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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.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Foot In Mouth Extraction

It's trite but still true: Timing is everything in politics and
Richard Bernstein is like the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland i.e.
he is late..oh yeah, really late.
In case you missed it, last week the democratic candidate for
Attorney General volunteered that there were many in the party,
supposedly including himself, who had had enough of the United Auto
Workers tossing their political weight around in the state Democratic
"People are tired of being pushed around and told what to do," the
passionate Mr. Bernstein asserted.
It was a great quote and almost unheard of in the annals of state
Democratic politics for someone to take on the UAW with such a direct
verbal broadside knowing that the union can influence who gets what
The comments sat out there for week. Untouched by other media
outlets, Bernstein's opponent David Leyton, whom the UAW likes, finally
weighted in calling Mr. B.'s remarks "highly disrespectful" to the
union leaders.
This prompted, out of fairness, an overture to the Bernstein
campaign to assess what push back, if any, it had suffered since the
original comments.
An email dated March 17, seven days after the interview, arrived at
2:18 p.m.
"Richard is a union member," it began…"He respects the UAW and the
labor movement and will be a great partner to them if elected," it went
There was no hint of an apology.
But something happened between 2:18 and 4:20 when a second email
arrived with this: "I made a poor choice in words and I apologize if
my remarks were off-putting."
Yes, it was an acknowledgment that he was sorry for what he said
on March 11th.
But why did it take a week for him to figure out he made a mistake?
Had the apology come within hours or even a day of the original
statements, that has some credibility.
But it took the Bernstein gang one week to figure out it needed to
remove the candidate's foot from his mouth.
Hence the apology looks more like an 11th hour political damage
control move rather than a sincere and from the heart, "I'm sorry."
Maybe it took him a week to figure out he spoke out of turn.
Or maybe he still believes what he said; he just doesn't want to
stand by his opinion for fear it might cost him the party A.G.


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