When I received the email announcing the press conference –
RICHMOND, VA – Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates William J. Howell (R – Stafford) will host a press conference detailing the results of the 2012 Rich States, Poor States survey, an annual assessment by the American Legislative Exchange Council ranking states based on business climate, growth indicators and other factors.
– a couple of thoughts immediately came to mind. Given all of the press surrounding ALEC, why would the Speaker be holding a press conference touting them? Wouldn’t the Speaker be subjecting himself – unnecessarily – to some tough questions from the reporters present?
Who thought this was a good idea? What could possibly go wrong?
As it turns out, it wasn’t a tough question that tripped up the Speaker. Instead, it was his own flippant remark:
I guess I’m not speaking in little enough words for you to understand.
I’m a smart girl, actually. I went to the University of Virginia and benefitted from public education in Virginia. I think words with multiple syllables will be just fine for me.
I ask again: who thought this press conference was a good idea? All it did was make the Speaker look like an arrogant jerk.
UPDATE: At 4pm Friday, Speaker Howell released a public statement, in which he says he has apologized:
After the news conference, I responded to a series of questions from Anna Scholl, Executive Director of ProgressVA, in a manner that was not consistent with my own standards of civility or reflective of the way I believe discussions over public policy disagreements should be conducted. I have since called Ms. Scholl and offered my sincere and heartfelt apology for my comments to her.
Good for the Speaker.