Annie Baxter tried to get the facts on how many debates Rep. Michele Bachmann is committing to in the waning days of the 2010 election, but she couldn’t get a straight answer — so the Minnesota Public Radio reporter posted the exchange for readers to decide whether or not Bachmann has agreed to debate her opponents. Bachmann’s spokesman Sergio Gor made a straightforward question into a complicated game of wordplay.
Here’s a portion of the exchange:
GOR: There are all sorts of new venues and new clubs and organizations around the district, and then there are the news outlets, so we pick and choose.
BAXTER: Sure. But you will be participating in more than one debate?
GOR: I can’t confirm that. We confirmed with several venues about participating. That’s where I’m going to leave it at.
BAXTER: When you say you confirmed… you mean you RSVP’d? You’re not saying you affirmatively responded?
GOR: We’ve affirmatively responded.
BAXTER: You have affirmatively responded to more than one venue.
GOR: To several, correct.
BAXTER: That means you are participating in more than one debate?
GOR: Those are your words.
BAXTER: It just doesn’t make sense to me. If you’ve affirmatively responded….
GOR: That’s all you’re going to get out of me. Rephrasing the question in different ways doesn’t get you a different answer. I’ve said all I can. You know this, Annie, come on. We’ve confirmed with several venues.
BAXTER: “Affirmatively confirmed” would, to most people, mean you’ve said yes.
BAXTER: I just want to make sure that’s what you’re saying.
BAXTER: So it does mean more than one debate?
GOR: We’ve confirmed with several venues affirmatively.
BAXTER: I just don’t know what you’re saying. I just don’t know. But I don’t want to misrepresent it.
GOR: Just say: the venues will be announced when the organizers want to announce them, but yes, we have confirmed several venues.
BAXTER: Okay. And by confirmed you mean you are attending.
Update: In a release Monday morning, Bachmann’s challenger, DFL state Sen. Tarryl Clark, announces dates she’s agreed to:
October 12th: Debate hosted by the Stillwater Gazette, Stillwater
October 15th: Debate hosted by North Metro Television, Blaine
October 18th: Debate hosted by the Monticello Chamber of Commerce, Monticello
October 26th: Debate hosted by the Minnesota News Network, St. Cloud
October 31st: At Issue, KSTP Studios
In a statement accompanying the release, Clark’s campaign manager, Zach Rodvold, asks, “Michele Bachmann finds time to travel the country, attending rallies and raising big money for her campaign, but she can’t find a few hours for her constituents?”