Dora the Explorer's excellent Tom Emmer adventure

Poor Dora the Explorer. All she wants to do hang with Diego and Boots the Monkey. But instead, the Nick Jr. cartoon character is getting dragged into the Minnesota governor's race.

Nick Espinosa, who also goes by the name Robert Erickson, conscripted her today into some street theater tweaking Republican Tom Emmer's stand on immigration.

Espinosa is the same guy who dumped thousands of pennies on Emmer at a photo op last summer, and punk'd his supporters on Cinco de Mayo.

Emmer, Mark Dayton and Tom Horner were debating economic policy today. But Espinoza wanted to talk about Emmer's opposition to a proposed state law that would allow the children of illegal immigrants the right to pay in-state tuition for college.

Espinosa chose Columbus Day for his protest because he and like-minded activists see the holiday as a celebration of Native American genocide at the hands of illegal European immigrants. And because the three candidates were gathered together for a debate with the news media present.

Why drag Dora into the protest?

"Dora the Explorer is a symbol for young Latina and Latinas of their own curiosity about the world-a positive pop culture icon that encourages us to learn and serve our communities and country."

With a Dora doll in his satchel, he approached the podium and yelled, "Hey Emmer, pick on someone your own size!" Then he foisted the doll at Emmer.

Holding the doll in his lap, the Republican played it for laughs.

"Hey guys, it was better than the pennies," he said. "I got to say, that was easier than the pennies."

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