Friday, September 19, 2008

Mr. Akin Responds.......


I'm in a big rush (have to teach this morning) so this will be pretty much cut and paste (for now).....

Last night I asked David Akin a pretty pointed question about whether he or any of the other Conservative Campaign Trail press had specifically asked Mr. Harper about who made the policy changes regarding the apparent change towards self-regulation in meat processing plants.

Mr. Akin has responded, and what he has to say, in my opinion, pretty much indicates that the Conservative Candidate, the man who wishes to obtain a majority mandate to run this country, will not talk to the media about substantive matters.

Given the fact that Mr. Akin responded to a direct question in a post to his blog, I provide it here also, in full, for the record:

Conservatives react to Ritz: Not.

As the campaign buses pulled into a sweet little spa in Quebec's eastern townships, campaign advisors to Prime Minister Stephen Harper were saying that they expect more attacks Friday from their political opponents about the inappropriate jokes made by Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz.

But they say they have no plans to change their campaign's focus or fight back with new attacks.
The Harper campaign is convinced that the leak that exposed Ritz made it into a reporter's hands from the Liberal war room.

An advisor, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that, had the race been closer, the Ritz leak likely would have prompted a Conservative counter-attack.

But with most polls showing the Conservatives well out in front, the Harper campaign will ride out the Ritz storm and continue making what it calls small, affordable announcements targeted at specific voter groups.

"We will remain absolutely focused and drive this campaign right to the finish," the advisor said.

Harper himself seems relatively unfazed by the disclosure of Ritz's comments. Faced with similarly difficult situations in his first national campaign in 2004, Harper would often appear moody or angry and relations between the travelling press and his advisors deteriorated.
But now, on his third national campaign, he and his advisors -- many of whom are also on their third national campaign with him -- are showing little outward signs of distress. Indeed, the relationship between the press travelling with Harper and his senior communications advisors has likely never been better since he became leader of his party in 2004, despite a series of apologies from the campaign that have taken attention away from the party's daily message.

Some reporters, myself included, are still frustrated about some aspects of that relationship.
We are not, for example, kept informed about all that Harper is doing while travelling with us. He generally has a morning photo opp that is kept a close secret even from the pool photographers who are the only journalists allowed to accompany him.

We are not getting to put questions to him with the same frequency that we did in the 2006 campaign. On that campaign, every reporter travelling with him got to ask at least one question a day. This time around, his staff is restricting us to 10 questions a day -- eight from the press travelling with him and two for reporters from the region we are travelling in. Because there are more than eight national reporters, we must rotate and, as a result, we get just one question -- no followup -- every other day.

Some, like a commenter here, urge us to ask followups on certain issues. We would love to but, again, with just one question every two days, it can often be difficult.

Again, as I've said before, Mr. Akin is always fair and reasonable in his dealings with lowly amateur bloggers such as myself when they make requests that are also fair and reasonable. Here, however, I would like to suggest that he has gone beyond the call of duty.

I'll have more on this later.......



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