State Democrats today pounced on a story I wrote for Tuesday’s paper about Rob McKenna’s jumbled stance on Obamacare, which comes as no surprise since they’ve given him flack for it since before the Republican even announced his run for governor.
But one news release from state Democratic spokesman Benton Strong caught my eye not for its use of the quotes I reported, but for the quotes he used that I didn’t report.
In the news release criticizing McKenna’s role in the lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act, Strong writes that “by his own statements to the Yakima Chamber of Commerce, Rob McKenna was ‘one of the first AGs to bring that case’ and ‘worked very, very hard’ to overturn the law.”
None of the other local media reported what McKenna said, so how did Strong get quotes that I didn’t include in the story?
In a telephone interview from Seattle, Strong declined to acknowledge whether Democrats had someone in the room recording McKenna. Strong said he “heard from somebody in the room” what McKenna said.
“It was a public forum, so if someone chose to record him there’s nothing wrong with that,” Strong said.
Democratic volunteers have proved adept at following McKenna to try and capture any potential gaffes on tape. McKenna and his team meanwhile have been mindful of the tactic, but it did lead to one public relations flap for McKenna in April when he snapped at a Democratic volunteer outside an event in Seattle.
“You’re just trying to gain a political advantage, sorry,” McKenna told Kendra Obom after she asked him a question about whether state insurance plans should cover abortions. “Why don’t you go get a job?”
Democrats paraded the quote around the Internet on blogs and in a YouTube video, though it ultimately failed to create a lasting furor.