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Smell Test: Murray takes Rossi answer to radio host Laura Ingraham show out of context

Post by Peter Callaghan / The News Tribune on Oct. 6, 2010 at 4:56 pm |
October 7, 2010 2:38 pm

In a press release issued Wednesday afternoon, Patty Murray‘s campaign criticizes challenger Dino Rossi for what the campaign portrays as an attack on public workers, including troops, teachers and firefighters.

“In an offensive and bald attempt to continue to smear his way to victory, 18 year politician Dino Rossi this morning insulted millions of Americans troops and others who serve their country,” the release states. It also includes in the headline what the campaign claims to be a direct quote from Rossi’s appearance on conservative talker Laura Ingraham’s show: “American Troops, Teachers, Firefighters ‘Have Never Held a Meaningful Job In Their Adult Lives.’ ”

But the audio file that was sent along with the press release shows that Ingraham asked Rossi about the business background of the White House staff, specifically advisers to President Obama. Rossi says of those people: “Well, you have a bunch of people that are in charge that have never actually had a private sector job, and a meaningful one, in their adult lives.”

Rossi on Ingraham CLIP 101006

Rossi isn’t talking about all public sector workers. And the reference to “a meaningful one” doesn’t appear to be a claim that only business jobs are meaningful. Instead he appears to be saying that no one among Obama advisers has held a meaningful business job.

Here’s the transcript of the segment of the interview released by Murray’s staff.

Rossi: I come from a world that I think is gonna be unique for a U.S. Senator. I come from a world of no guaranteed salary, no guaranteed benefits.

Ingraham: Good.

Rossi: If you don’t work, you don’t eat. I understand the free enterprise system. I’ve actually signed the front side of a paycheck.

Ingraham: “No, I love that, Dino. And I’ve been saying this consistently. First of all the administration itself in Washington, how many businessmen actually are working within the White House. Can we name one prominent adviser to the president who has actually had to make a payroll? I can’t name one. They brought in this guy Austin GoolsbyAustan Goolsbee, another academic. Larry Summers is on his way out and he was an academic. And they have all these people who have been living off the taxpayers’ dime for years and years as a government employee and meanwhile they’re like, huh, I wonder why people think they’re anti-business? Duh.

Rossi: Well, you have a bunch of people that are in charge that have never actually had a private sector job, and a meaningful one, in their adult lives.

UPDATE: Murray spokeswoman Julie Edwards saw the above post and sent this response:

I think you missed the mark. Rossi was very clearly talking about what kind of experience is “meaningful” and he doesn’t think public sector jobs count.

That whole conversation was about what kind of experience Rossi and the radio host think is important and worthwhile – and he has no value for folks who work in the public sector.

Here’s the press release:

Rossi: American Troops, Teachers, Firefighters “Have Never Held a Meaningful Job In Their Adult Lives”

SEATTLE, WA — In an offensive and bald attempt to continue to smear his way to victory, 18 year politician Dino Rossi this morning insulted millions of Americans troops and others who serve their country.

Speaking on the Laura Ingraham show, Dino stated plainly that he thinks their service to their country is meaningless:
“You have a bunch of people that are in charge that have never actually had a private sector job and a meaningful one in their adult life.”  (Remark can be found starting at :50 in the attached audio file.)
We already knew that Dino’s definition of worthy “private sector” jobs — profiting off of foreclosures and co-owning a bank that engaged in risky lending practices — is hardly what most Washingtonians would call an honest day’s work.  But never before had he stated so clearly his contempt for those who sacrifice to serve our country and our communities.

“It is quite simply disgraceful that Dino Rossi would say our troops, teachers, police and firefighters’ service to our nation is not meaningful in any way.  That kind of comment is beyond the pale coming from a U.S. Senate candidate, even one as desperate as Rossi,” said Julie Edwards, Communications Director, People for Patty Murray.  “Our troops get up every day and make unimaginable sacrifices to keep our country safe.  Rossi should apologize immediately if he has any decency and respect for those who serve.”

“As a U.S. Army veteran who served overseas in Vietnam, the fact that Dino Rossi would say my service in the military doesn’t mean anything is unimaginable,” said Mike Brown, a veteran from Walla Walla.  “He’s never served one day of his life on the battlefield for his country.  In fact, he’s never served one day, period.  Who is he to say our sacrifices are worthless?  It’s outrageous.”

Something fishy? Having trouble sorting out the facts from the spin in political speeches, TV ads and mailers? Our political team is ready to fact-check this season’s campaign. Send your questions to Political Smell Test. For an archive of previous Smell Tests, click here.

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