Monday, October 11, 2010

Joe the Teabagger Announces, Cancels, then Holds Press Conference Where He Refuses to Answer Any Questions

In what may be the first solid signs of a U.S. Senatorial campaign about to go off the rails, Tea Bag Express star, Sarah Palin favorite, and GOP primary nominee Joe Miller, went through a bizarre set of moves in Anchorage early Monday. Miller scheduled an 11:00 a.m. press conference. Then he cancelled it. Then he participated in an 11:45 a.m. senatorial campaign forum, held by the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce. Then, he did this:

Update, 1:55 p.m.: Republican nominee Joe Miller just told reporters that he will not be answering any more questions about his personal background for the remainder of the campaign.

He made the statement at an impromptu news conference after today's debate at the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce. He took no questions and immediately walked out of the room.

Early Monday morning, the Alaska Dispatch announced it has filed suit against the Fairbanks-North Star Borough, to gain access to Miller's complete personnel file for the period when he worked as an attorney for the borough:

Alaska Dispatch sued the Fairbanks North Star Borough on Monday for the release of U.S. Senate candidate Joe Miller's employment records. The suit comes after accusations that Miller was politicking on borough time.

Miller worked as a part-time attorney for the borough for seven years until his resignation in fall 2009. In the months since announcing his candidacy for the U.S. Senate, questions have been raised about whether Miller resigned to avoid being fired, and more recently, about whether he once used borough computers for his own political activities.

A source who spoke on condition of anonymity told Alaska Dispatch that Miller was caught using borough equipment in an attempt to unseat Alaska GOP party chair Randy Ruedrich. The Miller campaign has neither denied nor confirmed the claim. A press conference was reportedly set for 11 a.m. Monday to address Miller's past employment with the borough; however, a spokesman for Miller said the campaign had decided not to hold a conference before Monday's noon Anchorage Chamber of Commerce candidates' forum but might speak with reporters afterward.

The activity Miller is accused of is similar to what got Ruedrich in trouble in 2003 when it was brought to light that he was using state computers and e-mail to conduct Republican party business while working for the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. His then-co-worker Sarah Palin blew the whistle on Ruedrich's activities, and he ended up paying a $12,000 state ethics fine. Palin is a strong Miller supporter, as is the Tea Party Express.

There is a lot of speculation about other reasons Miller might be uncomfortable with materials in his personnel jacket. As reported this morning by The Immoral Minority:

Well I certainly hope "other issues will be covered as well" because the voters of this state have a lot of questions.

Such as:

"Why did you only serve three years of active duty after leaving West Point when the requirement is five years of service?"

"You told Phil Munger that you were a seriously disabled veteran. What is the nature of your disability and do you collect disability compensation from the military?"

"You have advocated cutting federal spending which includes having Alaska refuse federal dollars. Since one third of our economy is based on those federal dollars how would you replace them? And are you considering reinstituting state income taxes, which we currently do not pay, to cover that loss?"

"And finally how do you get your beard length to say halfway between pre-adolescent teenage boy and a real Alaskan man's facial hair? Do you suffer from a hormonal imbalance perhaps? Or is THAT the 'serious disability' that you told Phil about?"

Snark aside, and teasing aside, Miller's refusal to even answer questions on why he won't be answering questions is very reminiscent of gubernatorial candidate John Lindauer's last appearance in front of the Alaska press in September 1998, just as his campaign began to quickly unravel.

This morning, the Tea Party Express announced it is holding off on starting its big ad campaign up here on Miller's behalf. There may or may not be significance in that announcement.

Murkowski's most recent report shows she's holding about $1.2 million in her campaign chest at this point.

There will be more stories on this throughout Monday - and beyond.


Anonymous said...

Any word from the governor on his endorsement?

If a candidate cuts themselves off from local media, they should leave the race. The media is doing it's job by grilling and digging. We need a second paper in Anchorage. Competing papers make an interesting, informative press.

Anonymous said...

My perception of Joe miller vs The Media is not that different from Sarah Palin vs. The Media.

Where joe stands up in front of cameras and refuses to answer pertinent questions, Sarah refuses to stand in front of cameras so no pertinent questions can even be asked.

Looks like apples and apples to me. So why hasn't/isn't the Alaska media gone/going after Ms Palin with the same vigor?

Kevin said...

"This morning, the Tea Party Express announced it is holding off on starting its big ad campaign up here on Miller's behalf. There may or may not be significance in that announcement."

Please, Phil. It's mid-October. That announcement -- and why was it announced? -- could only mean one of two things: they were waiting to see whether he would prove himself unelectable, or they already had the proof.

sallyngarland,tx said...

Newspapers, and all media, need to start calling these people out loud and clear in the media.

Palin's endorsement, Rick Perry,R-for Texas Gov,has refused to talk to newspaper editorial boards as well as debate. People were shocked when the Tyler Morning Telegraph, the most conservative and his favorite, ran a scathing headline and story on the frontpage(above the newspaper name, even) telling him it was time to show respect. This paper is in a scarlet red area. Of course, it was picked up by others papers across the state. There have been full page ads in other papers with his picture
and one word-Coward. They aren't letting up and they
shouldn't. These politicians in every state owe the voters answers to questions and the newspapers that cut them slack need to get mad and demand answers. Perry may win, (although I think White will) but if he does win, he won't ever be able to get away with hiding things from the press again and they are uncovering alot of unethical things.
I am pulling for Alaska to make Miller tell the truth. The Senators have local issues, but their being elected affects all of us. Keep blogging,Phil!