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Hogging the spotlight

January 5, 2010 - Steve Murch
I have a problem with people who try and take a news story that isn't about them and make it all about them. That is the feeling I get with the press release from Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero, who may, or may not, run for governor, though the release pretty much tips his hand toward the former.

Lt. Gov. John Cherry announced today that he will not run for governor. Cherry has had a long, distinguished career in politics. While he has his detractors, he has many supporters from his many years of service. I've had a few occasions where I have talked with the lieutenant governor and found him very engaging and fun to speak with.

This is what came from Commerce Communications Group, which I will presume is the PR firm Bernero has contracted:

“While John Cherry is to be commended for his decades of service to Michigan’s working men and women, I respect his decision.

“I have been very encouraged by the incredible response to my exploratory committee for the office of Governor. Through the exploratory process, many people across our great state seeking bold and new leadership have urged me to run. With their support, I am prepared to fight to restore Michigan’s economy through a healthy mix of manufacturing and emerging industries that offer real job opportunities to those who love this state. As such, it is my intent to make a formal announcement in the very near term.”

The first paragraph is nice, but doesn't say much about Cherry. Heck, it doesn't even wish him well when he is finished with public office.

The second one makes it all about the mayor. Not only that, he didn't really do anything. He crows on about the exploratory committeed that and he'll make an announcement in the future. He DID NOT make an announcement, just an annoncement that he'll make an announcement. In other words, Virg Bernero scream at the top of his lungs (or as loud as an e-mail screams) “LOOK AT ME, LOOK AT ME. Pay no attention to the man who made a real announcement, look at the one who said he'll make an announcement in the future.” For the most part, I have enjoyed Bernero when he has been in the spotlight. CNN spoke to him when GM was going through its restructuring and everything. He is engaging and intelligent. What he needs to do is either change PR firms, or take control of the message and learn that not everything is about Virg Bernero.

I won't let this taint my process of deciding on who I think is best to be the next governor of Michigan. If given the opportunity to sit down with Bernero, I would welcome it as I would any candidate who runs for governor.

However, in the run for governor, this was a misstep in my book.


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