-- by Dave
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Joe Miller may not be answering questions about anything to any reporters in Alaska, but he's more than happy to go on Fox News and get a Hannity Job -- you know, one of those appearances where Sean strokes you, tosses you a bunch of softballs, and lets you promote your campaign and issue non-answers whenever you like.
Sure, Joe's fellow Alaska Republicans may think it's a bad idea for Miller to avoid answering appropriate questions about his past:
No electable candidate can seriously pursue public office without implicitly saying to voters, "I promise to be ethical, honest and accountable and to make my candidacy as open and transparent as possible." It is unacceptable -- and certainly not a winning strategy -- to explicitly refuse to answer reasonable questions about oneself, and to disrespect the Alaska public and the press' right to do so before the questions have even been asked.
So what does Miller do? He goes on Fox with Hannity, who asks him about the letter -- and Miller, rather than answer, simply deflects the question, saying it's just another feeble attempt by his opponents to try to keep Alaskans from thinking about his bright and shiny future Alaska free, free at last! from federal influence.
In fact, that's Miller's answer to all of Hannity's soft questions, including those about how his militia/security goons roughed up and handcuffed a reporter at one of his events. And you'll note that Hannity doesn't even bring up the matter of the goons' hard-core militia background.
And perhaps sensing that this wasn't enough, he also trotted out the weird claim that Hopfinger followed him into the men's room at the event.
This is, of course, not just a bogus smoke screen but a lie. Hopfinger was tackled by thugs when Hopfinger tried to ask him questions immediately after Miller had given a speech -- there was no men's room involved in the "arrest" incident.
There was, however, a brief meeting between the two in the men's room before Miller spoke -- but only because Hopfinger happened to be using the men's room at the same time, not because he had followed Miller in there.
The incident was described in one of the Dispatch's early reports on the whole affair:
Hopfinger seemed still baffled by the events Sunday night. "This is a public school," he said. "This is a public event," adding that Miller clearly knew whom he was talking to because the men had earlier exchanged pleasantries in the men's restroom.
Hopfinger said he didn't think that was the time or place to ask Miller difficult questions about what happened in Fairbanks. He figured, he said, it would be better to wait until after Miller was done with his town hall meeting and ask the questions then.
Full disclosure: I took note of this aspect of the story because I thought it was funny -- especially having been in the same situation: Reporter runs into the men's room before an event and winds up in urinal next to the person you're there to cover -- and for whom you have some tough questions that he has been evading. It may flash briefly in your mind to ask them there and then -- but for most working journalists, common sense and decency restrains them.
I called the Dispatch to confirm that Hopfinger had in fact not followed Miller into the men's room. Hopfinger was unavailable, but one of his reporters confirmed this was the case, saying he had never met Miller before and just happened to wander into the men's restroom at the same time.
I think it says everything about Joe Miller's paranoid state of mind that he assumed that Hopfinger followed him in.
[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]