Should they have extended the hand that was bitten in return?

The Rapid City Journal is reporting this morning that Whalen Campaign manager Lee Breard has offered his apology to Congresswoman Herseth about the homewrecker comment. And the Herseth camp is accepting it about as I thought they would:
Lee Breard said he contacted Herseth’s South Dakota staff Monday to see if he could call her personally to apologize. But Herseth was busy with public engagements and couldn’t take the call, and staffers were hesitant to give Breard her cell-phone number, spokesman Russ Levsen said Tuesday.

“We appreciate his call and offered to pass along any message he may have by phone or e-mail,” Levsen said.

Breard said Tuesday that he preferred to make an apology directly to Herseth by telephone.

“I don’t think I’m going to e-mail. When you apologize to somebody, it shouldn’t be through e-mail or a letter. It should be one person talking to another,” Breard said. “I want to apologize personally for the comment I made. It was overzealous, just out of bounds.”


Levsen said Breard appeared to be making only half an apology, however.

“We appreciate his willingness to recognize that the home-wrecker part of it was untrue and wrong to circulate,” Levsen said. “But sending around unsubstantiated rumors and lies isn’t fact-finding. It’s dirty politics. It’s unfortunate that Lee Breard is only apologizing for some of the lies he sent around about Stephanie Herseth’s personal life.”
Read it all here. I'm not necessarily a believer in offering apologies to your political opponents. Why? Because of what happened here. Lee offered his personal apology, and Levsen took the opportunity and snapped at his fingers while the hand was extended. I knew that was going to happen.

It might sound harsh, but it's a political campaign. It's a constant and continual game of one-upsmanship. Herseth's crew will likely take the apology and use it as an example to paint the Whalen campaign one way or another. They see the scab on this one, so they're going to keep picking at it until they see blood.

An honest admission of a mistake - which is an honorable thing - and we can already see that the other side is going to use it negatively.


Anonymous said…
Holy crap PP. Only the most partisan person could look at this and say that Breard has been the one acting honorably and that the Herseth campaign is ‘using it negatively’. Breard pulled one of the dumbest moves in recent political history, takes 2 weeks to apologize and then is upset he can’t have the Congresswoman’s personal cell phone number? Give me a break.
Anonymous said…
The accusation was crap, but the admission of a mistake is what was honorable.

The dig back at Breard wasn't, especially for someone who is supposed to be the bigger person.
Anonymous said…
Levsen has no class. Every page in the Democrat playbook must state "Cry foul, play the victim, paint your opponent as the bad guy." And Levsen won't stray from it. Nice of him to kind of accept the apology, and then to cry foul again in the next breath. Never let an opportunity go. Democrats offer nothing by way of superior ideas, so they have to seize every opportunity to prey upon the emotions of people.

By the way, what else is Breard supposed to apologize for, Mr. Levsen?
Anonymous said…
Can you imagine what would happen if Breard was given Stephanie's personal cell phone number? Nobody in their right mind would ever do that.

And why in the hell should Stephanie call that little weasel Breard?

PP, don't turn yourself into a partisan hack just because November 7th is coming up. You know damn well that Thune wouldn't be giving his personal cell number to the other side if this happened to him, and his spinmeister would have been saying exactly the same thing about half an apology. Where's the apology about spreading the rumor Stephanie was pregnant??

Dirty, stupid politics from the Whalen campaign.
Anonymous said…
Never let an opportunity go.

That's the job of a spokesperson, republican or democrat. It's not a matter of honor or class; Bread is a lackluster strategist and Russ is a talented one. There are plenty of cases where the GOP has better spinners on their side, this just wasn't one of them.
Anonymous said…
“By the way, what else is Breard supposed to apologize for”

Maybe the insinuation that the Congresswoman was pregnant. Maybe sending in his candidate to keep asking her in person if it was true. There seems to be plenty to apologize for here. If Breard wasn’t an idiot, he could have avoided this whole situation.
Haggs said…
This was pretty much a no-win situation for Breard. If he doesn't appologize, the Herseth campaign will blast them about it. And if he does try to appologize, they can still blast him.

I like that he made some effort to appologize, but he and Whalen still come off looking like jerks.
Anonymous said…
If Whalen had a chance there would have been someone waiting in the wings to pick up the pieces after Breard was forced to resign ala Larry Russell.

His continued presence as Whalen's campaign manager after a major league screw up only highlights the fact that no one else has any faith in Whalen's candidacy.

Apology or no, Breard didn't have what it took in the first place.
Anonymous said…
Politics as usual? I don't think so.
It's one thing to dig up dirt on an opponent, but telling out-and-out lies is quite another. The fact that Breard waited two weeks before apologizing makes his apology pretty weak. It's bad politics by just about anyone's standards.
Randy said…
PP, you cut out the relevant part about Breard only offering half an apology - as was clearly written in the article, even in the headline! You managed to strip it out entirely.

Breard specifically refused to apologize for some of the stuff he circulated...and that fact is necessary to understanding the Herseth response - what you call snapping at his fingers. Herseth accepted the conditional apology that was offered. Breard kept spinning that the rest of it was just above the board "fact-finding" for which he would not apologize.

What's Herseth supposed to say, "I accept both the apology that you did offer as well as the one you didn't"?

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