I May Have Said That, But It Wasn't Me

July 2007
Anyone who follows politics on a regular basis comes to notice recurring trends in regards to excuses for certain behavior. There's the classic "rogue staffer" defense, when a politician blames a controversial statement or act on an identified staffer who acted out of turn: I didn't write that e-mail calling my opponent a pothead. It was an overzealous staff member! Then there's the tried-and-true "non-apology apology": I sincerely apologize to anyone who might have been offended by my statement. Note that there is no apology if you weren't offended, because the "non-apology apology" is created to let you know that the problem is partly your fault for being offended in the first place. We saw last week the first statement about low fundraising numbers (and we see this every election cycle), when Democrat Betsy Markey said about her weak second quarter fundraising: ""The focus on money raising is out of control." Of course, nobody who does raise a lot of money ever complains that the focus on raising money is out of control. But of all the repetitive excuses and political squirming I've seen over the years, this one may be my most favorite yet. The Grand Junction Sentinel reported on Saturday that Republican Rep. Ray Rose is trying to use the "That wasn't me" excuse:
Seventh Judicial District Attorney Myrl Serra said Friday he has no probable cause to file criminal charges against a Montrose County Commissioner who is facing a recall effort. A petition to recall Commissioner Bill Patterson, a Democrat, from office was based on documents given to Serra by state Rep. Ray Rose, R-Montrose, charging Patterson with "serious financial improprieties and accounting irregularities." To avoid a conflict of interest, Serra gave the documents to an independent agency, which he did not name in the news release he issued Friday. "The result of the independent review is that based on the materials submitted, no probable cause exists for the filing of criminal charges in this matter against Commissioner Patterson," Serra wrote. Rose first announced the recall petition at a Republican fundraiser in late May, and he outlined his views on the recall effort during a news conference June 13. But when asked Friday afternoon about Serra's statement, Rose said he respected the decision and distanced himself from the recall effort. "I didn't support it," he said. "I had nothing to do with it." That seems to contradict statements Rose made in a two-page news release sent the day of his news conference in which he detailed Patterson's alleged misdeeds. It reads, in part: "These are very serious allegations of his lack of honesty, lack of integrity, lack of good judgment and illegal activities on the part of Mr. Patterson." Patterson said he was "pretty elated" by Serra's statement and surprised Rose claimed he was not involved. "It's kind of like: Wait a minute, read your own press release. You said I committed malfeasance," he said.
Not only did Rose produce his own documents outlining the recall effort, he even held a press conference to promote it. But now he's saying that he never supported the recall...even though he held a freakin' press conference about it last month. "I had nothing to do with it" is a truly amazing statement to make when you have already done as much as Rose had done. Can you imagine Denver Broncos' quarterback Jay Cutler tossing a crucial interception and then later insisting to reporters that it wasn't him who threw the ball? That's basically what happened here. I don't think people are going to find Rose to be a very credible public official in the near future, but you've got to give him credit for attempting the most absurd backpedal of the year.