It was clear that Annette Bosworth’s Tuesday morning press conference would be unusual when she said it was intended for a “mature audience” only.
Press conference:2119 South Minnesta Ave SF, SD- 11:30 AM 5/27/14
Must be 18 y/old enter .. Only for mature audience pic.twitter.com/bTODCkY9IN
— Annette Bosworth (@AnnetteBosworth) May 27, 2014
It got even more so when the long-shot candidate for U.S. Senate from South Dakota brought a group of local reporters into a room that had been spray-painted with vulgar words.
Bosworth said she’d directed volunteers to paint campaign signs covering the walls of the Sioux Falls, S.D. storefront with some of the obscene online insults she’s faced in the race.
“What you see around you are the words which have been written about me on blogs, on the Internet throughout this campaign. These words are things we teach our children never to say, let alone write, and especially if you have roots in the Midwest,” Bosworth said in her prepared statement. “They are hateful, they are hurtful and no person should have to endure it. It is its own form of abuse. But this is the filth that has been written about me during this election.”
She said that the exhibit demonstrated the misogyny directed at “women who dare to challenge the status quo.”
“This room is an artistic representation of the atmosphere of this election and if it feels oppressive or offensive and overwhelming, then the artists have done their job because I asked them: go to the Internet, Google me and pick a name. Spell it just as it’s spelled on the Internet and represent that on my campaign signs. South Dakota, this is your community, too. The Democrats talk about a war on women, but much of what you see is written by the supposedly tolerant liberals. Their message is clear: conservative women are fair game. If you are a female and a Republican, anything goes. Look at these signs. Look at the messages sent by our country. We have a problem, and it’s not being talked about. I have news for you: conservative women fight back. We don’t hide. We don’t have failure of nerve. Our foundation is on something much stronger than these words and I will stand here in the name of these women.”
Bosworth’s campaign has been mired in turmoil. A medical doctor, Bosworth has been accused of underpaying a former nurse. She’s also been accused by the state attorney general of being out of the country on a missionary trip at a time when her nominating petitions indicate that she was gathering signatures.
After she was asked about the “so-called scandals,” Bosworth brought the discussion to the “surrounding of this room” and urged reporters to accept “the pretense that I’m not evil.”
When she addressed the payment allegations, Bosworth requested to go off the record (as the press conference was streaming live on the Internet) and then claimed she had records to prove that her former employee was properly compensated.
But ultimately, the setting was the story. At one point, Bosworth appeared to refer to one particularly crass and sexist term that figured prominently in the room. She said the word is emblematic of a national problem that was evident in this weekend’s mass shooting near the University of California, Santa Barbara.
“I would like you to try and find a word that correlates to that in a man with the same connotation and the same disrespect that when their children google it, it makes them cry,” Bosworth said. “The misogyny is real. Go to the shootings in California. Look around. South Dakota is not unique. Our country has a problem.”