When Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) was unable to attend a town hall meeting earlier this month, Idaho's Gem State Tea Party opted to host a mock event headlined by a life-sized cardboard cutout of the lawmaker.
What ensued was a brief question-and-answer session in which a crowd of conservative activists peppered the image of Simpson with questions on Washington dysfunction and Idaho health care. A member of the Gem State Tea Party responded as a mock-Simpson, boasting about Simpson's position on the House Appropriations Committee and his ability to bring home federal money to the state. The hardline conservative GOP organization Club for Growth, which is supporting a primary challenge against Simpson, sent out a video of the August event to reporters.
WATCH the video above.
Many of the questions that mock-Simpson faced, however, would have been right at home at a MoveOn.org event. Simpson's Tea Party impersonator mocked his connections to wealthy campaign donors by citing an allegedly $2,600-a-plate fundraiser that Simpson held with House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Monday. One questioner blasted what he described as Simpson's ties to the drone industry. Another decried cuts to TriCare -- a government health insurance program for members of the military, veterans and their families.
"Effective 1 October, all the retired military's TriCare prime to their families is being cut," one questioner asked. "I'd like to know why."
Simpson's impersonator responded: "If I was on that committee, I'd get you all the money you need!"
The Gem State Tea Party website does not mention TriCare, but indicates that the organization opposes government health care programs including Medicaid.
"We support Individual Freedom and Free Market Economics, not the confiscation and redistribution of property through socialist schemes such as Medicaid," the site reads. "Rather than expanding the program, the State of Idaho should be seriously considering opting out of the program entirely."
The event closed with a question from a birther. "How does a person who does not have a birth certificate, who does not have a Social Security card, who does not have a selective service registration card, does not have a driver's license, become president of the United States?"
Simpson's impersonator ducked the question, responding: "You want me to keep bringing home the bacon, you gotta vote for Mike Simpson!"
"I'm not stupid!" replied the birther.
Bryan Smith is challenging Simpson for his seat. Neither Simpson's office nor the Gem State Tea Party were available for comment.