POLITICS

Wildrose Bus: Wheels On Danielle Smith's Campaign Ride Prompt Chuckles On Twitter

03/19/2012 03:17 EDT | Updated 05/19/2012 05:12 EDT
Twitter/John Archer
EDMONTON - Alberta's Wildrose party campaign bus is getting a re-do after the first version went viral Monday for its unintended display of leader Danielle Smith's twin tire decolletage.

"We're just looking into getting it adjusted so we can get it fixed for the election," said party spokeswoman Shannon Stubbs.

"Hopefully we'll have it ready for the campaign launch."

The bus was wheeled out Monday morning outside the legislature to provide the backdrop for a news conference. Polls have Smith and her party challenging the long-governing Progressive Conservatives in the yet-to-be-called provincial election. The Wildrose was announcing it now has a full slate of candidates.

The sides of the bus feature the Wildrose logo along with a torso picture of Smith — the bus's two rear wheels over her chest.

Pictures of the bus began circulating on the Internet and went viral on Twitter.

Comments ranged from pre-adolescent chortles and jokes to those urging people to grow up.

Some rewrote the words to "Wheels on the Bus." Another PhotoShopped tassels on the hubcaps. There were barbs from both genders.

Stubbs said they were caught off guard.

"Nobody really noticed it in the proposals," she said, adding Smith had a good laugh over the controversy.

"We figure if this is the worst thing that were to happen in the campaign that's a good thing."

Later in the day Smith tweeted: "Glad to see everyone is so interested in our bus. Guess we'll have to make a couple of changes, huh?"

Heather Forsyth, the only woman in the four-person Wildrose caucus, said she was left shaking her head.

"We have to start talking about the bigger issues — that's health care, it's about seniors, it's about education," said Forsyth.

"When I looked at the bus I didn't see it as everyone else has seen it.

"I found (the controversy) offensive to begin with, and now I think it's humorous that people have spun it this way."

NDP critic Rachel Notley said the issue is not about sexism, but bad management.

"They need to question the quality of their election team in allowing the bus to go forward like that," said Notley.

She said it's inevitable in elections when the stakes are high, the debate will hit the gutter.

"As it gets increasingly competitive, sometimes the discussion is going to degrade somewhat and obviously that's a little bit of what happened here.

"But I suspect it's not going to have a big impact on the campaign unless her election team continues to make the same kind of errors.

"If you come up a configuration that was embarrassing to a man, probably people would have gone on that as well."

One picture posted on Twitter bore that out.

It depicted the back of a United Kingdom transit bus, featuring a head to thigh shot of a policemen, a grey exhaust tailpipe peaking out from under his belt buckle.

Premier Alison Redford is expected to call an election within days to send voters to the polls for late April.

Three of the main parties have full slates of candidates.

Smith announced the last of their 87 candidates at the bus news conference. Redford's Tories and the NDP have previously announced full slates.

The Liberals are lagging behind with 57 candidates, but Leader Raj Sherman says they're growing quickly and will have 87 in place when voters go to the polls.

The Alberta Party has 26 candidates and the EverGreens 15.

Redford unveiled her bus last month with a picture of her in the middle — away from the wheels.

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