“A kind of bizarre thing going on there” … “Ready, aim… aim… aim… aim” … “Ouch!” … “He gave his scripted, canned talking points” … “James Craig needs to understand…voters want to hear his answers”
LANSING — The hits just keep coming for Republican gubernatorial candidate James Craig who just can’t seem to stop the fallout from his disastrous press conference a week ago. On the most recent installment of Tim Skubick’s ‘Off the Record’ show on WKAR, panelists and local reporters Zoe Clark (Michigan Public Radio), Jim Kiertzner (WXYZ-TV), and Eric Lloyd (9&10 News) discussed the MIGOP party insider favorite’s “fishbowl” fiasco that once again featured him dodging questions on the 2020 election and January 6th insurrection that define the GOP primary thus far.
First, Skubick, Kiertzner, and Clark discussed Craig’s “bizarre” press conference and non-existent exploratory candidate status Craig is struggling to maintain after months of speculation:
Tim Skubick: Jim, you had the opportunity to cross-examine the good former chief of the [laughs] City of Detroit James Craig. […] From afar, it looked like a kind of bizarre thing going on there.
Jim Kiertzner (WXYZ-TV): I want to say this first up front. We are watching James Craig, possible run for governor. He is doing ‘ready, aim…aim…aim…aim.’ He said again, “I’m still doing an exploratory committee.” When are you going to pull the trigger? […] Does that mean he still may decide this isn’t for him and he’s going to pull out? You’re either in or out.
Zoe Clark (Michigan Public Radio): Are we pretending that he didn’t say on Fox News that he was running? [laughs]
Then, Kiertzner and Clark discussed the lengths with which Craig dodged questions like a typical politician that wants to avoid giving a clear answer on where he stands on issues that that the Republican grassroots base remains focused on:
Skubick: Ouch! Warm letter to follow.
Kiertzner: He didn’t talk about January 9th [sic] and whether the election was stolen to any depth. He gave his scripted, canned talking points on the election. He said he’s a police officer, he needs to see evidence that the election was stolen, and he hasn’t seen any evidence. That’s sort of his sidestep on that one. […] We couldn’t get to the question of, was that instigated by then President Trump. We couldn’t get to a lot of the questions. I had a lot of follow ups there to continue the cross-examination. He cut us off and said, “That’s it. That’s all I’m answering.” And I think the question that James Craig needs to understand is the voters want to hear his answers on that. The Trump supporters want to hear his answers on that. The people who don’t support President Trump want to hear his answers on that to determine whether they’re going to support him.
Skubick: What kind of a launch was this, if we can call it a launch?
Finally, Eric Lloyd established exactly why getting a clear answer from Craig on election integrity and the insurrection is crucial and how the tightrope will continue to narrow for the Republican with each passing day he refuses to give one:
Eric Lloyd (9&10 News): I was kind of surprised by the reaction to those Trump questions where they’re like, “Focus on Michigan topics. What’s it matter about if he supports President Trump?” But right here in Michigan, we see the Republican party pretty much divided between the Trump supporters and not. We have counties downstate censuring state Senators from the UP because of their stance on the election and everything. Jackson County censured Senate Majority Leader Shirkey. So there’s definitely an interest in how he stands and where he stands on these issues and I think that’s going to have to be a message going forward. […] No matter what happened in the past, people still care and it’s going to go into what they’re voting for.