Political Opportunists Exploiting Missing and Exploited Children?

In my personal opinion, those who exploit children are amongst the lowest forms of life crawling upon the planet. Perhaps the second lowest form of life are those who exploit missing and exploited children for political gain. I’d like to tell you about three people who have run for office before and how they handled such issues.

The first person is Mitt Romney. He’s now running a television advertisement bragging that he searched for one missing child. To begin, the implications of the advertisement may not even be accurate. Andrew Sullivan notes that it must be “time for Romney to cry on TV again.”

Mitt Romney is a man who would prefer to win by the use of his public relations team than to win on actual political issues. He’d prefer to own media outlets than to be challenged by them. He coifs his hair as he uses missing children to coif his political resume.

I find the matter more appalling than Sullivan seems to find it, though. Perhaps one reason is because I’ve had the opportunity to work with a man who actually suffered through the tragic loss of his daughter, one has done wonderful work in dealing with other lost children—and one who ran for Congress without once exploiting his loss or work to gain political capital.

This man is Libertarian Bob Smither, who ran for Texas CD-22 in 2006 in the hotly contested race for Tom DeLay’s old seat.

Smither’s daughter Laura was kidnapped near her Texas home on 1997 while she was jogging. According to Wiki, a “volunteer ground search, which consisted of more than 6,000 volunteers and covered over 800 square miles, was organized by her community. The search for Laura quickly spread across the nation. Her murdered body was discovered April 20 in a regional water detention pond 10 miles from her home.”

Following the tragic loss of their daughter, Bob Smither and his wife Gay founded the Laura Recovery Center, where they work to recover missing children and to prevent runaways and recover missing children. Smither has received national attention because of his tireless efforts on the behalf of missing and exploited children.

Local Texas CD-22 Representative Nick Lampson (D) is also involved with missing and exploited children. A lot of people know about Lampson’s involvement because he brags about it in the media. From Lampson’s website:

Perhaps what Nick Lampson is best known for in Congress are his efforts on children’s safety issues. He founded the first-ever Congressional Missing and Exploited Children’s Caucus, which worked to create the national Amber Alert program. In time, this caucus became the largest bi-partisan caucus on Capitol Hill, having almost equal numbers of Republicans and Democrats. Nick has been recognized by John Walsh, host of America’s Most Wanted, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children for his work. Nick continues to work on issues relating to Missing and Exploited Children. Protecting our children isn’t just good policy - it’s our moral responsibility.

When I was on the ground in TX CD-22, I remember hearing local tales of Lampson grandstanding while the search for Smither’s daughter was still ongoing. While each recollection was a bit different (and some second hand), a general weaving of these stories provides that Lampson used the search for Laura Smither as a personal media opportunity. After a while, Lampson’s activities were reportedly hampering search efforts so much that he was asked to leave the site. (One version I recall is that both Lampson and the television media were asked to leave the site. Another version indicated that Lampson was the only man on the scene without dusty/muddy boots.)

Like Romney, Lampson also appears guilty of using implications for political gain. He was accused of using an old endorsement from John Walsh and implying that it was a recent one. The evidence seems compelling, in this case.

While the local (and national) media would raise issues about the Laura Recovery Center or the disappearance of his daughter, Smither didn’t campaign on the issue, although he certainly would have benefited from the sympathy vote. Locals who were around (including some of my relatives) at the time remember still vividly remember the search efforts. He had an opportunity, especially at Laura Recovery Center events, to fundraise for his campaign or to distribute campaign literature. He adamantly refused such opportunities.

While Smither sits on his local Amber Alert board, Lampson exploits missing children for political power. While Smither (last time I heard) is still active organizing local searches, training people to find missing children, and networking with organizations to facilitate searches, Governor Romney and Congressman Lampson appear to be opportunists pandering for votes.

Tell me, which of these three men is the greatest hero?

11 Responses to “Political Opportunists Exploiting Missing and Exploited Children?”

  1. Jake Porter Says:

    I exchanged many e-mails with Bob during the 2006 election about promoting the campaign, etc and he never mentioned it. I do greatly respect that he never made a campaign issue of it.

  2. Eric Dondero Says:

    Fantastic ad!! Perhaps the best of the campaign season yet. I’m starting to like Mitt more and more, especially now since libetarian Bill Weld endorsed him.

    My only question is:


    If he had maybe he would have gotten more than 6%.

  3. K Tunstall Says:

    Well Eric,

    When I bacame Bob’s manager I did not understand this as well. However, as I came to know the man, I came to realize the ethical principles that drove him during the campaing. He would NEVER capitalize on his tragedy to promote himself to office. For this I can admire and respect him. It is unfortunate that you cannot or that you would even consider doing such a thing for political gain.

    If you are interested, Bob is now a registered Republican. There may be another race afoot. I can only say that the committee has formed and if you are interested you may contact me. [email protected]

    Yes….....I will cross party lines to help a friend. I refuse to put party before principle. Regardless of the cost.

  4. Eric Dondero Says:

    Wow! That’s quite a development.

    Is Bob considering jumping in the CD 22 race for the GOP nomination for Congress?

    Ron Paul is now hinting at a 3rd party run (Newsweek interview). If he switches he’ll have to give up his Congressional seat.

    That means Chris Peden will be a shoe in.

    Chris and Bob are very, very similar. And ironically, they’re practically neighbors in two different parts of Friendswood. (Wouldn’t that be wierd - two Congressman from the same town but just on different sides of town in different disticts.)

    It’d be great if we could elect both Bob Smithers and Chris Peden to Congress.

  5. Eric Dondero Says:

    What’s unfortunate Kevin, is that you and your buddy Stephen took the opportunity of a Mitt Romney ad to take a cheap shot at him, solely because he’s a Republican opponent of your guy Ron Paul.

    Is it at all possible for you and Stephen to ever say a nice word or two about other Republicans such as Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney or Fred Thompson, even at this Christmas season. Do you always have to cuss them, call them “Nazis” and badmouth them at every opportunity?

    And you wonder why so many real world Republicans hate Libertarians and really hate Ron Paul-bots?

  6. Stephen Gordon Says:

    Our differences on the Iraq War aside, how could I say something nice about Rudy “Gun Grabber” Giuliani, Mitt “Fascist Healthcare Plan” Romney or Fred McCain-Feingold-Thompson?

    Or are mandatory health insurance, deprivation of 2A rights, or campaign finance laws somehow libertarian in your book, too?

  7. Jay Matthews Says:

    Stephen, you can throw in “TTC Lover” as well. Rudy has Cintra as a client and is getting paid quite well by them . How this cretin is getting a pass on this so far in the campaign defies explanation. Perhaps it’s just a matter of time. America’s mayor? America’s traitor is more accurate.



  8. Austin Cassidy Says:

    Speaking as a Republican, when I look at the major Republican candidates… the only one I absolutely will not cast a ballot for is Mitt Romney.

    In fact, I’ve been asked to serve as a delegate for one of the other candidates… and if my candidate is successful and wins my district, but then somehow Romney wins the nomination, I will actually make the trip to the convention as a delegate anyway just to cast my one vote for ANYONE else.

    The man turns me off in a way no other politician has for a VERY long time.

  9. K Tunstall Says:

    Well Eric….if you look at my response, I didn’t say anything about Romney nor afford any epitaphs in his direction nor any other candidate. Please don’t try to put word in my mouth as you know I am better at the game of word smithing than you could ever hope to be.

    My retort was aimed at YOU and your desire for Bob to capitalize on his tragedy. Obviously you know little about the man even though you have met him on many occasions. The ends do not justify the means Eric. Honor and decency dictate such. You disappoint me in not knowing the difference.

    If you believe for one minute that using grief and tragedy is a legitimate tool as a means to gain political traction, you are less the man than I thought. Shame….shame on you.

    I will never sink to that level and I would never suggest that a candidate that I am advising do so either. There are certain things that we as decent human beings do not engage in. We let the scum bag opportunists stoop to such levels. Sully my honor? Never. Sully my friends honor? I would rather die.

    That said, if Bob commits to run, I intend on being by his side should he request. As I said…..regardless of the cost. I will not place party before principle. Dr. Paul will make his own decisions. Chris Pedan’s campaign is broke and in debt…..I see that hardly as responsible in a fiscal sense. I am actually surprised he is still in the race.

    Don’t make yourself a fool in this. Keep me and Bob out of your bullsh*t spin room.

  10. Trent Hill Says:

    Peden can’t even raise enough money for a decent campaign Dondero—-Paul will raise 1m+ like always.

  11. Eric Dondero Says:

    Peden is in debt? That’s the first I’ve heard of that. Seems like his race is going just fine.

    Do you have any proof of this? Or you just spewing typical hateful BS, like you pal Gordon just did towards Giuliani and Romney?

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