The day I interviewed Republican Patrick Gatti for this week's cover story on the CD1 congressional race, who knew the interesting remark he shared with me would make news on the Arizona Republic's AZ/DC Blog.
The blog post kindly describes the Show Low retiree's campaign as low-key, although I mentioned he said he's only raised about $500, which is about as low as a key can get. But I digress. The focus of the post was Gatti's remark on his fellow Republican congressional candidate Jonathan Paton:
“He portrays himself as a warrior, but he was in the National Guard, which I consider to be of lesser quality than full Army,” Gatti said (although Paton is actually in the Army Reserve).
Gatti doesn't completely deny the quote, but that he "can't confirm that quote." However, Paton, the actual contender in the Republican primary, told the AZ/DC that he was quoted accurately in the same story and didn't understand why Gatti, who got Paton's service wrong to begin with (Army Reserve not National Guard), felt it was of a "lesser quality":
“I’m not in the National Guard, but we have a saying that we’re all green. We’re all the same,” he said. “My main reaction is regarding the reputation of the best army in the whole entire world. That army does not function without the Guard and the Reserve components. They have the same training and the same responsibilities in the field as the active duty component."
I wondered the same thing, especially when I shared the story with my mom, a former captain in the U.S. Air Force Nurse Corps, who probably said a few expletives under her breath in reaction.
Well, maybe Gatti was just confused the day I interviewed him. Did AZ/DC get to the end of my story? After chatting to me about cutting more federal dollars to the tribes (you know, the rent we pay for the land and all those wonderful things we did — look ethnic studies is banned in Arizona, so I probably shouldn't treat this as Howard Zinn moment.), he talked about how he and Democrat Wenona Benally Baldenegro were the only two congressional candidates to go before the Hopi Tribal Council.
Benally Baldenegro is Navajo. In fact, her candidacy was recently endorsed by the Navajo Nation Council. Gatti said this about the candidate:
He describes Benally Baldenegro, a member of the Navajo nation, as "a Hopi Indian and educated outside the reservation and brought back in to do work for the reservation."
My mom, a fourth-generation Tucsonan, proud to have served her country (especially as a nurse. I'm telling you, don't mess with nurses), was even more upset that Gatti didn't have enough respect to note Benally Baldenegro's tribe correctly and had the chutzpah to remark backhandedly about her education.
Too bad AZ/DC didn't think it was important to ask Gatti about those comments. Maybe an ethnic studies class for Gatti is needed after all and an introduction to U.S. Army basic training, which my mom is ready to provide.