(Breaking, 2:30 p.m.: Hudak apologizes to Brown. See Tony Schinella’s comment for details.)
Three new developments in the matter of whether U.S. Sen.-elect Scott Brown endorsed congressional candidate William Hudak, who reportedly has denied that President Obama was born in the United States (he now denies the denial), and who offended his Boxford neighbors during the 2008 presidential campaign by putting a sign on his property comparing Obama to Osama bin Laden.
1. Brown tells the Boston Globe that Hudak put out a press release touting Brown’s endorsement without his knowledge or permission. “I haven’t spoken to Bill at all,’’ Brown said. “I understand he made a press release of some sort. But I wasn’t aware of it, and we’ve asked him to retract it.”
But Brown also reportedly “dodged” on the matter of whether he would endorse Hudak. Wrong question. Brown should have been asked whether he’d said anything to Hudak that would lead him to believe he already had Brown’s endorsement.
Still, Brown’s comments are in accord with a statement put out yesterday by his spokesman, Felix Browne. The most likely scenario remains that Brown said something Hudak wrongly interpreted as an endorsement.
2. Hudak, in an interview with the Salem News, says, “There’s no question that he [Brown] gave me his endorsement,” citing a “private conversation” the two men had. He also says he did not see the press release his own campaign put out touting the alleged endorsement, but that it’s OK with him: “I trust my campaign staff to do what they need to do.”
So now we have a press release filled with direct quotes from both Brown and Hudak, and both men say they were unaware of it before it went out. It reminds me of the time that David Wells claimed he’d been misquoted in his own autobiography.
Neither the Globe nor the News credits Media Nation for bringing this story to light yesterday. No big deal, but the News allows Hudak to blame it on “Democrats,” and to refer to the whole matter as “very clearly politically motivated.”
The implication left hanging is that political operatives put this out there. The reality is that I have a memory like an elephant for certain things. I’m not a Democrat. As for being partisan, I’ve been complimentary toward Brown and his staff for the way they’ve handled this.
3. As Hudak’s spokesman did yesterday in The Hill, Hudak, in his interview with the News, denies that he believes Obama was born outside the United States. News reporter Stacie Galang writes, “Hudak said he has clarified his stance, but it continues to be repeated, wrongfully, in the press. It’s ‘not even an issue.'”
Hudak’s alleged birther views have been reported in two papers: the Tri-Town Transcript, which published the original story in November 2008, and in a column by Nelson Benton in the Salem News, which pointed out, as the Transcript had not, that Hudak was a Republican candidate for Congress.
In an e-mail to Media Nation, Benton says Hudak has “never asked for a correction.” An editor for GateHouse Media, which owns the Transcript, told me last night that he hopes to provide some information to me later today.
Update: Hudak never asked the Transcript for a correction, either, according to Peter Chianca, managing editor of GateHouse Media New England’s North Unit. Chianca e-mails: “David Rogers, the Transcript’s editor at the time, says that Hudak did not ask for a correction after the story ran.”