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SC Dem group hopes to turn GOP debate into a 'circus'

MSNBC.comBy Jason Seher

As a handful of Republican presidential hopefuls flock to Greenville, SC for the first GOP presidential primary debate tonight, a South Carolina Democratic group hopes to steal some of the debate's thunder.

SC Forward Progress, a small outfit headed by veteran Palmetto State political operative Lachlan McIntosh will host a "Republican Debate "Sideshow" to complement what McIntosh calls the "Republican circus."

"Every circus needs a sideshow and we thought we'd help them," McIntosh said in an interview with NBC.

Rather than hosting an ordinary gathering of Democrats, the Charleston-based consultant is taking the term "sideshow" quite literally. McIntosh said the show will feature clowns, mimes, performers on stilts and other activities -- almost everything except the tent.

The sideshow theme, according to McIntosh, is an appropriate reaction to the collection of potential GOP presidential candidates set to debate tonight -- Tim Pawlenty, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, Herman Cain, and Gary Johnson.

From now until South Carolina's eventual GOP primary, McIntosh's 501(c)4 group hopes to dog the GOP presidential candidates and state Republicans by taking any gaffee and making an internet video out of it.  For example, see this video it recently produced.

But Republicans dismiss the group -- confident efforts like S.C. Forward Progress will have little net impact on any South Carolina election. Joel Sawyer, the executive director of the South Carolina Republican party, said the group's aims show just how much South Carolina Democrats misuse their political resources.

"If South Carolina Democrats were half as good at actually electing candidates as they are at making silly YouTube videos, we would be shaking in our boots," Sawyer told CNN on Tuesday. "Unfortunately for them, they're not."

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