For the record: I never asked Dino Rossi if if he thought Boeing workers should have a level playing field.
Patty Murray’s campaign has been making hay for more than a week now about Rossi’s response to a question I posed during the Senate candidates’ joint appearance at The News Tribune last week.
I have resisted weighing in until now. I have my own theories why Rossi answered the way he did, but it’s not for me to try to explain his answer. Only he knows what he was thinking.
But last night, I caught Murray’s new ad that includes footage of our endorsement interview – and puts words in my mouth.
Jordan Schrader puts the ad to the smell test over at Political Buzz. I won’t rehash his analysis, other than to emphasize that the suggestion that Boeing should have a fair playing field came from Rossi, not me.
I merely parroted his words back to him in an attempt to stop his dancing around the original question – which was: Do you think World Trade Organization rulings about illegal subsidies should play a role in the Air Force’s decision about whether to award a contract for aerial refueling tankers to Boeing or Airbus?
It is quite possible that Rossi misunderstood what I was asking, as he has claimed. I readily admit that it wasn’t the most articulate question (the transcript is a painful reminder why I work with the printed, not spoken, word). We had run an editorial on the subject just that day, so I figured the candidates would be ready to give their views. Because of that assumption, I didn’t explain the question as fully as I perhaps could have.
Bottom line: We’ll never know exactly what Rossi meant to say. He didn’t seek to explain his answer, and the editorial board didn’t press him further on it.
But the way Murray’s folks have latched onto this one sentence makes it clear they feel they’ve hit campaign gold. What a pity if an election could be won or lost with eight words.