Siegelman unloads about investigation
Bob Ingram, Alabama Scene
MONTGOMERY-Say what you must about Don Siegelman, and a lot has been said, but nobody gives a better interview than he does.
For proof, look no further than a couple of interviews he granted last week…one with the Tuscaloosa News, the other with the Birmingham News.
In a matter of a few minutes he told the federal prosecutors who are investigating his past administration to kiss his rear end…he surely offended a few women by wondering out loud if a woman should be governor, and then he made no bones about the fact that he expects to win the Democratic nomination because of the Black Bloc vote.
Siegelman's strong words about the federal prosecutors caused him to issue an apology the following day.
In the first interview, after calling the grand jury probes politically motivated, Siegelman sent a message to the prosecutors: "They can kiss my a-, and you can quote me on that."
Twenty four hours later, in talking to Mike Cason of the Birmingham News, Siegelman apologized for that remark.
"I should not have said it that way…my mother would probably like to come down from heaven and wash my mouth out with soap."
On the question of a woman serving as governor…and of course his opponent in the Democratic Primary is Lt. Gov. Lucy Baxley…he said he had polling data that suggested that Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco's response to Hurricane Katrina raised the question in the minds of some voters as to whether a woman should be commander of the National Guard.
He quickly added those were not his feelings but only a reflection of the polling data.
Be sure Lt. Gov. Baxley responded swiftly, calling Siegelman's remarks "insulting not only to women but to all Alabamians."
It was in reacting to the announcement by ousted Chief Justice Roy Moore that he planned to run for governor as a Republican which prompted Siegelman's comments on the black vote.
Siegelman said Moore's candidacy meant that many white conservative voters would be attracted to the GOP primary which would raise the proportion of black voters in the Democratic Primary.
"I know I have a strong relationship with African-American voters," he added.
Siegelman's outspoken interviews stole some of the spotlight from Moore, who early last week made it official that he would run for governor.
At his kick-off in Gadsden the man known almost entirely for his Ten Commandments stand sought to come off more gubernatorial. He addressed a laundry list of issues far removed from that subject…no new taxes, improving schools, term limits on legislators, to mention a few.
There had been a handful of folks who thought Moore might pass up the governor's race and run instead for his old job as chief justice but that was not his decision.
With Moore's entry into the race the field for the 2006 gubernatorial campaign is set and what a field it is. The Democrat Primary will feature the two most recognizable members of that party…Baxley and Siegelman…and the Republican Primary will feature the GOP's top facecards…Moore and Gov. Bob Riley.
If politics turns you on, you couldn't ask for more than this.
The state ended the 2004-05 fiscal year last week with an enormous surplus thanks to a booming economy. A surplus was created in the Special Education Trust Fund of an incredible $265 million. The General Fund, from which most state operations other than schools and highways are funded, closed out the year with a $34 million surplus.
State Finance Director Jim Main's reaction to the glowing news: "It couldn't have been better."
Now comes even better news. It has been announced that property adjacent to American Village has been selected as the site for a national veteran's cemetery.
There couldn't be a more appropriate final resting place for the men and women who wore the suit of their country.