There is no creature more deserving of our scorn than a politician who capitalizes on someone else’s tragedy for political gain. Or at least that’s what I thought until today.

Following a series of emails from the Vincent Sheheen and Nikki Haley campaigns, I’ve realized that there is something worse than that: a politician who not only capitalizes on an innocent’s murder, but uses it in a game of one-upmanship.

The first offender: Vincent Sheheen, who sent out an email about the death of Deputy Joseph Matuskovic on Monday night in West Ashley solely for the purpose of showing voters that he cares … about approval ratings and polling:

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and loved ones of the two deputies shot in West Ashley. With the death of one officer and another still injured, we offer our condolences to their families and our thanks for their service to the community. We pray for the full recovery of Deputy Ackerman and peace and justice for the family of Deputy Matuskovic.”

Nikki Haley quickly followed with a statement of her own, one that seemingly trumped Sheheen’s by bringing in the tragic story of five South Carolina children who apparently died by their father’s hands:

“There are few moments that truly shock our conscience. The last 48 hours in South Carolina have done that, first with the shooting of two of our brave law enforcement officers, and then to see five babies brutally murdered. These events bring a sadness like no other. We grieve together for our lost ones, and we pray together for those touched by these horrific tragedies.”

You can imagine the gleeful cackle that echoed down the halls of the Sheheen campaign HQ when their candidate was the first in the 2014 gubernatorial race to offer their condolences — and the even greater cheers of mirthful malevolence when the Haley camp realized that they could beat Sheheen at his own game by celebrating — er, mourning — the deaths of these five children.

I don’t know about you, but I’m disgusted.  

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