Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Déjà vu: It's another Boondoggle!

Democrat Martin Heinrich is a busy man.

So busy, in fact, that on Tuesday afternoon, his schedulers could not find time to give reporters an opportunity to ask the democratic congressional candidate any real questions following a side-walk news conference stunt, which was staged in front of his opponent's headquarters.

Unfortunately, Martin Heinrich is such a busy man that journalists were limited to a total of two questions, as a group, following the "news" conference.

Martin Heinrich is such a busy man he used the opportunity to meet with reporters to pose the very same question he'd sent out in an email blast last week: Should Republican Darren White reimburse taxpayers for President Bush's fundraising trip for White in May?

Usually, unless you're very busy, candidates bring new material to a news conference. Our newsroom aired the taxpayer reimbursement story on Tuesday last week. I'm thinking: take the "s" off the word NEWS and it's simply: NEW.

Following the "new" (but really old) news conference both campaigns blasted out emails. Read the GOP's here, and the Heinrich campaign's open letter to Darren White here.

(I'm sorry taxpayers, but presidents and presidential candidates from both parties have come, and will continue to come here to campaign for their party's candidates, and we the taxpayers will pay their security escorts, including the police overtime.)

But, back to the blog post, because we're busy and running out of time.

The two-question limit Heinrich imposed on reporters, following his brief statement, meant that quite a few journalists (many with their own busy schedules) weren't allowed to ask individual questions.

To hear the "news" conference click the pink play button.

This question-limiting tactic isn't new for the Heinrich campaign. Actually it was sort of like deja vu. Several weeks ago, reporters were limited to questions outside the gates of Sandia National Labs where they had waited for 45 minutes for the candidate to appear with U.S. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer. To read what happened in the hot sun that afternoon read my previous post here.

It also appears Martin Heinrich is such a busy man that he didn't have time to prepare copies of his tax records for journalists to review before the election.

Without a review of the records the question remains whether or not Heinrich was required to register as a lobbyist for the "advocacy" work he did for various non-profit groups. The record is already clear about one thing. The very busy Heinrich forgot to register his consultancy for a city business license.

We've also learned that Martin Heinrich is such a busy man that he won't have time to prepare for an AARP sponsored TV debate with Republican White on KRQE before the election, which is still 48 days away. Here's the letter AARP sent to Darren White's office notifying him of the cancellation. (Click on the image of the letter to read it full screen).

So for now only one TV debate with the 1st congressional district candidates is scheduled. It's set for Sunday, October 26th on KOAT. That's only a week before the general election and well after early and absentee voting gets underway.

Perhaps Heinrich understands time management better than any of us.

Perhaps he's waiting for the clock to run out on voters, who'd like to make an informed decision on the real issues not being worked on in Washington in this 110th Congress.

UPDATE: For even more insight into media access problems with national and local campaigns consider reading local photojournalist Mark Bralley's blog post at What's Wrong With This Picture.


Jim Scarantino said...

Peter: During the primary, Robert Pidcock questioned whether Martin Heinrich had paid his gross receipts taxes for "Heinrich Consulting." Afterall, Heinrich failed to comply with city laws requiring the business to be registered. That went on for four years, including one year while Heinrich was on City Council. Heinrich found time to give ABQ Journal reporter Leslie Lithicum a peak at his taxes, but hasn't let anyone else see the same records. I guess he's just too busy.

I think he's failed to comply with the laws other businesses and lobbyists must follow because he only other work experience was working at a summer camp. He jumped from cleaning fire pits and latrines into the Big Show, and he wasn't prepared.

Back in February when I wrote "The Heinrich Maneuver" for The Alibi I was hearing rumblings about what we could expect if Heinrich won the nomination. His strategy then and now is to slip into office before anyone takes a hard look at him. Now we'll see if the media let's that happen.

Jim Scarantino said...

Geez. Sorry for the typos. Too early in the a.m. to be blogging.

Benson said...

Actually hang around and take questions? A politician? Damn Peter, that idea actually put a smile on my face. ;)

This treatment of the press doesn't surprise me, and I know both sides treat the press like a redheaded stepchild. But you get some members of the press who don't mind, in large part because they are partisan and willing to wait as long as it takes. I've been surprised that there hasn't been more pushback from the press - y'all maintain the means for these guys to get their messages out.

If the press started "missing" Heinrich events in protest, I'd bet that you'd get some different treatment. After all, one of the things I learned in PR has been you can't win a war with a company that buys tape by the yard or ink by the barrel.

As for the complaint that 770 or KOAT or the Journal are taking sides, there's nothing that says you have to deal with this from the candidates.

ched macquigg said...

It is fascinating that public "servants" and candidates for public service are beyond the influence of their "masters".

We need to think of a way to penalize, really penalize, candidates that won't stand for questions.

The fact that public servants who are actually in office, and still refuse to answer legitimate questions about the public interest, is proof about as positive as you could ask, that;

the public has lost all control over their servants, and over power and resources that are fundamentally their own.

Robb Hamic said...

Martin Heinrich would rather hide from a debate than look uninformed or "full of hot air" on TV. Darren White is a good, honest, hard working man and he needs all of our support. He is the best choice for Congress and he will represent New Mexico well. Just look at his credentials, he is the best man for the job and he doesn't hide from anything. If you want his real opinion on something, just ask.

We don't need another political "mouthpiece" in Washington. Elect Darren White.

ched macquigg said...

Darren White "...he doesn't hide from anything." ? ??

Ask him for an ethically redacted truth about APS administrators using his NCIC data base to harass whistle blowers.