GOP reprises Kilroy role in leftist film

Republicans are pouncing on a clip of Democratic congressional candidate Mary Jo Kilroy from a French documentary about the “radical left” in the United States.

Kilroy appeared in a film, “Sentimental Journey: America’s Dissidents,” in the early 1990s, discussing her role as editor of the Columbus Free Press, an alternative Ohio newspaper.


The item was posted on a local blog last week and picked up Monday by conservative blog Redstate, which posted a video clip. Filmmaker Noël Burch calls his documentary “a sentimental journey and a survey of the history of the American radical left.”

At one point in the film, Burch applauds Kilroy and others who “had safely lived in the belly of the beast and continued to say no, who continued to cry for an American [sic] more just and less violent.”

In the clip, Kilroy appears in the Free Press offices. She says, “I think too often the left confines itself to a small number of people with signs and a couple of chants … We want to get that debate out of our own circles and open up more people’s minds and hearts to the possibilities of real change in this country.”

Kilroy doesn’t say anything inflammatory, but being cast in a French documentary about “radical” leftists is unlikely to help her win independent votes in a swing district. She faces state Sen. Steve Stivers (R) in November for retiring Rep. Deborah Pryce’s (R) seat.

Brad Bauman, a spokesman for Kilroy’s campaign, said she did not know the content of the documentary at the time and had about an hour’s notice that the filmmakers were coming.

He noted that the film does not claim that the newspaper had socialist leanings, as Republicans have alleged. Kilroy says that the Free Press was a community paper, not a socialist one.

The current Free Press website describes itself as an “underground, alternative publication.” Kilroy has not been associated with the newspaper since she left in 1994.

Ken Spain, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee, said, “Despite her multiple denials and dismissing claims that she once ran a socialist newspaper as lies, it appears that Mary Jo Kilroy has been caught on tape peddling socialist propaganda.”

Bauman replied: “It’s the ridiculous ramblings of a right-wing blog. Mary Jo sat for an interview over a decade ago with a filmmaker and talked about change. The people leveling these attacks are the same people who would dare to ridicule Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaSouth Carolina woman behind popular Obama slogan says she backs Steyer Sanders surges while Warren wanes Buttigieg: America 'united in mourning' Kobe Bryant's death MORE for being a community organizer.”