Saturday, February 22, 2014

Celebrity Roasts Always Better With Some Underlying Tension: Arizona Rep. Salmon Roasting Sheriff Arpaio Tonight, No Barney Fife Jokes

I'd have to go back to the Time-Life library of Dean Martin's Celebrity Roasts, but my memory (and common sense) tells me that roasts are always a bit more fun when one of the roasters has some real bite in those jabs at the celebrity being roasted.  (You are left to guess how much of a kernel of truth is in the jokes.)

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is being roasted tonight at the Phoenix Convention Center as the marquee event of the Western Conservative Conference.  Among those Republicans on the dais ready to joke about Arpaio's pink underwear and how liberals hate the tough sheriff are former state Sen. Russell Pearce, actor (and possible future rival for Governor) Steven Seagal, and current Attorney General Tom Horne.

But, the most underlying tension may come when Arizona Congressman Matt Salmon (R-CD5) takes his turn at the microphone.  Although the hatchet appears to be buried, Salmon previously told reporters that he did not like Arpaio, did not respect him, and compared him to comical TV character Barney Fife.

Those hard-hitting remarks came in between Salmon's stints in Congress.  When Salmon began running to return to Congress in 2011, he hired the same firm that runs Arpaio's campaigns (Summit Consulting) and received a very favorable endorsement from the Sheriff.  Salmon declined to comment on how his feelings about Arpaio had changed.

In more serious matters, today's conference also features most of the rest of Arizona's GOP Congressmen - except for Paul Gosar, and a forum with several of the Republican candidates to replace Governor Jan Brewer.  The conference is put together by former state Senator Lori Klein.

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