by Peter Freyne
"You only get up and go to bed with one person everyday of your life,” said Christine Todd Whitman, “and that’s you. You’ve just got to be comfortable in yourself."
The former New Jersey governor and former head of the EPA under George W. Bush made those comments to students at Champlain College Monday afternoon where she appeared with Republican congressional candidate Martha Rainville.
Unfortunately, perhaps, there were as many journalists as students in attendance. You see, only six Champlain students showed up at the corner conference room in the gorgeous library with the gorgeous view. By the close of the 45-minute session the student toll had risen to nine. Meanwhile there were three photographers, one videographer and four reporters, two Rainville campaign staffers, a driver and a Welch Campaign "observer."
One can imagine Camp Rainville avoiding UVM around the corner in order to avoid potential anti-Bush, antiwar protesters. But if one does go to the trouble, one has to get more than nine freaking students to turn out, doesn't one?
Gov. Whitman, who I had last spoken to at Sweetwaters one evening during the annual NGA summer meeting Dr. Dean hosted in 1995, told a story about a new way of looking at water pollution while she was at EPA:
“I was telling Martha there’s as much oil deposited along the coastline of the United States every eight months from non-point source pollution, stuff that we all do, as was released during the Exxon Valdez spill, which remains the largest single environmental disaster in this country.
“Our challenge is how do you communicate to people that they live in a watershed? How do you get people that don’t live near a river or stream to understand that in fact it does matter even if it’s just you, and just this one car and you only change the oil every six months. That there’s a cumulative impact that really makes a difference.”
“I’m not saying we’ve been successful at it.”
Oh, thanks for sharing, Christine! And thanks for reminding us that New Jersey is one of only two states where junkies cannot get clean needles for free. Why?
Because drugs are illegal! And Gov. Whitman said she was not going to assist people in the commission of a crime. Bet she sleeps like a baby, eh?
And yes, in fact, there were three older guys, including the Church Street dude who had the huge sign at Ho-Ho's presidential kick-off, protesting out on the sidewalk about a 9/11 cover-up. And what a campus! President David F. Finney showed up to personally welcome the GOP Chicks, excuse me, the distinguished Republican female politicians, to campus, and he gave us all a look at a very special view of the Burlington skyline and beyond!
When we got home we had this statement from Montpeculiar, Vermont in the inbox. It's from the Executive Director of the Vermont Public Interest Research Group (VPIRG) - Paul Burns:
Inviting Christine Todd Whitman to bolster her (General Rainville’s) environmental credentials is like asking the Keystone Cops to endorse her stand on tough law enforcement.
The current Bush administration has been more antagonistic toward public health and environmental programs than any other in recent American history. President Bush’s shameful record on the environment includes rejection of modest steps to address climate change, more logging and motorized vehicles in our national forests, support for oil drilling in pristine wildlife preserves, weakened air pollution standards for aging industrial plants, increased secrecy concerning industrial toxic emissions, and initial support to allow more arsenic in drinking water.
As Administrator of the EPA, Ms. Whitman presided over one rollback after another of landmark programs designed to reduce pollution, protect public health, and preserve our precious natural heritage.
As a willing participant in the Bush administration’s army of environmental destruction, Ms. Whitman lacks credibility as a serious environmental leader.
Anyway, welcome back to Vermont, Christine. Tough year to be promoting Republicans, isn't it?
*Update Tuesday Morning*
Up bright and early catching Christie and Martha on "Charlie & Ernie" on 620 WVMT. And I hopped online to check out the local daily. What a surprise - I'm in it!
In the photo, that is, by Peter Huoppi that accompanies the "Whitman Stumps for Rainville" story by Terri Hallenbeck. And that's my Radio Shack tape recorder on the table in front of the female celebrities. I know, tape recorders that use tape are old fashioned, but, hey, it works.
That's Marvelous Martha' press secretary Brendan McKenna (formerly of the Rutland Herald) standing next to me in the Freeps photo and whatshisname from the Peter Welch Campaign seated to my left.
As you can see, there wasn't much for him to keep an eye on. Christie and Martha did not exactly draw a crowd.
OK, now it's time to work on the print column for tomorrow's edition of Seven Days. Aren't newspapers made out of paper so-o-o-o old-fashioned?