Another Nguyen, Another Problem

The campaign of an OC Republican candidate named Nguyen has been caught distributing a clumsy bit of fraud. No, this is not another Tan Nguyen and the "Immigrants Can't Vote Letter" post.

From this morning's Times:

The campaign of an Orange County supervisorial candidate, whose slogan is "Honesty, Integrity and Leadership," has been caught doctoring a photo so that it places the politician close to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The photo into which Trung Nguyen was inserted appeared over the weekend in two Vietnamese-language daily newspapers, Vien Dong and Viet Bao Kinh Te. The papers are heavily circulated in Little Saigon, home to the largest Vietnamese community outside Southeast Asia.

Nguyen's campaign variously blamed the alteration on an advertising company and a volunteer.

If all this seems familiar-- particularly that last line about the campaign pointing multiple fingers of blame-- there's a good reason.

Back in November, Gustavo Arellano summed up the Tan Nguyen campaign's attempts to shift the blame for that infamous letter as far away from the candidate as possible.

First Nguyen denied his campaign had anything to do with the forged letter. Then he rescinded the claim, stating he didn't "authorize" or "approve" the letter, and he fired a rogue campaign worker whom he alleged was responsible. Then he rehired her, claiming once again that his campaign had nothing to do with the letter, although he stood by its content. At a press conference two days after the raid by the attorney general's office, Nguyen again denied any ties to the letter, then handed out copies of what he claimed was the real letter, insinuating Sanchez was behind it.

The Trung Nguyen campaign seems to be up to stage two in the blame-someone-else strategy. With Tan's campaign, first it was an outsider, then an overzealous campaign worker. But this latter Nguyen campaign seemed to taking steps one and two at the same time.

Saulo G. Londono, Nguyen's campaign manager, called it "a very stupid mistake made by a third-party vendor. We don't want to go in great detail into what the vendor did, but we definitely made sure it won't happen again."

He said the photos the advertising company used did not come from Nguyen's campaign. Londono said he did not know who provided the company with the altered photo. He would not give the name of the advertising company, which, he said, no longer works for the campaign.

Assemblyman Van Tran (R-Westminster), who is co-chairman of Nguyen's campaign, blamed a volunteer for the fake photo. The volunteer, whom he declined to name, has been reprimanded and removed from working with newspapers and photos, Tran said.

Nice to see that Londono and Tran can at least agree that the responsible party must remain nameless.

It doesn't seem likely that Trung Nguyen will be able to take Tan Nguyen's step 3-- insinuate that your opponent is really responsible-- for the simple reason that the other candidate whose campaign exposed this fraud was Janet Nguyen (no relation). Nguyen hinting that Nguyen was really responsible for the half-assed photo-shopping could prove too confusing.

Even if Nguyen can't follow Nguyen's example by insinuating that Nguyen is really responsible for the phony photo of Nguyen, let's hope that Trung learns from the other memorable achievement of Tran's campaign, and sticks to the 100-foot penis rule.


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