Ohio GOP rep flatout says he wants to keep blacks from voting, claims he thought he was ‘off the record’
Tonight the Plain Dealer reports that the Ohio Republican Party is trying desperately to do damage control on Doug Preisse, Franklin County GOP chairman and one of John Kasich’s closest advisers, who admitted Republicans want to restrict voting hours to decrease the likelihood that African American voters can make it to the polls.
According to Preisse: ‘We shouldn’t contort the voting process to accommodate the urban — read African-American — voter-turnout machine.’
Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern called the comments ‘patently racist’.
The Ohio Republican Party’s response?
‘Preisse thought his comments to the Dispatch were off the record’
There wasn’t a lot of ambiguity in Preisse’s comments, he said what he meant and he said it clearly: The old process made it too easy for African Americans to vote and the new policy will effectively, and with my full support, disenfranchise thousands of black voters. He even told the Dispatch in response to a similar question: ‘bullshit. Quote me!’
(H/T: Expand your Ground)
Now, in all fairness, it is not that uncommon for political and other public figures regularly in the news to go “off the record” when speaking to reporters they know well.
When I studied journalism, we learned that “off the record” is always a gamble because the speaking party must trust that the reporter is actually going to keep the conversation private. Most good reporters will honor these requests as they have no desire to burn sources and thus eliminate their access to them.
But you always, always make it EXPLICITLY CLEAR that what will be said is to be “off the record” BEFORE you say it.
My professor even specifically said that if a source makes a comment and then says at the end “Oh and by the way, that was off the record”, you do NOT have to treat it as such because no “off the record” condition was in place when he or she actually made the comments.
Of course the best course of action if you want something to truly stay “off the record” is don’t even say it near a reporter in the first place.
And that’s something the GOP apparently has yet to learn.