After days of silence, Missouri Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, a likely gubernatorial candidate against Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon on Thursday denied a story a former Penthouse magazine Pet told in a media interview, but the Republican stopped short of addressing specific claims.
"Like most people I am not proud of every place I have been but this woman's bizarre story is not true. The Democrats have tried to use these tactics against me in the past and they have failed," Kinder said in a statement. "Jay Nixon may want to make up false stories about the past, but I, like most Missourians, remain focused on the issues that are important to Missourians like jobs and education."
Kinder continued: "Under Jay Nixon's leadership, Missouri ranked third-worst in terms of jobs losses in 2010 and nearly 50,000 fewer Missourians are employed now than when Jay Nixon took office. Today, Missouri's unemployment is 8.8%, we are being out-performed by all but three of the states that border Missouri and more than 269,000 Missourians cannot find work. Our schools are failing, our families are hurting and I will remain focused on talking about the issues that will move Missouri forward."
The Riverfront Times published a report earlier this week that included an interview with a former stripper, who claims Kinder recently offered her the chance to move in with him, and that he had been a frequent -- and overly aggressive -- customer of hers in the 1990s. As the week went on, Kinder didn't weigh in, even as other local and national media outlets picked up on the story and Democrats blasted Kinder for his silence on the matter.
"If these disturbing reports are so untrue, why did it take Peter Kinder six days to say anything? Peter Kinder is obviously in a pretty sad and desperate place right now," responded Missouri Democratic Party spokeswoman Caitlin Legacki. "Unfortunately, Kinder would rather blame others for his own unusual and inappropriate behavior than take responsibility and offer a real explanation."