Posts Tagged ‘press conference’

Angle Holds Hour Long Press Conference in Reno

By Elizabeth Crum | 5:06 pm March 21st, 2011

Nearly 600 days before the general election and wearing a bright purple suit while proving she is no shrinking violet, Sharron Angle today cheerfully fielded tough questions from nine journalists for nearly an hour.

The sole (so far) candidate for Nevada’s second congressional district held the first press conference of her campaign in a small conference room at the Best Western hotel across from the Reno, NV airport.

In a stated attempt to get off on the right foot with a press corps unhappy with (what they claim are) past instances of inaccessibility, Angle said today’s press conference was purposefully scheduled so many days after her announcement last Tuesday in order to give the media time to arrange travel and get their questions ready.

During the press conference, each time she was asked whether she really believes she can win the CD-2 primary race and then win a general election after being so badly damaged in last year’s electoral loss, Angle referred to a large sign reading “19,677″ and which represents her margin over Reid in CD-2 last year:

Angle said she believes that large margin means she has strong enough support in the district to win both the primary and general election. Recounting her history as a politician, she also pointed out, “I have won ten elections. I have lost four.”

In defense of her loss to Reid, which came up numerous times in a variety of ways, Angle pointed out that only one Senate Majority Leader has ever been defeated once entrenched.

Some Republican leaders are not thrilled with Angle’s decision to run, fearing she may win the primary but lose in the general election, effectively handing a congressional seat to the Democrats.

Angle dismissed those concerns, saying it was her “right” to run and adding, “I can win.” She insisted she is well-liked in the district, saying her supporters may not agree with her on every issue but they “know how I will vote” and “can sleep at night knowing I won’t change” position on issues.

When asked what mistakes, if any, she thinks she made in her U.S. Senate campaign and whether that will change her approach this time around, Angle answered, “We have some regrets, but too few to mention.”

Angle added that the initial days of last year’s campaign were “like drinking water from a fire house” and went on to talk about how the Harry Reid campaign engaged in “character assassination.” Later in the press conference, she said she needed “a commercial up the day after the primary.”

When asked about her position on Social Security, Angle resurrected a phrase from her sole debate with Reid and said Congress needs to “man up” and stop using the “trust fund” as their “personal piggy bank.”

Questions about the tea party effect and whether it may help her again were met with measured comments about how such labels can be misleading or “box people in.” Angle said she is appealing to voters to whom “constitutional issues” are important, whether they are members of the “tea party” or not.

As the press conference wrapped up, Angle named upcoming events on her calendar and said her new book, an autobiography that will share personal, formative things, will be out on April. The book is entitled “Right Angle” and will be self-published under Author House.

Angle stayed after the press conference to shake hands and answer individual questions, also introducing her press secretary, Will Rasavage, who she said journalists should “feel free” to contact for “exclusive” time with her.

As Angle gears up to hire her campaign team – she said she is conducting interviews now – some Republican leaders are pressing Republican Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki to run, while also asking state party chair Mark Amodei to consider not running in order to avoid a scenario that might pull votes from Krolicki and hand Angle the primary win.

Also considering a run are state Sen. Greg Brower and Kirk Lippold, former U.S.S. Cole commander.


Accessibility or Agenda Setting? Democrats Holding Frequent Press Briefings

By Andrew Doughman | 4:12 pm February 15th, 2011

CARSON CITY – A coffee shop across the street from the Legislature announces “let the games begin.”

With the Legislature in session for less than two weeks, Democratic legislators seem to be playing the game well.

They have called the press corps to briefings during three of the past four working days to showcase meetings or bills they’d like to advance.

This has helped them steer news coverage to the bills they’d like Nevadans to pay attention to, even though some of the journalists among the capitol press corps have neither attended the briefings nor written stories about the bills.

“We want to highlight a few bills,” said Speaker John Oceguera, D-Las Vegas at today’s press briefing where Assembly Democrats announced a school retrofit proposal and a bill related to trade. “We’d like to meet with you every week … We want to get some of our proposals out.”

He said the strategy has been effective so far, citing an example from last week when Democrats held a press conference for a jobs bill that was well-covered in the press.

“It helps to draw attention to the issues that they want to keep raising before the public, so I don’t think it hurts them at all to keep doing that,” said Barry Smith, executive director of the Nevada Press Association.

Oceguera later said the Senate and Assembly Democrats plan to have weekly press briefings Monday and Tuesday afternoons.

On one hand, the conferences could allow legislators to help steer public debate, thereby setting the agenda for what is, and what is not, important. On the other hand, reporters are free to choose whether or not they should pursue the story offered to them at the press conference. It’s the old debate about what constitutes news and who should decide what news is.

Whether the answer is the politicians, the people or the press, frequent media conferences do allow the journalists easy access to lawmakers. The meetings promote government transparency.

“Speaking in general, I like the idea of the accessibility, and you can always ask a question that’s not related to the subject of the press conference,” said Jerry Ceppos, dean of the Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno. “I’d say the more the merrier.”

The frequent press conferences also allow spin-off conversations between legislators and reporters to continue after the inevitable “last question” announcement signals the end of the formal media briefing.

“I often like press conferences more than press releases because I can’t talk back to press releases,” Ceppos said.

The Democratic strategy mirrors the policy next door at the Capitol building. Gov. Brian Sandoval sends his senior adviser, Dale Erquiaga, to take questions from the press every Monday.

“It’s a good way for the governor to communicate with the press as well as answer all the questions you all might have,” said Mary-Sarah Kinner, Sandoval’s press secretary.

Kinner helped arrange the Monday meeting time to fit reporters’ schedules.

Republicans at the Legislature are using a different strategy.

“We try to hold a press conference when we really have something to say,” said Senate Minority Leader Mike McGinness, R-Fallon, clarifying afterward that he didn’t mean Democrats have nothing to say.

“It’s just early,” he said. “It’s only day seven.”