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While politicians usually are well-advised to abide by Harry Truman's advice about staying out of the kitchen, that can be difficult to accomplish when the source of the heat is nothing but hot air.
Republican would-be gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley unleashed just such a scorching but scurrilous blast last week when, without citing sources or offering any proof, he castigated Gov. Dannel P. Malloy as a "chronically unethical" leader.
Appearing on WFSB's "Face The State" Sunday, Mr. Foley then insulted viewers as well as the Fourth Estate by insisting he based his charge on research that "meets journalistic standards."
He lamely elaborated, "These are all things that have been told to me by more than one reliable source ... and they're things that are believed, so they're a problem whether they're true or not. But it seems that there are some substance to them, but I can't confirm that they're true."
We're sorry, Mr. Foley - before publishing or broadcasting such comments most media would not rely simply on unfounded rumors, especially when they lead to serious accusations of payoffs, influence-peddling and improper campaign contributions.
A spokesman for the governor and the state Democratic Party immediately reacted with outrage over the comments, and then fired a warning shot over his bow by once again challenging Mr. Foley to release records of his arrests in 1981 and 1993.
This newspaper is particularly disappointed by Mr. Foley's shoot-from-the-lip approach since we endorsed him over Mr. Malloy in the 2010 election, writing then that while a fiscal conservative, "he is no ideologue, and is pragmatic about what needs to be fixed."
If Mr. Foley is to be considered a worthy candidate again - neither he nor Gov. Malloy has officially said whether they are running again in 2014 - he must base his campaign on economic, employment, education and other issues on which the Democratic administration is particularly vulnerable. He also must sound more like a statesman befitting his former title as U.S. ambassador to Ireland, and less like a political hack.
We encourage both parties to forego all the premature political posturing and to begin dealing with more substantive problems facing voters.