Press Release Roundup #10

By Josh Feit October 8, 2009

Erica is off today (she has a friend in town and took the ferry somewhere), so I've been extra busy, and I'm not going to be able to corral our regular Press Release Roundup video.

However, I have to note the monster press release that King County Executive candidate Dow Constantine released earlier today.

(Full disclosure: Constantine's spokesperson, Sandeep Kaushik, co-founded PubliCola with me last January. He has no editorial involvement in PubliCola.)

The Constantine camp found video of their opponent, former KIRO TV anchor Susan Hutchison, speaking at an October 2008 dinner sponsored by the Washington Policy Center, a conservative think tank.

The video captures Hutchison lauding the WPC's book, The Policy Guide for Washington, ("this book makes you smart," she says) which includes hyper-conservative views like: Light rail is "socialistic;" the state should amend the Constitution to freeze state spending; climate change isn't a crisis; and green building codes shouldn't be enforced. WPC's Policy Guide positions are not in sync with how Hutchison—who calls herself nonpartisan on the campaign trail—has portrayed herself to voters.

For example, she's said Tim Eyman's I-1033 (which freezes state spending) "goes too far." So, she likes WPC's idea of a Constitutional amendment to freeze spending? She's also said she supports light rail. So, she's not a Republican after all ... she's a socialist?

The Constantine press release says:
These new revelations about Hutchison’s actual views—which sharply contradict several positions she now claims to support—once again highlights the former television anchor’s concerted efforts during this campaign to hide her true beliefs from the voting public.

“Susan Hutchison is in the midst of a dishonest political makeover designed to conceal her true beliefs from the voters of King County,” said Constantine campaign spokesperson Sandeep Kaushik. “Without any record of public service to judge her on, so far voters have had to rely only Hutchison’s recent campaign spin to get a sense of who she is and what she believes. But a little digging shows that the positions she is taking now are sharply contradicted by the positions she supported just before becoming a candidate.”

We give Constantine's press release an A.

Coincidentally, and this video clip wasn't in the press release, Hutchison actually spoke at WPC's dinner again this year. On Tuesday.

She makes a liberal media joke about the Seattle Times and she notes her "one indulgence in life ... the op-ed page of the Wall Street Journal." (Go to the 32-minute mark on this video to watch her at this year's WPC dinner.)


I called Hutchison's campaign for a response, and they responded with a statement, counterspinning Constantine as a partisan Democrat. (I've linked Hutchison's full statment below the jump.)

Summary: Despite the revelations about her enthusiasm for WPC's conservative bible, she maintains that she's still against I-1033, supports light rail, and calls herself a "conservationist."

Hutchison's release:

Today, my opponent Dow Constantine, distributed an inaccurate release to the media in a desperate attempt to distract from the $110 million budget deficit he has helped create as Chair of the King County Council.

The Washington Policy Center provides a valuable service by creating a thoughtful discourse regarding the many issues we face in our region – a resource used by both Democrats and Republicans. I am supportive of their ideas for balancing the budget – streamlining government, cutting taxes, and creating a responsive government that exists to improve communities and better the lives of its citizens.  Unfortunately, my opponent disagrees with this approach to government and has spent the last seven years driving King County into the worst financial crisis in its history by approving unsustainable budgets, engaging in reckless spending and negotiating gold-plated benefits packages for County employees in the height of a recession.

Dow Constantine wants to continue his brand of partisan politics that have resulted in cuts to public safety, the closure of public health clinics, and the elimination of neighborhood parks.  As Council Chair he has favored interest groups who support his campaigns over King County taxpayers and consequently, he is currently under investigation by the State of Washington for illegal coordination between his campaign and those special interests.

"Lastly, I have never waivered from my positions that transportation policy should focus on congestion relief, integrating all of our transportation modes.  I disagree with Initiative-1033 and will not vote for it.  And I am a conservationist who will do everything possible to protect Puget Sound and this region’s natural resources.  Furthermore, as County Executive, I will balance our budget, cut wasteful spending, make it easier for small business to succeed, create new jobs, and fix the mess created under our current leadership.  When I first entered this race, I committed to bringing new leadership and a new vision to King County which is exactly what I intend to do.
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