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Hartselle Enquirer

Sometimes the eggs are rotten

By Staff
Kim N. Price, Guest Columnist
There's an old saying that proclaims: "Don't count your chickens before your eggs hatch."
Charlton Heston's recent endorsement of Gov. Don Siegelman is a classic example. Heston was invited to come to Alabama to lend support for Republican candidates, including Congressman Bob Riley's gubernatorial campaign, but it's apparent the campaign staff forgot to ask Heston if that meant an endorsement for Riley. It didn't.
Riley's people were dumbfounded when Heston presented the Siegelman campaign with a letter of endorsement during a Saturday meeting in Mobile. It surprised them too.
Riley's spokesman, Pepper Bryars, says the campaign remains confused over the Heston endorsement, but many folks are probably asking why so much weight was put on the campaign swing anyway.
Most folks know Heston for his movie and theatrical roles. His most remembered is his role as Moses in "The Ten Commandments." But most folks would not call him to get a list of candidates to support.
Heston has served as president of the National Rifle Association. In the past, NRA endorsements have been with most national Republicans, but there have been Democrats on the list as well.
Maybe the Riley people thought Moses could part the Alabama sea during his visit. But it didn't turn out that way.
Heston's aide Bill Powers proclaimed: "From the time we began planning this trip, everyone involved knew that Mr. Heston was not going to endorse Mr. Riley. We make it very clear."
Then Bryars, acclaiming Heston as an honorable man, said the endorsement stinks. He tried to make it appear Siegelman and his campaign had manipulated the endorsement. Not so.
The endorsement was verified Monday when the NRA released its endorsements for Nov. 5. Siegelman was still on their list, not Riley. The only other Democrat was Rep. Bud Cramer in the fifth congressional district.
What the endorsement came down to was a grading system by NRA that gave Siegelman and Riley an "A," from the NRA. When that happens, the NRA supports the incumbent. It was the one question the Riley campaign forgot to ask.
So after the chickens had all hatched, Riley and his campaign staff began wiping the egg from their face. How could they forget to ask such a simple question? Why did they think it was a given that Riley would get the endorsement?
Powers said Heston did what he agreed to do and came to Alabama and campaigned for Republicans like Jeff Sessions and Bill Pryor, and Riley.
"It's a shame all this confusion has been created, but everyone knew from the beginning that Heston was not going to endorse Mr. Riley. Everyone."
Based on that statement from Powers, you have to believe it was one of those campaign guffaws that sometimes bites back. This was a big one.
While the Riley campaign is still scratching their head over the turn of fate, the Siegelman people were moving on. The issue was a clear one to them. Next time, you can bet somebody will ask the NRA who they plan to endorse before they make campaign trips on behalf of a certain candidate.
Since the Riley people had nothing to do but cover their tracks with allegations, they had to find a reason and it was apparent it came down to the same philosophy they have had the entire campaign – no facts, just go negative. They could not believe that there was not a set up, that the Siegelman people had manipulated the endorsement.
Powers made it clear it was the NRA's choice to pick Siegelman.
Maybe next time, Riley, a chicken farmer by trade, will have his people counting eggs, not chickens.
Kim N. Price is publisher of The Outlook. He can be reached at 256-234-4281, ext. 27. His e-mail address is kim.price@alexcityoutlook.com