DesJarlais finally talks to me
Over the course of the past three months, I have made maybe three dozen interview requests to speak to Congressman Scott DesJarlais about his campaign and personal transgressions. When those did not get a response, I was forced to chase him out of a Chattanooga courthouse and down the street in hopes of getting some answers. I also happened to be fairly pregnant at the time, although nowhere near as pregnant as I am now.
Yesterday afternoon, the same day as Jim Tracy announced he planned a primary challenge, I was offered a chance to do a satellite interview with Congressman DesJarlais this morning.
The interview lasted 10 minutes, and I asked him a variety of questions about his political that he tried to avoid. However, I was able to get some answers. Seeing as how the nature of a news segment doesn’t allow all the time to get the entire interview in, I’m including some excerpts.
Q: “Yesterday you picked up a primary challenger in Jim Tracy who said you have deceived and betrayed your constituents. How do you respond to that?”
A: “I think I probably speak for everybody that we’re all a little campaign weary. I’m ready to focus on the job I was elected to do and there will be plenty of time to talk campaigning in a year or so.”
Q: “How do you make amends to the voters who believe you lied to them?”
A: “I have people all over the district that have been calling and coming up to me and thanking me for the job I’m doing and wanting me to continue to represent them the way that I have. So the rhetoric we’re hearing in the news is not what I’m hearing from my constituents.”
Q:”Do you feel like you’ve earned the voters forgiveness?”
A:”I’ve had a lot of people who have pledged their support to me. There’s a lot of things that go on in campaigns. As far as personal failures in my life 14 years ago, I think a lot of people have looked past that and looked to the job I’m going to do for them.”
Q: “Do you plan to run again in 2014?”
A: “Absolutely. We’ll be all in.”
Q:”Are you ready for another grueling campaign where once again this stuff will come up?”
A: “Obviously you’re not going to give up on this. But like I said I’m focused on the job ahead. There’s campaigning that always seems to go on when you’re in Congress, but we’re confident by doing a good job the people will see that they got what they elected. We’ll have a lot of time to talk about this probably a year or so from now.”
Q:”The transgressions were 14 to 16 years ago, but many people believe you lied to them as recently as two months ago.”
A:”There’s a lot of details that I’m sure the people will continue to look at and will continue to discuss. So we’ll have a lot of opportunity to revisit this.”