The Tuscaloosa News has a recap of a jaw-dropping meeting between the T-News editorial board and Don Siegelman. Siegelman follows one outrageous statement with another in an interview that seems destined to haunt him throughout his gubernatorial campaign.
Siegelman minced no words in going after Democratic primary opponent Lucy Baxley.
[Siegelman]said the polls show that Alabama voters "don't want a woman controlling the National Guard" and other functions of state government.Indeed, Siegelman thinks that the perceived failures of Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco have spilled into the Alabama race and have already cost Lucy Baxley some support. To prove his hypothesis, Siegelman cites polling evidence:
Siegelman also said that Hurricane Katrina, which has put a spotlight on Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco, could play a role in his race against Baxley, the state's first female lieutenant governor. "Pre-Katrina, we were running about seven or eight points ahead of Lucy," he said. "Post-Katrina, we were running 12 points ahead of Lucy." Siegelman said his poll numbers are higher because surveys by the Alabama Education Association and other organizations raised questions about a female chief executive. "So post-Katrina, the AEA numbers [for Baxley] were, quote, 'falling like a rock,' end of quotes," he said.Siegelman makes a good point...except that apparently it's not true. Or at least so says the AEA's chief pollster:
But Gerald Johnson, the director of the Capitol Survey Research Center, the AEA polling arm, contradicted Siegelman on Tuesday. "Every poll shows that Riley has a substantial lead over Moore in the Republican primary and the Democratic primary is competitive," Johnson said. While he would not say how competitive that race is in poll numbers, Johnson said, "No," when asked if Siegelman was indeed 12 points ahead of Baxley.So, at best, Siegelman is fudging polling numbers and at worst he is deliberately misleading members of the press in order to attack Lucy Baxley.
Oh and another thing, Siegelman expects to be indicted again. But he'll run anyway.
Siegelman, who was tried and acquitted of Medicaid fraud in Tuscaloosa last year, also said Tuesday that he expects a federal grand jury to indict him in Montgomery in the near future. "I am going to weather this one just like I did the last one," he said of possible corruption charges against him. "They would have to shoot me in the head and pull my heart out [to force him from the governor's race]; I am not quitting. "They can kiss my a--, and you can quote me on that, too."Just when many were starting to feel sympathetic for Siegelman as the feds continually harass him, he strikes a deceptive low blow against a fellow Democrat. I may be exageratting the embarrassment to come from this interview, but I really think there is plenty of material here to end Siegelman's comeback bid before it really begins.
Siegelman has been a political institution in Alabama. He has run for state office every four years since 1978! He reached the apex of his political career in 1998 and feels, perhaps justifiably, that he was brought down under false pretenses by political opponents. But Siegelman's day is now passed, and I am afraid the pressure is finally getting to ol' Don.