John Huppenthal's Wednesday press conference got wide coverage, but maybe not the kind he was hoping for. Playing the Illegal Immigrant Card a few days before a primary which he could lose to a previously little known candidate sounds a bit, um, calculated. The press generally agreed.
Howard Fischer, who covers the goings on at the Capitol and whose articles are picked up by many dailies in the state, wrote an article that was edited differently in the Star and in the East Valley Tribune, but Huppenthal doesn't come off well in either version. Fischer made clear, he doesn't suffer this particular fool gladly.
The Trib version has some great lines. It begins by stating Huppenthal's case.
The state's top education official warned Wednesday that Arizona schools could be inundated with tens of thousands of immigrant children at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars if President Obama enacts some kind of amnesty.
That's followed by a classic reporterly put down.
But John Huppenthal conceded he has absolutely nothing to back that up.
Later, Fischer reports,
[Huppenthal said] his press conference was called for Wednesday because of the “imminent” threat of an Obama declaration, one he wants to impact.
Huppenthal, who faces a tough primary challenge next week from Republican Diane Douglas — and then will face a Democrat in November if he survives — insisted there was nothing political about it.
Back when Huppenthal's blog comments came to light, he talked about his habit of writing comments in the wee hours of the morning, saying he doesn't sleep much. I'm not sure he'll be sleeping at all until the primary results are in late Tuesday night. Not long ago, he bragged that he was going to cruise to an easy primary victory. Now instead of bragging, he's holding last minute press conferences where the smell the desperation is palpable.
UPDATE: I just saw the headline for the Capitol Times story: Huppenthal calls press conference about illegal immigration, then denies he is pandering. Here's how the article begins.
Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal called a press conference today to talk about the impact of illegal immigration on Arizona education.
He ended up explaining he isn’t a racist and he wasn’t pandering for the purpose of winning the Aug. 26 GOP primary.