Jay Inslee and James Watkins on Lies and Political Point Scoring

During the congressional debate between incumbent Democrat Jay Inslee and Republican James Watkins last week Inslee made the case there in the American Legion Hall on Bainbridge Island that he had sponsored the bill that renamed the post office in Rolling Bay after John “Bud” Hawk.

Watkins criticized Inslee for not being at the actual dedication. Inslee asked if that wasn’t a low blow, given that he was fulfilling his constitutional duty voting in D.C. Watkins said no it wasn’t a low blow, that if he, Watkins, had passed that bill, he “damn sure would have been there when they were dedicating it, too.”

Later, Watkins posted a press release saying that Inslee at the debate was “exposed as a liar,” because the same day as the post office dedication, Inslee was in Seattle speaking to “corporate CEOs.” On Factcheckjayinslee.com, Watkins’ campaign wrote, “What a dishonor to Bud Hawk!”

Several blogs have taken the information and called Inslee a liar for his comments. I’ve had people e-mailing and calling me on the phone asking about it.

Inslee did come to Seattle that same day to speak to the Prosperity Partnership, which does have “corporate CEOs” as members, probably many of them. On the organization’s board are an official from Boeing, Microsoft and Uwajimaya.

On that board there is also someone from the Washington State Labor Council AFL-CIO, the University of Washington, Washington State University, Seattle Community Colleges, the mayor of Everett and the YWCA. Additionally, Bremerton, Bainbridge Island, four members of Congress and Washington’s two senators, Dick’s Drive-In, El Centro de la Raza, Kitsap County and the Group Health Community Foundation count themselves as a small portion of organizations listed as partners.

The group focuses on economic development for the region.

In addition to the press release, Watkins’ campaign published a video on YouTube with Inslee and Watkins going back and forth on the Hawk dedication. Both appear below.

In writing the House story this weekend, I noted that Inslee said he was voting, that he had spoken to the Prosperity Partnership that day. That was true. I did not write, as Watkins did, that Inslee was lying, because I was allowing for the idea that Inslee either didn’t recall what he was doing, or that voting had actually gotten in the way. I didn’t watch the Prosperity Partnership video of Inslee speaking at the luncheon until Tuesday.

What Inslee said at the debate sounded like during the Bud Hawk event he was on the floor voting in D.C., which was not true. It was true, however, that voting the night before went late enough that he would have missed his scheduled flight home. Had he made that flight, he would have had time to attend the Bud Hawk event, then get on a ferry to get to the Prosperity Partnership luncheon. So, the message that voting got in the way of him attending the Hawk ceremony was correct and not a lie.

Joby Shimomura with Inslee’s campaign said voting the day before, Feb. 25, went later than expected. The last vote was taken at 7:46 p.m. and congressional records show Inslee voted. The last flights out of Ronald Reagan or Dulles to Seattle leave around 5:30 p.m. Inslee was too late for those, so he boarded a flight the next morning that got into Seattle around 11 a.m. The Bud Hawk event started at 10 a.m. “For Watkins to suggest that Jay lied about that is incredibly infuriating,” Shimomura said.

The luncheon was, surprisingly enough, at lunchtime. Inslee made the lunch, not the dedication. If you watch the Prosperity Partnership video, it is clear that he flew into Seattle that morning. Inslee makes specific reference to the weather flying in. “I saw this fog and cloud bank,” he said.

For his part, Hawk said he wasn’t bothered by Inslee not being there. “People do what they can. If they can’t be there they can’t . . . I’d like to have shared the occasion with him, (but) it didn’t bother me,” he said.

Watkins, hearing Inslee’s explanation, ceded no ground. He said there are red-eye flights from DC to Los Angeles that can get someone to Seattle earlier than when Inslee arrived. “He could have been there had he wanted to, but he chose not to,” Watkins said. “He chose other things instead of going to the ceremony for Bud Hawk.”

Assuming the planes were not full on Feb. 25, Inslee could have flown to Atlanta, then caught a flight to Seattle and arrived early in the morning, spending the night in airports and on planes. Chances are it also would have cost more to make that kind of change in plans. Since I am not the regular traveler I once was, I don’t know. If it does cost more, it comes out of the congressman’s travel allowance, provided by you and me in our taxes.

Instead, Shimomura said, Inslee called Hawk the day before to let him know it was unlikely he would make it, and that Hawk was fine with it. I asked Hawk, a World War II hero, but he didn’t recall too many details about the event, blaming it on age. He’s 86. “I’ve got my name written down here somewhere,” he joked. Someone somewhere threw postponement into the conversation, but invitations had been sent, Shimomura said.

Besides, “This whole thing was about Bud Hawk, not Jay Inslee,” Shimomura said. “He (Hawk) should be bothered that James Watkins is using it as a political issue.”

In Inslee’s official statement, he said much the same:

“When I called Bud to tell him that I couldn’t be there he appreciated that I got this bill passed to honor him.  What I don’t appreciate is anyone using this war hero to prop up their failed campaign. I couldn’t attend the opening because of votes and I was on a plane during the event, not at a lunch. The event was about Bud Hawk, not Jay Inslee or James Watkins.”

On Tuesday I received an e-mail that read in part: “If you will review the tapes of the night that were posted on Watkins’ website and forwarded to me, Inslee lied to the crowd. If the facts are born out he was at a luncheon with Mullaly and some others in Seattle at the time of the dedication. I have no problem with him not being there but I do have a real problem with his moral outrage when, if the facts are correct, he lied outright.”

Later I was out stalking neighborhoods for campaign signs when I received a call from the 425 area code. A nice man identified himself as a Watkins volunteer and wanted to address the “lie.” I told him what I knew to that point about late voting, etc. From my impression he still believes that Inslee was “exposed as a liar.”

Recently I have heard people say that this is the worst election season ever for peddling bull and negative ads. I typically don’t believe it anytime someone says something is the worst or best ever, but this time I wonder. The Murray-Rossi ads, the initiative commercials and the stuff we get in the mail all seem to have at least been designed to take kernels of truth and distort them so that we will believe something that is not certifiably true. I have to admit; this election season has made me wearier than I can ever recall.

If you use truth to get me to believe a lie, it’s a lie, and you’re a liar. If you know what you are saying is not true, then you are a liar. If you don’t know, then maybe you’re just wrong. Maybe you are careless, but you are not a liar. If what you are saying is true, you are not a liar, even if I misinterpret what you said.

Inslee and Watkins debated important issues that night: health care, job creation, deficit spending and energy. They have real differences on those issues. Inslee has a voting record and Watkins has made his priorities clear. Their opinions and their actions could have a real impact on you and me.

So given the fact that the candidates are clearly different on the big issues, who are the people who would vote differently based on what was said about the Bud Hawk ceremony? Was anyone leaning toward Inslee, but now will vote for Watkins, because you are so disgusted by Inslee’s inartful explanation for missing it? On the other side, is there anyone who was leaning toward Watkins, but is now disgusted by how he has played up this issue?

The Watkins press release and the video follows.

Watkins’ press release on the debate statement.

Jay Inslee Caught in a Cover-up During Debate with Watkins
By Christy, on Oct 21, 2010

LYNNWOOD—Jay Inslee, 14-year Congressman and potential candidate for governor in 2012, was exposed as a liar in his debate Monday with challenger James Watkins.

Inslee missed a ceremony to rename a post office for local Medal of Honor recipient Bud Hawk, but it wasn’t because Inslee was in DC voting as he claimed. He was in fact at a luncheon with corporate CEOs in Seattle.

The issue arose when Inslee focused on his efforts to pass the bill in honor of Hawk in his opening remarks. Watkins, who attended the renaming ceremony, announced that Inslee wasn’t even there.

Calling the allegation “outrageous,” Inslee proclaimed he was in Washington DC, “voting [and] fulfilling my constitutional duty.”

The record shows Inslee wasn’t in Washington DC at all – he missed 6 roll call votes. It turns out that during Bud Hawk’s ceremony, Inslee chose to have lunch in Seattle with corporate CEO’s.

“This is what Inslee says with loyal supporters in the same room. It alarms me to think what he does 2500 miles away in the back rooms of Washington, DC,” says Watkins. “1st District voters want and deserve a transparent government and real leadership.”

James Watkins is the only candidate who helped cut spending at the federal level while working at the FDIC, and he has helped create thousands of private sector jobs in all fifty states. For more information, visit www.WatkinsForCongress.com.

The following is the video Watkins posted. The commenting function was disabled on YouTube.

6 thoughts on “Jay Inslee and James Watkins on Lies and Political Point Scoring

  1. Oh, gee. When will they learn to just discuss the issues instead of trying to make points with ill-advised personal attacks on their opponents? Have they no shame? They sure don’t have any civility, and that could erode their credibility.

    Port Orchard

  2. Inslee is such a whiner. I was at the debate, and Inslee made a big deal of being in D.C. on the Day of the ceremony, doing his duty and voting in Congress, and then attacked Watkins for even questioning him! Inslee lied, got caught, and like a politician sent somebody else out to fix it.

    At the end of the day, I guess a Medal of Honor recipient just isn’t that important to Inslee.

    Whatever. I’m voting for Watkins.

  3. Ask James Watkins why he did not uphold his very public promise made to a room full (over 170 people) of local 9-12 group that he would read, sign and support the petitions to bring forth the public initiatives to the ballot? We have confirmed that he only signed one instead of all of them like he promised.

    Ask him why he told people at a candidate event before the primary that Mathew Burke had dropped out of the race when in fact he had not?

    Ask him if the military and people who have served this country are so very important to him why he chose to be the only candidate at the 9-12 Memorial Event for the Twin Tower beams who was actively campaigning in a most classless and shameless way for votes and was handing out campaign literature during the ceremony? Interrupting and promoting himself while all of the other participants were attempting to honor and reflect on the moment? There were several other candidates running for office in attendance at the event. But they had the dignity and class to be there as simple citizens and not as a vote pandering hussy.

  4. Did Inslee lie? Is Inslee a liar? That all depends on what the meaning of “is” is. I happen to be the caller you mentioned with the “425” area code. And I proudly support James Watkins because he is not a “Jay Inlsee”.

    In comparison; Watkins is “down-to-earth” and Inslee is just another elite that is out of touch. Inslee, as it seems, can’t be bothered by constituents that disagree with him, like those at town halls across America where “health care reform” and “Cap & Trade” were hot topics. The issue remains that it was partisan politics shoving unpopular agendas down our throat. Representatives, like Inslee, in districts all across America refused to listen. They are so arrogant to think they “know better” and now we are stuck with a much worse, even more unsustainable health care system in result. We were told “change is coming” and told to step out of the way while they carried out their narrow-minded & radical agenda. Their agenda, which is rapidly increasing premiums, is proving itself to be both destructive to our economy and to our health care system. Health care, by the way is best left to the private sector! France finally conceded that after 50 years. Besides, here in America, government has no business intruding into our personal lives and sever our doctor/patient relationship. However a tyrannical government will proceed despite public outcry.

    In case Inslee completely misunderstood what this massive public outcry was and still is, it can be summed up in one word. NO! That’s NO to your narrow world view and agenda. As if gov’t must provide a safety net for everyone that makes bad choices in life and offer “free” health care if injured. We meant “NO!” to both gov’t run “health care” and “NO!” to Cap & Trade. Both of those schemes are job killing, bureaucratic boondoggles that are unsustainable. And you falsely claimed (lied) it would lower premiums among a lot of other misleading details. A massive new entitlement program and the bureaucracy behind it will cost us dearly. And we see that in most everything gov’t controls. Paying the interest on the current debt that this congress has run up is a massive burden and completely irresponsible. Never mind all this fuss, Inslee refused to listen to common sense by way of practical alternatives, like health insurance portability state to state, Tort Reform and clearing away all the gov’t mandates. All of which drive-up cost to consumers. But lesson be learned, Inslee failed to listen to those who disagree with him. They are like involuntary passengers stuck in his Government Motors sedan. They are screaming “STOP” while Inslee keeps his foot firmly planted on the accelerator as he drives them over a cliff. Inslee’s supporters might blame the car manufacturer…in this case they tend to just blame America anyway.

    Inslee begrudgingly agreed to host two town halls…that’s two better than Patty Murray! Ha! Obviously, Inslee didn’t warm up to the idea of hosting any town hall and he was clearly irritated to have to participate in this debate. I don’t trust a man who says he will “take our ideas back to DC”, then he “rubber stamped” nearly everything Pelosi and the president were pushing. All three of these radicals are known by their extreme left voting record. A radical perspective that I’ll argue only 5% of the US population is stuck on. It’s not just constitutional and fiscal conservatives who are incensed by this 111th Congress, which has failed miserably to represent us, it’s also independents and democrats who are speaking out for the same valid reason. Pelosi is so far left, she has alienated most of America, but somehow she speaks for the House? Sure, the House of Misrepresentatives! No, she speaks for Media Matters and George Soros, the Sierra Club and all other fringe left political groups. These political groups represent special interests that prop her and Inslee up.

    Similar to Pelosi, Inslee is so far off the edge of reality he probably thinks Al Gore is some sort of genius. Gore is a fraud, just look at the fraud discovered at East Anglia…where they cooked the books in regard to climate change to finance their money grubbing research scam. And Gore stands to be a billionaire…and someone once told me to “follow the money” and you will find corruption. This whole mess about trading carbon credits on Wall Street is a scam. And America is the political victim despite our best effort to curb emissions. And AGW/global warming/cooling/climate change, by the way, is NOT scientifically proven. SOME scientists conclude AGW (Anthropogenic Global Warming) is real, and many liberal politicians frequently claim it as “scientific fact” and by doing so play on people’s fears. Using unfounded data, like the phony “hockey stick” line graph to create hysteria. You know, Bainbridge Island will be underwater in 10 years if we don’t trade carbon credits on Wall Street. It’s that absurd!

    The point is, we have no reason to trust Jay Inslee, since his leanings and priorities are so wacky. “Cap & Trade” is a massive tax and an attack on America’s economy at the worst possible moment. You can’t reduce unemployment when you destroy more jobs than you create. Besides, gov’t can’t realistically create a job unless budgeting $240,000 per job is justifiable. And the political rhetoric that creating “green jobs” will boost or sustain our economy is ridiculous, as are the politicians who promote that flawed logic.

    Back to the main topic: During the debate at the American Legion, Jay Inslee had a lot of nerve to exploit Bud Hawk by trumpeting the bill he passed right from the get to. He is no friend to our military and probably thinks he can play both fields by using Bud Hawk. And when challenged why he failed to show up for Hawk’s dedication he became defensive and frankly lied to deflect the charge. It’s that simple.

    Jay is a clever/slick politician who usually can weasel his way out of a corner, but not this time. Like I said before, during the town hall he gave the impression he would “take our ideas back to DC” when it came to health care. But he misled us. Now, when cornered he foolishly said he was voting in DC…and “honoring us”? It’s not what he said, it’s how he said it. What counts is what he implied, not some lame story later on. Most in the audience understood what he meant because he delivered a response that was clear and deliberate.

    Inslee must have known he was being disingenuous but probably thought he could get away with it. Of course, he can always defer to the media to give him a pass. And it seems this article is an effort to defend him. And probably some of you are buying that defense. However, Inslee as a political figure is not above reproach. He should face the music, but is a coward. He played the victim card by accusing Watkins of failing to inform his constituents he was “voting in DC”. As in voting THAT day in particular. Ironically, it was Inslee who failed to tell us constituents the complete truth, and therefore lied.

    Inslee retaliated in anger and knew he would garner a sympathetic response from his flock of neighbors in the audience. He is that shallow, another empty suit that claims to know all and be all to everyone. Sort of like how we can expect gov’t to begin to serve all our needs (food, shelter, & health care), increase quality and reduce cost at the same time. His allegiance is clear; he serves only one master, his beloved special interest groups (already mentioned). It’s time to dump this phony. A representative is not beholden to just those in his district, he is responsible to the constitution and to all of America when he votes in DC. He has severed the trust of the many of us who are aware and duly discontent; you know the ones who simply reject his radical agenda. He is a miserable failure…yet has the nerve to run as governor of our state?

    Inslee is simply dishonest, which is no surprise. Did anyone previously know Inslee was potentially running for governor? NO, because Inslee would not honestly answer such questions, which began several months ago. At some point after the election, he will have to announce his intentions. And we should remind him of his current duty if happens to be re-elected. Inslee is politician who is looking out for his own best interest and the next meal ticket. It’s probably a strategy to groom him-self for a presidential bid in 2016.

    Watkins has a good point; what use do we have with a career politician who is using re-election to one office only to go into campaign mode for another office? Inslee will not admit it’s an inconvenient and significant conflict of interest. Honestly, Inslee is a phony.

  5. BrutallyHonest, congratulations…you got that half right. It’s Excellent versus Bad. Watkins is THE Excellent candidate. There is no question about that.

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