Last week Politico campaign reporter Dave Cantanese got himself into a little bit of a ethical pickle when he injected himself in the story on Rep. Todd Akin‘s (R-Mo.) “legitimate rape” gaffe by defending him. “Poor phrasing, but if you watch the intv @ToddAkin meant to convey that there’s less chance of getting pregnant if raped,” he wrote on Twitter. “So perhaps some can agree that all rapes that are reported are not actually rapes? Or are we gonna really deny that for PC sake? So looks like he meant to say — ‘If a woman was REALLY raped, it’s statistically less likely for her to get pregnant.’ What’s the science?” Editors swiftly removed him from the Akin beat. Ever since, the reporter seems to have disappeared — no byline, no tweets.
Where did he go?
Sources close to Cantanese tell us he is taking a breather to personally reflect on what happened last week as well as talk to close friends and colleagues in and out of the business. The incident apparently hit him hard, but he has also found it illuminating.
Politico brass (a.k.a. VandeHarris) issued an internal memo last week saying Cantanese had “crossed lines” and especially offended Politico colleagues, but they gave no indication of any formal suspension. The reporter then went on Twitter and appeared to voice regret, saying, “Bad idea trying to have nuanced conversation on highly charged issue on here,” he wrote. “Did not intend to take a side. Lesson learned.” No doubt he’s looking to Niki Minaj‘s Superbass, which he rapped at a karaoke contest last year, to help him through these tough times.
Cantanese is likely to be back in full swing soon, though. Maybe even as soon as today. This morning he wrote a self-deprecating note on Twitter, saying, “I clearly lost the month of August, what Senate candidates join me in that column?