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Ultimately on the Chopping Block

By Morning Fizz October 13, 2009


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1. Rumors were circulating this weekend that mayoral candidate Joe Mallahan got defensive under tough questioning and started crying during a small, private meet-and-greet with supporters at Starbucks exec Denny Post's house two weekends ago.

Former city council member and Mallahan campaign chair Tina Podlodowski (who was at the get-together) says, "[that's] not how I quite remember it."

PubliCola talked to a couple of people who attended the October 3 Mallahan get-together, and they chalk the rumor up to the fact that "Joe did get a little teary-eyed" and "emotional" when he was talking about homeless youth (according to one guest) or talking about disadvantaged youth and his recently deceased parents (according to another.)

2. We were slammed yesterday and never got around to posting  our daily Press Release Roundup.

Too bad. Because there were two A's yesterday.

The first one came from King County Executive candidate Susan Hutchison, who was responding to the news (first reported by PubliCola) that NARAL Pro-Choice Washington was doing a $12,000 ad campaign against her for not being pro-choice ("We can’t trust Susan Hutchison to protect these patients. Don’t let Family Planning Clinics disappear").

Hutchison not only flatly denied NARAL's charge—"Today a special-interest group began running attack ads claiming I would endanger health clinics as County Executive.  This could not be further from the truth. As County Executive, I will not change the policies of the County health department"—she also cleverly seized on the opportunity to re-frame the debate, making it about the county budget, an issue that hurts her opponent, council chair Dow Constantine.

Better (and this is the clever part), Hutchison used the budget issue to paint Constantine as the one who was putting women's health at risk.

The release continued:
"What I will do is eliminate my opponent’s wasteful and irresponsible spending that has forced two of these vital clinics in Kent to padlock their doors. [Editor's note: The Kent Teen Clinic and the Kent-Alder Square Health Clinic.]

"As Chair of the King County Council my opponent created a $110 million budget deficit, approved a series of unsustainable budgets and spent millions on a ferry district at the expense of public safety and public health.  If Chairman Constantine is elected King County Executive, other public health clinics that were able to survive this round of cuts will ultimately end up on the chopping block as well."

Tenacious stuff from the Hutchison camp. Grade: A.

3. The Constantine camp also connected with a solid body blow yesterday.

Constantine's release came in response to something Hutchison told the Seattle Times earlier in the day  in an article comparing the two candidates' environmental records.

The Seattle Times wrote: "Hutchison says ... as executive director of the Charles Simonyi Fund for Arts and Sciences, she has steered money to environmental causes."

Constantine fact-checked that for the Times and found that the Simonyi Fund actually donated $100,000 to help start the Center for the Environment, the environmental research wing of the conservative think tank Washington Policy Center, which fights environmental regulations and questions the global warming.

Ouch. Grade: A.

That one was so good (and timely) that Constantine brought it up at an environmental debate with Hutchison later that evening at the Seattle Aquarium.

Hutchison responded by saying the Washington Policy Center was bipartisan, a comical claim she herself belied just a week earlier when she spoke at the group's annual fundraising dinner—along with talk radio's John Carlson, GOP AG Rob McKenna, Fox News commentator Steve Moore, and Republican U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA, 5)— bonding with the audience over the famously conservative op/ed page of the Wall Street Journal.

(We posted the video of Hutchison addressing the WPC dinner last Friday. Go to the 33-minute mark for her WSJ commentary.)

4. PubliCola ran a poll on the mayor's race last night (we polled more than 700 likely voters, and the poll had a margin of error of 3.7 percent).

We'll publish the results later today.


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