mike Murphy) — as well as entertainers like Janeane Garofalo and media types like Time magazine’s Matt Cooper — at HBO’s annual Comedy Arts Festival this weekend in Aspen, Colo.

The overall comedy fest — which features the likes of Chris Rock, Larry David, Sarah Jessica Parker and Diane Keaton — will have all kinds of panels and screenings that run from today through Sunday.

Saturday afternoon’s panel examining the role of comedy and satire in politics, which is being sponsored in part by the liberal Center for American Progress, will have fair representation from both sides and will be moderated by NBC’s Campbell Brown.

There will be plenty of fireworks when liberal celebs such as Garofalo and “Doonesbury” creator Garry Trudeau, who has been raising questions in recent days about the president’s service in the National Guard, do battle with Bush media adviser Mark McKinnon and Murphy (whose experience as an adviser for California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has taught him a little something about the nexus between entertainment and politics).

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