By Karen Ocamb
The story of Arizona’s Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu—an anti-illegal immigration hardliner and a Republican rising star running for Congress—has been firing up news outlets that think they’ve hit the trifecta. Babeu came out as gay, refuted allegations that he threatened to deport his Mexican former lover after the ex threatened to out him and Babeu resigned as volunteer co-chair Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign in the state.
Last Friday, Babeu held a news conference pushing back against the tabloid report in Thursday’s Phoenix New Times. On his campaign website, Babeu wrote:
Yesterday, a tabloid article made a number of false allegations about me. Only one was true: I’m gay. Today, I held a press conference to discuss this. I want to be judged on my service: 20 years in the military, two deployments—including one in Iraq, a police officer who has responded to thousands of calls for help and a Sheriff who has cut response times while reducing my own budget. I hope you will stand with me as we talk about the issues that matter: securing our border and ending the record debt and deficit spending that is stalling our economy and bankrupting the country we all love.
But the story has become fodder for cable arguments, too, such as this one between openly gay columnist LZ Granderson and Will Cain on CNN this Monday morning. Here’s how Mediate reported it, with Granderson saying he thinks Babeu resigned to not let the gay “rub off” on Romney: