An unnamed employee of the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) is being investigated for allegedly using a state-owned computer to forward an e-mail showing a photoshopped image of Barack Obama shining Sarah Palin's shoes. Media stories published by the Denver Post and KUSA Channel 9. National bloggers picking up the story include The Raw Story, the Huffington Post, and The Moderate Voice.
The employee, identified only as a 73-year-old woman who works as a program assistant for the Denver metro region's traffic and safety section and who supervises one other employee, forwarded the e-mail to co-workers December 22nd. The originator of the message, who was not a state employee, captioned the message "It appears he (Obama) has found his niche." At least four other state employees received the e-mail, but it was someone outside the department who got a copy of the e-mail with the CDOT e-mail address attached who complained to agency officials about it on Tuesday December 29th.
The employee, a 29-year veteran of state government who earns $51,684 a year, could face discipline ranging from a written reprimand to a suspension or firing, although termination would seem unlikely considering the minimal impact of the infraction. CDOT spokeswoman Mindy Crane said the central issue is that state employees are barred from using work computers to send such e-mails, although she also complained that some might find the e-mail "offensive". But state employees have the right to contest proposed adversarial actions; under state employment rules, before any discipline is meted out, the employee meets with the agency's personnel officials first and then has the opportunity to respond in writing to the concerns raised. The meeting with the employee is scheduled for the first week in January. KUSA also reveals that the employee is a registered Democrat.
But this did not stop Colorado's Democratic Governor Bill Ritter from inserting himself into the fray. Governor Ritter spoke to CDOT officials about the matter, and said that he found the e-mail itself "very distasteful". Nevertheless, the governor acknowledged that it was a personnel matter and refrained from further comment. But you just know that the governor is going to twist arms behind the scene. There is no evidence that the governor has expressed similar personal interest in any other abuse of state-owned computers.
Public reaction: A few commenters are trying to score diversity points by playing the "racist" card, but most are cynical, and some even hostile towards Obama. One commenter suggests we should support Sarah Palin because she has "great legs"; considering that no other attributes seem to make a difference, perhaps he's not wrong:
kucinich2012 4 hours ago on KUSA (1/1/2010)
I gotta say it, Folks: Freedom of speech works both ways. Making a big deal out of this only increases the negatives, anger, and cultivates even MORE hostility. Political cartoons have been around since the 1700's and I don't see this as any different except being done with more technology.
mwl 5 hours ago on KUSA (1/1/2010)
Ahh, after 4 trillion dollars spent Obama finally created a job for someone....himself. This is a dig on people who resort to what they can make money from such as shoe shining. In the Depression it was selling apples, today its shoe shining. Obama has accomplished nothing, he hates the military and when he spoke at West Point it looked like he was chewing on a turd, he has disgust for the military. He wouldnt even talk about jobs so he got "stupid 36 yrs in the senate with nothing to show for it" Biden to explain the job creation and saved web site. Which we all know was a model of failure and lies.
So in the mean time Obama gives Fanny Mae and Freddy Mac a check book from the tax payers to spend spend spend. Oh, and GMAC spend spend spend. Health care bill spend spend spend. Congressional bribes and payoffs spend spend spend. An Obama GREEN job doesnt create money its a spend spend spend job. Obama will have as many as he can follow suit in whats depicted in this picture. Remember Regan's trickle down economics...This is Obamas trickle up poverty. The picture is worth a thousand words and has the sentiment of those who lost their jobs ....NO response from Obama is just what the picture says. The person who sent this out should be lauded for showing the truth.
Tom M. 2:15 P.M. 12/31/2009 on the Denver Post
Didn't see the picture but I will volunteer to shine Palins shoes. And you can blast a picture of it all over the world for all I care. Them are some of the nicest legs I have ever seen on a political candidate. What do you say next election instead of voting for change or phony promises of making everyone's life better or voting for the best talker, we vote for the best legs running for office. I mean we have elected Ivy league grad after Ivy league grad and look where it has got us. Great minds don't seem to be the answer. Who knows? Maybe great legs are the answer.