George Will Responds On Conflict Of Interest Charge

This morning on This Week George Will addressed the conflict of interest charge that James Joyner noted this morning arsing out of the fact that Will’s wife now works for the Perry campaign:

AMANPOUR: And he’s still top of the polls. Let me ask you, George, about Rick Perry, who as we all know had a very, very, very bad week, not just his first bad week. Why should anyone believe that he can turn it around? And I know you want to take care of some personal housekeeping this week, as well.

WILL: Yes, for more than 30 years, my wife, Mari, has been in the political business. She was a speechwriter for Ronald Reagan’s campaign and his White House. She was his last White House director of communications. As part of her profession, which is to consult with businesses and congenial political candidates, she has been in the political business off and on for 30 years. Last Monday, she became part of the Perry campaign, specializing in messaging and debate preparation.

AMANPOUR: Isn’t she banging her fists against her head then?

(LAUGHTER)

WILL: No, that’s what she’s there for, is to fix things. Some of the more excitable and perhaps less mature members of the Romney campaign have tried to make this personal. At the Michigan debate, after the debate, Mari waved to Ann and Mitt Romney. They came over and talked. They’ve been guests at our dinner table. And Romney gave her a kiss on the cheek, and they went their separate ways. They’re both mature professionals.

AMANPOUR: You — you have — when Rick Perry first started to get in, you were quite optimistic about his chances. Do you feel now that he has a chance? I mean, it’s not just his gaffes. It’s his poll numbers.

WILL: Well, he’s got better advisers. Beyond that, his poll numbers are down. He had a steep climb before Wednesday night. This climb got steeper. But I would remind you that in — in 2008 campaign, a presidential candidate gave a speech in Oregon in which he said, “I’ve visited all 57 states and have one more to go.”

 

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, Quick Takes, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed for too young in July 2021.

Comments

  1. When you graft a multimillion-dollar entertainment industry anomalously onto journalism, you produce a bubble of entitlements and exemptions, and eventually, a simple moral derangement.

  2. Jymn says:

    There is nothing in this post that addresses whether Will addressed the ethical issues (“conflict of interest”) of his working for a Republican candidate. One thing for sure, if he was a liberal and his wife worked on the Obama campaign, she would be forced to resign a la the recent NPR resignation.

  3. Tsar Nicholas II says:

    George Will??

  4. James Joyner says:

    @Jymn: Actually, no. While I disagree with the NPR decision–it’s just silly to think that the political activities of a host of a regional music program will somehow compromise the integrity of the show–the network has worked very hard to depict itself as an objective journalistic outet. Will is and always has been an opinion columnist and on-air pundit. He’s never been presented as an objective journalist.

  5. ponce says:

    He’s never been presented as an objective journalist.

    Huh?

    So we should just assume Will’s “opinions” are for sale.

  6. Terrye says:

    Will is a hypocrite. Three years ago he liked Romney just fine..and by the way, Nina Easton’s husband works for the Romney campaign and she always makes a point of saying that before she gives an opinion. She does not wait for someone else to make an issue of it.

  7. ponce says:

    Will is a hypocrite.

    The surest sign that someone is a member of an aristocracy is they get to keep their job no matter how poorly they perform it.

  8. @Terrye:

    A lot of people liked Romney four years ago that don’t like him now. James addressed that in his original post this morning, as well as others over the past several months.

  9. @ponce:

    I don’t think there’s anyone who pays attention to politics who doesn’t know that George Will is politically connected. Good lord, he helped with Reagan’s debate prep in 1980 and (I think) 1984. He’s the epitome of establishment conservatism.

    This is as much news as if someone were to report that the sun rises in the East.

    Nonetheless, I enjoy reading his columns.

  10. ponce says:

    Doug,

    I know Will is a whore.

    My complaint is he’s a lousy one.

    The American Right hasn’t had a decent pundit since William F. went to that all white country club in the sky.

  11. Ponce,

    There are plenty of lousy “pundit whores” on the left too. Olbermann, Schultz, Maddow, O’Donnell, Matthews. Need I go on?

  12. The Colourfield says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Yes, the flat out lies on climate change are entertaining.

  13. WR says:

    @Doug Mataconis: Yes, he helped with Reagan’s debate prep, and then gave commentary on how brilliantly Reagan did in the debate without disclosing — for several years — his role in it. That he was forced to read a statement on this particular conflict doesn’t mean he isn’t now and wasn’t then a sleazeball. It just means that ABC’s standards have gotten a little stricter. Although they let some creep from the Breitbart team in on their round table, so maybe not…

  14. ponce says:

    There are plenty of lousy “pundit whores” on the left too. Olbermann, Schultz, Maddow, O’Donnell, Matthews. Need I go on?

    Doug,

    “The other side does it too,” is the laziest argument you can make.

    It was a comment worthy of a George Will.

    The thing that made Buckley special was he didn’t try to pretend the Republicans weren’t the party of rich racists who felt they should run America.

    He embraced it and argued why they should get to run America.

    Watching mediocrities like George Will trying to pretend they are the voice oif the masses is…painful.

  15. An Interested Party says:

    “The other side does it too,” is the laziest argument you can make.

    Indeed…much like…

    …in 2008 campaign, a presidential candidate gave a speech in Oregon in which he said, “I’ve visited all 57 states and have one more to go.”

  16. gVOR08 says:

    @ponce: On the basis of several of his columns, yes, you should assume his opinions are for sale. It’s difficult to understand his willingness to lie about global warming without assuming money from Exxon or Koch or someone like them.

    And Joyner, you’re supposed to be the connected Republican insider, what the H is Will doing? What alternative to Romney is he trying to support? Why? You earlier made a good case, based on timing, that he’s not backing up his wife, so what is he doing?

  17. matt b says:

    @Jymn:

    One thing for sure, if he was a liberal and his wife worked on the Obama campaign, she would be forced to resign a la the recent NPR resignation.

    @James Joyner:

    While I disagree with the NPR decision–it’s just silly to think that the political activities of a host of a regional music program will somehow compromise the integrity of the show–the network has worked very hard to depict itself as an objective journalistic outet.

    James, Jymn was actually referring to Michelle Norris who left hosting/anchored All Things Considered (the afternoon/evening news show) after her husband joined the Obama re-election campaign:
    http://www.politico.com/blogs/onmedia/1011/_NPR_hosts_husband_joins_Obama_campaign.html