Call it Flat Tim and the case of the mystery penis.
The Change Ahead campaign platform unveiled by PC leader Tim Hudak to much circumstance at the Congress Centre this weekend was supposed to launch Mike Harris Part Deux as the guy to replace Dalton McGuinty as premier.
But for voters a Twitpic of a penis may be the most enduring memory of the occasion.
That would be the member of PC candidate George Lepp from Niagara, that has become the real lightning rod of controversy post-convention after photos of it appeared in the Twitterverse in the wee hours Sunday. Or was that really Lepp's schlong?
A mistake perhaps? Lepp was reportedly too upset and embarrassed to talk to the Sun about it late Sunday, but PC party spokesperson Alan Sakach tried his best to put the penis problem to rest - only for it to get bigger.
Sakach told the Sun the shots in question were "inadvertently" taken by Lepp's Blackberry - click, just like that - while the device was in camera mode in Lepp's front pocket.
Sakach later denied making that statement in the Star. Could the Sun have got it wrong? As of this morning, the paper has yet to make a correction of its article posted Sunday. The shots in questions are clearly of a man lying on his back with legs crossed and naked from the waist down. No pants in sight.
The story gets curiouser with Sakach's explanation on how the shots ended up posted to Lepp's Twitter account. Sakach says they were put up by someone else. That someone else being a protestor who allegedly lifted the Blackberry from Lepp's pocket after he was "jostled" by protestors outside the Congress Centre.
A little too convenient perhaps, given the fact the allegedly stolen Blackberry was not reported to police. Let's just call it an unfortunate set of circumstances, then. What else could it be? Surely not what it appears to be on its face - a case of a candidate maybe getting half tanked at one of the hospitality suites and deciding to snap a few close ups of his Johnson just for shits and giggles.
Not Lepp, whom the Sun points out appears to be a stand up guy - his Vineland Growers' Cooperative is the province's largest shipper of, ahem, tender fruit.
Not sure how many more Twitter followers the shiny helmet shots got Lepp. But the photos were quickly deleted from Lepp's account, some 20 minutes or so after they were posted - although, not before Liberal party operatives were able to obtain a few screen grabs of the dick in question.
The Sun, not ones to run from a juicy story, played this one straight up. A contrast from the treatment NDP leader Jack Layton got from the paper on the eve of the federal election for a shiatsu massage allegedly at a house of disrepute some 16 years ago.
Or for that matter, we can go further back to the fun time had by the paper at the expense of Adam Giambrone and that Twitpic allegedly of the former councillor, but obviously not him, taken in the shower that the Sun splashed prominently on its pages during L'Affaire Lucas.
Lepp got a pass, comparatively speaking, which is no big surprise given the blow jobs the paper is known for giving the Tory cause.
For Hudak, the unfortunate turn takes the shine off a turbulent launch ahead of this fall's election.
Lib forces were in full view outside the Congress Centre throughout the weekend, holding up signs to remind passersby what a PC government will mean for Ontario. And driving an 18-wheeler to the Centre with a large billboard plastered on the side of Flat Tim, the character they've created and modeled after the children's character Flat Stanley, a newbie inexperienced in the ways of the world.
McGuinty held his own rally Sunday night to steal some of the thunder from the PCs' weekend preening.
The Ontario Liberal Party Wire has been abuzz with activity for months now, jumping all over Hudak at every opportunity. The Libs have been working hard not to leave anything to chance, obviously learning lessons from Ford's election win and Harper's majority. The Grits will need all the help they can get, with the most recent poll showing McGuinty behind Hudak by double figures. It'll take more than a Twitpic or two of a one-eyed Willy to change that, but clearly they're getting a rise out of the challenge.