by Rob Roper
Today is the day Peter Shumlin begins acknowledging that he has a campaign for re-election. If that’s a weird way of putting it, it’s because Shumlin has been acting weird about his reelection campaign for sixteen months. For some reason he has been denying that his campaign even existed, despite the fact that he had hired a campaign fundraiser, had staff volunteering their time for the campaign, and was sending out fundraising letters to raise money for the campaign as far back as April, 2011.
In April 2011, Shumlin caught some flack for sending out a fundraising letter which landed in the mailboxes of a handful of registered lobbyists, which is a no-no during the legislative session. The press conference where he explained the oversight exhibited the most bizarre political gymnastics seen since Bill Clinton claimed it all depends upon what your definition of “is” is. Shumlin took the blame for his campaign’s mistake… while insisting that no campaign existed.
One reporter asked the logical question at the time, “How can you say you don’t have a campaign when one of those [fundraising] letters was from you?”
Shumlin’s answer was, “Well, just in case.”
Peter Hirschfeld of the Vermont Press Bureau almost got the governor to trip up. Shumlin explained that he had a consultant on staff who helped with fundraising, to which Hirschfeld inquired, “Which staff?” Shumlin started to say, “Camp-” but caught himself in mid-word. He went on to say, “She is the only employee we have working for a campaign, if there is one.” To see the grin on his face when he says this is to understand the old phrase, a picture is worth a thousand words.
(Check out the VIDEO. It really is a very funny thing to watch.)
And, this is how it’s been ever since. As recently as the one year anniversary of Hurricane Irene the governor insisted that his four day, twenty-two town tour was not a campaign event. His campaign wouldn’t start until after Labor Day. Yeah, sure.
So, today, September 10th, 2012, this whole line of BS happily comes to an end… and a whole new one begins.