Saturday, February 16, 2008

He doesn't do hallways

From Bob Hague, a reporter at Wisconsin Radio Network:
My encounters with Congressman James Sensenbrenner over the years have been few and far between. Our only face to face meeting must have been sometime in the late '80s, in Rice Lake for a Lincoln Day dinner, if memory serves. So I was interested in a rare opportunity to see Sensenbrenner in action Monday, and in Madison, of all places. The occasion was a conference on global warming, sponsored by and Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin was also there, but I missed her remarks.

Anyway, Sensenbrenner delivered his speech, on why cap-and-trade schemes designed to reduce greenhouse gasses are a bad deal for the U.S. in general and Wisconsin in particular. The attendees gave him their respectful attention and there was an interesting q&a session. That done, I unplugged my recorder and headed out into the hallway at the Monona Terrace Convention Center to see if I could get a second story (we're always looking) about who Sensenbrenner might be backing for the GOP presidential nomination.

I had set my coat and bag on a couch and was just getting ready to plug in my microphone when Sensenbrenner emerged from the meeting room, with a print reporter at his elbow. "Congressman, could you give some specific examples of . . . " was all this other reporter managed to get out before Sensenbrenner snapped out "I don't give hallway interviews!" and, pulling on his topcoat, barked to a couple of his staffers, "let's get the heck out of here!"

I wonder whether Sensenbrenner has never given hallway interviews, or if he stopped after what happened to Congressman Dave Obey?