Paper spoofs senator

HELENA - The Onion, a weekly news-spoof publication, targeted Democrat Max Baucus this week with an expletive-laden editorial ostensibly written by the four-term senator.

"Folks, I am telling you, I am hands-down the sh--est senator in the history of the Senate. The worst," the satirical editorial says. The editorial later spells out several Baucus gaffes, including his well-known inability to remember names.

Toward the end, it concludes: "God, I'm such a bonehead. I should go live in a cave somewhere, someplace far away from all humanity where I can't poison everything I touch."

By the end of the day, the Montana Republican Party had picked up the editorial and included a link to the Onion Web site in its daily online briefing, with a short explanation: "It's rather amusing - but be warned, it contains language of a rather spicy nature and is not appropriate for children"

The actual author of the article, Onion writer Maria Schneider, was not available Tuesday to explain why she chose to mock Baucus. But Baucus press secretary Bill Lombardi said he suspects it was because the Montana senator has been in the spotlight recently.

"They're focusing on Max because his seniority makes him the ranking member of the Senate Select Committee on Satire," Lombardi said. "And he takes that job satirically - I mean seriously."

All kidding aside, Lombardi said, Baucus is in a key influential position as the ranking Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, and "folks are going to be taking potshots at him from all sides."

Lombardi said he trusts Montanans will understand that the editorial, although it may contain some factual information, is intended as comedy only. He also pointed out that Onion's lead story for the week is headlined, "God diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder."

"He (Baucus) is independent, and he's effective, and he does what's right for Montanans," Lombardi said. "Montanans know that, and they know his record of success."

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