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In and outs of the political campaigns, focusing on Michigan and Lansing, Tim Skubick will report regularly throughout the primary and then general election campaigns.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Getting Roped Into It

    Getting Roped Into It
     They call it the rope line.  Candidates often walk into the audience to grip and grin with supporters while they remain separated by a tiny rope.
     Barack Obama did that in Lansing on Monday.
     Candidates are annoyed when the media tries to ask questions during this up close and personal face time with the audience. So when a reporter shows up, well it can get interesting which it did on Monday.
      One reporter with TV camera in tow waded through and got to the rope line moments before Obama passed by.
      Standing on a chair with microphone outreached, the question was, "Senator, would you have voted for the Chrysler bail-out package?"
      You might be tempted to dismiss it as ancient history. It was not because an answer, either way, would have laid the groundwork for the follow-up, "If one of the Big Three was headed for bankruptcy, (hasn't there been some rumbling about that recently?) as president would you help them out?
      And the answers were?
      Obama trotted out a line he used on a female reporter in Detroit to brush off her rope line inquiry.  "We're going to have a news conference, sweetie, and we'll discuss that then" or something to that affect.
      Minus the sweetie, he repeated the same line, but this time he tossed out a complimentary crumb of sorts, "It was very enterprising of you to work your way up here…I'm shakin' hands right now."  Which was code for, "take a hike."
      There indeed was a press avail, but when the bail out issue was raised, Mr. Obama brushed it aside again saying it was hypothetical
     The Chrysler bail out vote did occur.  There was nothing hypothetical about it at all.
      Maybe Mr. Obama feared the repercussions of a direct answer.  If he said yes, McCain would criticize him for being anti free market, and if he said no, the entire state of Michigan would have been on him for being two-faced about supporting the auto industry.
      And oh yes, there was another question.  This one was about somebody named Kwame Kilpatrick and with that the Obama gang ended the news event.
      Maybe an answer to that question had repercussions, too?


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