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The Man Behind The Political ‘Glittering’ Of Candidates

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(credit: CBS) Rachel Slavik
Rachel Slavik joined the WCCO team in October of 2010 and is thrill...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — One issue the candidates will likely address during the upcoming presidential campaign season is gay marriage.

Here in Minnesota, voters will weigh in on an amendment that defines marriage as only between a man and a woman. It’s a controversial issue that’s getting a lot of attention from both sides.

When Newt Gingrich visited Minneapolis in May, his trip made news around the world because his book signing was interrupted with glitter.

Minneapolis native Nick Espinosa was the man responsible.

The 25-year-old activist was upset to see state lawmakers approve a step towards banning gay couples from marrying in Minnesota.

“I wanted to do something that would draw attention to the issue. Something that would be a bit dramatic, but that wouldn’t hurt anyone,” said Espinosa, an activist from Minneapolis.

Since May, Congressman Erik Paulsen, Karl Rove, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and even the Minnesota State Fair have all been glitter targets. 

With clips posted to the internet, they’ve been viewed hundreds of thousands of times all around the world.

“So, it’s exciting for me to see it spreading,” said Espinosa.

Political expert David Schultz sees it as a prime example of the new frontier in campaigns. While candidates use social media to reach potential voters, their opponents use it to highlight controversial policies.

“Clearly these are things that become part of our political culture,” said Schultz, a professor at Hamline University.

But Schultz warned dramatic acts like glittering sometimes have an unintended effect.

“In general, for candidates not getting media attention, any attention is better than none,” said Schultz.

In recent weeks, Espinosa has turned his attention to the foreclosure crisis. But with the 2012 election less than a year away, he said there may be more glitter in the coming months.

“It seems others are picking up on the tactics,” said Espinosa.

Espinosa said he’s never been arrested for the glittering.

In October, Paulsen said the glitter shows there are some silly people out there and his focus is on jobs and the economy.

We also reached out to groups who support the marriage amendment for their take on the glittering. They have yet to respond.

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