The Washington Times - October 8, 2010, 12:17PM

Is a picture worth a thousand words to Virginia Democratic House candidate Krystal Ball?

Politics Daily reports that the 1st Congressional District contender has egg on her face after nine suggestive snapshots of her at a 2004 costume party hit the web Tuesday. In one, Ms. Ball wears a Santa cap and poses flirtatiously with another woman. Others involve her now ex-husband with either a leash around his neck or a sex toy attached to his nose. The risque shots were meant to be a “naughty” Santa and Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer pairing.

Ms. Ball – now 29 years old – claims the candid photos are part of a smear campaign orchestrated by her Republican opponent Rob Wittman given they first surfaced in right-wing blog posts. Mr. Wittman has refuted this accusation, a spokesperson stating he is “adamantly opposed” to the photos’ posting and wants their removal from the Internet.

Besides playing the blame game, Ms. Ball has fallen into feminism as a defense of her actions. She has derided the cyberspace leak as “sexist” and “wrong regardless of political party.”

“Any young woman who is thinking about running for office and has ever attended a costume party with her husband or done anything stupid on camera, run for office,” she told Politics Daily Thursday. “I’m a wife, mother, a CPA and a small business attorney. When I stepped up to run for this seat, I knew that our politics had deteriorated to viciousness.”

Is Ms. Ball’s response to her past empowering for women or erroneous on all counts? Is she a role model or just raunchy? Readers can judge for themselves by viewing one of the more tasteful photos here.

For the truly bold, Gawker has the full set of photos here. (WARNING: These are not safe for work or the easily offended.)