Tucker Carlson's website The Daily Caller is taking a shot at the October Surprise game, accusing New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez of soliciting prostitutes while on a trip to the Dominican Republic. According to videotaped interviews with two anonymous women published on the website last night, Menendez agreed to pay the women $500 for sex during a visit to the country earlier this year. They identified the Senator from a picture, but said they were only given $100 after being brought to see him at a fancy resort on the island. A spokesperson for Menendez, who is up for re-election on Tuesday, calls the story "completely false."
The whole drama started last night with this mysterious tweet from Matt Drudge about a campaign sex scandal.
So what's been missing... SEX!Looks like at least one campaign about to be hit with an expose on DIRT THURSDAY. [Bush DUI 12 yrs ago]— MATT DRUDGE (@DRUDGE) November 1, 2012
Soon after that conservative journalist Robert McCain gave away the game on his blog, reporting that he had been tipped off about the story and that it involved Menendez, prostitutes, and the Dominican Republic. Then, well after midnight, The Daily Caller finally delivered its scoop, which was met with some indifference and jokes from other journalists. At the moment, it doesn't appear to have been picked up by many other media outlets.
The indifference is partly explained by the the Caller's previous record of less than helpful "scoops" like the "all-new" video of a militant Barack Obama speech that had been on YouTube for five years. Or their takedown of liberal media watchdog Media Matters, that was mostly ignored by its subjects. Other stunts, like yelling at the president while he's trying to talk and gun giveaways for readers haven't earned them a lot of goodwill in the wider media world either.
There are also a few other factors working against them in this story, like the fact that Menendez is not married (so there's no infidelity angle), prostitution is technically legal in the Dominican Republic, and the solid Democratic state that he serves is a little distracted by other matters right now. However, Menendez was one of the Senators who called on Secret Service agents that reportedly hired prostitutes in Colombia to be fired.
The Daily Caller also offered no other evidence to corroborate the story, other then the interviews, and couldn't even definitively prove that Menendez was in the Dominican Republic at the time in question. Perhaps there's more the story and if Hurricane Sandy and the presidential election weren't occupying everyone's mind, they might be on to something. For now, it may just be a not-very-distracting distraction.