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Flip-flop cop: Young video researcher keeping GOP candidates honest
Question of the Day
A self-professed Republican who has interned with two GOP congressmen and the Republican National Committee, Mr. Kaczynski describes himself as a “political nerd,” a young man who spends his free time studying, hanging out with his girlfriend and scouring the Internet for political news, information and videos.
Mr. Kaczynski acquired his love of politics from his father, Steve, a lawyer who began volunteering for candidates at age 12 and has an extensive collection of campaign memorabilia in the basement of his Cleveland home.
At the time, Mr. Kaczynski was 8 years old.
A resident of New York’s 9th Congressional District, Mr. Kaczynski was following the special election to replace disgraced Democratic representative Anthony Weiner when he stumbled across amusing footage of Democratic candidate David Weprin dancing awkwardly at a Caribbean music festival in Brooklyn.
“It got like 20,000 views in two days,” he said.
Around the same time, he realized that C-SPAN had online video archives — about 160,000 hours of footage, all of it searchable by candidate, uploaded in 2010.
Mr. Kaczynski launched his YouTube channel in October, posting goofy television advertisements from Rick Perry’s long-ago campaigns for Texas agriculture commissioner — including one featuring the candidate enthusiastically touring a local sausage factory. The video was eventually viewed nearly 50,000 times. A torrent of clips followed. By December, Mr. Kaczynski had picked up 10,000 Twitter followers and was being interviewed by New York Magazine and C-SPAN.
“A lot of people had used my videos but hadn’t really given me credit,” Mr. Kaczynski said. “The magazine story came out the exact same day I posted the Romney ‘I’m a progressive’ video.
“That was kind of a perfect storm. People saw that all of this stuff was coming from the same place. It blew up so fast.”
Straight from the horse’s mouth
Befitting his cheerful disposition, many of Mr. Kaczynski’s videos are silly: Mr. Perry making actor Chuck Norris an honorary Texas Ranger; Mr. Romney admitting that his favorite book is the pulpy sci-fi Scientologist space opera “Battlefield Earth”; Mr. Cain unspooling an extended political metaphor about the baffling aerodynamics of bumblebees; Mr. Gingrich meeting the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers in full costume.
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About the Author
Patrick Hruby is an award-winning journalist who holds degrees from Georgetown and Northwestern. He also contributes to ESPN.com and The Atlantic Online, and his work has been featured in The Best American Sports Writing. Follow him on Twitter (@patrick_hruby) and contact him at PatrickHruby.net.
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