Whitmer says she’d have said yes
For that half a year, Whitmer pirouetted around the news hounds in the state Capitol press corps, as members kept asking and she kept dancing.
Until last week.
But it wasn’t easy.
So, with her dentist husband in the next room, waiting to come on camera, it was like pulling teeth to get the response out of his spouse’s mouth.
During an exclusive sit-down year-end interview on the long-running Michigan Public TV series “An Ending with the Governor,” one last stab was made at getting Whitmer to fess up.
It began with the obvious question … one more time.
“Let’s put a ribbon on this story, governor,” the anchor guy said. “Had you gotten the call and he offered you the vice presidency, Gretchen Ester Whitmer would have said …”
Apparently still in her pirouetting state of mind, she deflected, as she had done not only on local TV but during a record-breaking run of nationwide TV news shows, as well, gleefully stiffing everyone along the way.
First, she laughs. She does that a lot when questions hit her right between the eyeballs.
“That never happened, so we don’t have to go too far down that path,” she smiles, perhaps thinking to herself, “Here we go again. But I can win this again.”
Instead of leaving room for a follow-up (smart move), she takes command of the issue by spinning to another angle.
“This is the God’s awful truth,” she refers to being vetted for the post. “When he asked me to go through that, I was shocked. I thought I was going to be part of a team to help him vet his running mate.”
She mistakenly takes a breath, and the anchor guy goes in for what he hopes is the definitive answer he and others have been dogging her for forever.
“I am puzzled by your inability or reluctance to answer that question. If he called and offered, would you have taken it?”
No drum roll. No blaring trumpets but at last, the real truth.
“If Joe Biden would have called me and said, ‘I need you to be my partner and be my running mate,’ I would have said yes. This election was that important.”
Now, recall that, in the elongated run-up to this scoop, the governor had steadfastly said she loved Michigan, with three generations of her family residing here, and she never really wanted to go to the snake pit in D.C.. anyway.
Her favorite line to all those savvy anchor guys and ladies on the national level was always, “I am focused completely not on doing anything other than the job I have right now.” And, in the midst of the COVID-19 stuff, it was the right response to fend off those Republicans who were griping she was campaigning for VP while poor folks were dying.
“Why would you agree to go through that process if that wasn’t a possibility?” she said, volunteering more meat to this previously boneless story line.
But, then, in an out-of-the-blue twist, she gets down to another unrevealed truth:
“When he let me know that he was going to pick Kamala Harris, the whole family here was very pleased.”
Sensing there was more to that angle, this follow-up: “So, at the end of the day, you didn’t get it, but you weren’t disappointed. You might have been relieved.”
Now, the bottom line on the whole VP shebang blossoms: “There might have been a sigh of relief over here at the governor’s residence (again, she laughs). In fact, in the rest of the family, there was a huge sigh of relief. I think everyone was pleased with the outcome, yes.”
Perhaps with the exception of somebody else … Garlin Gilchrist III?
(You can view the entire one hour long interview with the governor and first gentleman at wkar.org).