Saturday, July 10, 2004

Updated: July 10, 2004 at 5:30 pm. Gary Skoien, Cook County GOP Chairman and Palatine Township Republican Committeeman, on Jack Ryan: "They were really, really disgusted...with Jack...had it been handled the right way... this would not have been an issue, at all, whatsoever."

This Monday night, July 12 at 8:30 pm on Cable Ch. 21, Public Affairs, airing through-out the City of Chicago, features Cook County GOP Chairman Gary Skoien debating and discussing the Jack Ryan withdrawal and Ryan potential replacements with show host Jeff Berkowitz. The show will also air at a special time in ten Chicago North Shore and North suburbs on Comcast Cable Ch. 19 this Monday night at 9:30 pm [for area airing details, see the end of the partial transcript of the show, included below]

Skoien discusses with Berkowitz, show host and legal recruiter, some of the issues relating to Jack Ryan's decision to withdraw as the Republican U. S. Senate Candidate [But, is Jack Ryan now re-considering that decision], the process to select a replacement for Jack Ryan, the potential replacements and the re-building of the Cook County Republican Party. A partial transcript of the show is included, below:
Jeff Berkowitz: [recorded on June 26, 2004] we will look forward most of the show, but looking back just a bit there seemed to be a split during the last week, that is [during] the week that led up to Jack Ryan's decision to step down as the nominee of the Republican Party for the U. S. Senate [however, as of July 10, Jack Ryan has not filed the appropriate papers to withdraw]...Bill Frist who is the Senate Majority leader and Republican U. S. Senator from Tennessee; George Allen, the Senator who is the head of the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee; [both] seemed very supportive of Jack Ryan in the days leading up to his making his decision [to withdraw]. Peter Fitzgerald, the current junior senator from the State of Illinois and in a sense the person who has created all of this, by his decision not to seek reelection-- he [Fitzgerald] was also quite quite supportive of Jack Ryan. It appears from what we hear from the political pundits, the press and elsewhere that there were a lot of local GOP leaders who were not as supportive for a variety of reasons that Jack Ryan continue [in the Senate Race]. You seem to be one of them. Is that right?

Gary Skoien: Well, you know I waited to actually call for his withdrawal, but I think one of the problems that the people in Washington had was that they were not hearing the pulse of the voters, and we had a tremendous number of people-- tremendous is probably an exaggeration, a significant number of people-- calling the office, the campaign office in Palatine. I had actually handwritten notes and emails from people. They were really, really disgusted. And, you know, whether--

Berkowitz: They were disgusted at what?

Skoien: They were disgusted with Jack. And, you know, it falls into a couple of different areas. I think there were women voters who didn't like the fact that these documents said that he was coercive in his relationship with his wife[But did the documents even allege that he was coercive? See the June 29 blog entry, below, on Chicago Sun-Times columnist Mark Brown and more on that issue in Blog entries to follow]. You know, whether or not--

Berkowitz: Documents of course were allegations made by his ex-wife.

Skoien: I understand, they were allegations.

Berkowitz: who actually said, of course, that she supported Jack and thought he would be a very good U. S. Senator.

Skoien: I--

Berkowitz: Notwithstanding that, the women were still upset.

Skoien: All I am doing is articulating what different groups were saying.

Berkowitz: What you heard.

Skoien: Exactly, and I happen to not necessarily fall into this first camp. There was another group that were just upset by the nature of the behavior[or the alleged behavior?]. And, there was a third group-- and that is probably the group I fell into- that thought, much like Nixon and Clinton-- it wasn't the act itself, it was the follow-up to the Act, and how Jack had represented himself over what was in the documents. And, that was, I think, the unfortunate part about it. I feel bad for Jack. I honestly think had it been handled the right way, this would not have been an issue, at all, whatsoever.

Berkowitz: The right way would have been what?

Skoien: The right way would have been the George [W.] Bush approach. They spent a lot of time getting out the fact that when George Bush was younger, he did a lot of drinking and had a drinking problem.

Berkowitz: When he was young and irresponsible, he was young and irresponsible, his press people said.

Skoien: Right, exactly. And, if Jack had just said, look, you know there is going to be this-- divorce documents, there are these allegations and here is specifically what they say. It would have been a non-issue, absolutely a non-issue.
Berkowitz: Poor judgment on his part or poor judgment on the part of the people who were advising him not to do what you suggested?

Skoien: Well, you know, the buck stops with the candidate. I think he was getting poor advice and I think it just compounded itself. This week was kind of poorly handled, in addition. The announcment was done on a day that kind of stepped on the announcment about Edgar being the head of the [President] Bush campaign [in Illinois], etc.

Berkowitz: Okay, so some poor tactical and perhaps some poor strategic decisions?

Skoien: Correct.

Berkowitz: But now, as we look at it, there is a range of people who are being suggested, or at least, that the [Republican] State Central Committee should be looking at as the person who would be running for the Republican Party for the U. S. Senate seat... well, let me ask you, who is the number one person you are hearing?

Skoien: ...well, let me start with this, the No. 1 choice I think of most people would be Jim Edgar, in the Party. The problem is- Jim Edgar is not going to do it.

Berkowitz: He has said no. Unequivocally.

Skoien: Absolutely. Unequivocally. Does not want to do it.
Gary Skoien, as recorded on June 26, 2004, on "Public Affairs," and as will be cablecast this coming Monday night, July 12 through-out the City of Chicago on CANTV, Cable Ch. 21 at 8:30 pm and also, in a special airing on Monday, July 12 at 9:30 pm on Comcast Cable Ch. 19 in the North Shore and North suburbs of Kenilworth, Winnetka, Glencoe, Highland Park, Highwood, Deerfield, Ft. Sheridan, Bannockburn, Lincolnshire and Riverwoods.