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Gov. Scott Walker gives Great/Horrible answers to the Media | Media Training

Over the weekend, Scott Walker was asked whether he thought President Obama was a Christian.

Here were his responses as quoted in the Washington Post.

“I don’t know,”

“I’ve actually never talked about it or I haven’t read about that…”

“I’ve never asked him that…You’ve asked me to make statements about people that I haven’t had a conversation with about that. How [could] I say if I know either of you are a Christian?”

“To me, this is a classic example of why people hate Washington and, increasingly, they dislike the press,” he said. “The things they care about don’t even remotely come close to what you’re asking about.”

“People in the media will [judge], not everyday people,” he said. “I would defy you to come to Wisconsin. You could ask 100 people, and not one of them would say that this is a significant issue.”

So how does this rate, as far as showing skill in handling the media?

Walker does many things right here. Unfortunately, when dealing with the media, it only takes one mistake. Walker’s mistake was to say “I ‘don’t know.” Now, the headlines in the Washington Post, Mediate and elsewhere are “Gov Scott Walker says ‘I don’t know’ If Obama is a Christian.”

This sets up a dynamic that makes Walker look like he is taking cheap shots at the President and is pandering to far right extremists in the GOP. But if you look at the whole context of Walker’s remarks, that was clearly not his goal.

How should Walker have responded?

The second part of his answer was perfect:

 

“To me, this is a classic example of why people hate Washington and, increasingly, they dislike the press,” he said. “The things they care about don’t even remotely come close to what you’re asking about.”

“People in the media will [judge], not everyday people,” he said. “I would defy you to come to Wisconsin. You could ask 100 people, and not one of them would say that this is a significant issue.”

If Walker had just said this and this alone, he would have gotten praise from all quarters, across the political spectrum, and there would have been completely different headlines.

To learn how to answer tough questions from reporters, call Media Training Worldwide at 212.764.4955

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