David Wu on Good Morning America

Kari Chisholm FacebookTwitterWebsite

In his first public appearance since Friday's revelations, Congressman David Wu appeared on Good Morning America - and answered questions from George Stephanopoulos.

Did Wu answer your questions? Should he stay in Congress?

Update, 9:26 a.m.: An interesting question is raised by NPR's Frank James:

Wu's situation raises difficult questions about competing rights. On one hand, Wu certainly has a right to medical privacy when it comes to his mental health.

So strong is the presumption of privacy that it makes many people uncomfortable to breach it. ABC News's GMA host George Stephanopoulus, for instance, didn't ask during the interview what exactly Wu is being treated for, that is, the diagnosis that would explain his behavior.

But voters have rights, too, including the right to know about health conditions that could interfere with an elected official's ability to serve.

What do you think? We've long asked presidential candidates to release medical records - on the assumption that voters should have the right to know whether a prospective president will be able to serve. Do voters in Oregon-1 have the right to ask about Wu's health - and should he be responsible to answer in detail? Do his answers to Stephanopoulos suffice? Does his refusal to seek treatment in October bother you?

Update, 9:58 a.m.: Oregonian columnist Anna Griffin tweets:

Ah, conflict-averse Oregon: Where every D thinks David Wu should resign, but no one dares be rude enough to come right out and say it.

Is that true? Do you think Wu should resign? If so, why? If not, why not?


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    Good interview for the Congressman. But I gotta tell you, I think George's questions about the type of help Congressman Wu received really made me feel uncomfortable. That seems to me to be a private matter between Wu and his care providers. I cringed when Stephanopolous asked those questions.....

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      I've updated my post with some thoughts on that matter from NPR's Frank James - and asked more questions of our readers.

      Your thoughts?

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    I've just updated the post again, this time with a tweet from the O's Anna Griffin. Your reaction?

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      This is essentially my position, John. Congressman Wu needs to come here, to the District, and explain things to US--his constituents.

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    Let me ask you all this question: what if in the last days of the campaign Congressman Wu was suffering from a mild stroke, which temporarily impaired his judgment during the campaign? And since then he sought treatment from a medical professional and is doing better? Would that make a difference?

    I am not saying that is what happened, what I am saying is that Congressman Wu's apparent "mental infirmity" is just as real a medical condition as say, a stroke. Both need medical attention, and both conditions a person can recover fully from.

    If the situation was that Congressman Wu suffered from a storke as opposed to an apparent "mental breakdown", would you be treating Congressman Wu any differently?

    Just a question......

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    I mentioned it in the thread the other day. This is highly likely a substance abuse issue (that is what a trusted source I know said it was).

    If true, and while it can be argued in a chicken and egg manner, this isn't so much the "mental health" issue as substance abuse treatment. Which, I suspect, is why Wu is being so cagey about what "the problem" is.

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    The important question for me is that he is being treated for either a mental health disorder or a substance abuse disorder, and that the treatment has stabilized his disorder to the extent he can do his duties as a member of Congress. That is what is relevant now, not what he failed to disclose months ago.

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    I guess, to John and Bill, I'd say that it might be nice to have representatives who were polite, above-board, and always perfectly transparent with the media, their staff, and their constituents. My guess is that describes something less than 50% of the politicians in Congress. (For, actually, some good reasons.)

    So why are we saying that this situation should get special status? It appears that Wu, because he's accused of having a mental health issue, is being treated differently than many other congresspeople--many with problems that impair their ability at least as much. That it's a mental health issue seems to be freaking people out more than if he had, say, a run-of-the-mill drinking problem.

    In 20 months, the people of the First Congressional District can decide if they want to keep him around. In the meantime, the threshold for his removal needs to be a lot higher before I start clamoring for it.

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      I actually don't think Wu is being treated unfairly because it's an alleged mental health issue. In fact if anything, I think people are stepping extra-gingerly because of it--going out of their way to NOT call for him to resign, it seems to me.

      The most worrisome part to me is the exodus of long-time staff and Wu's alleged denial/ignoring of the issues they were trying to have addressed. As his constituent, I think he needs to come here, to the district, and talk with us and answer our questions.

      We don't owe him 20 months to sort it out and re-decide if he gets to keep his job, in my opinion. We grant him the privilege of representing us--and a significant set of issues have arisen that has brought up legitimate concerns. He needs to come home and address them with us.

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        I disagree. 6 out of 20 staff members resigned, and Wu has already said that he is getting medical help. That's a pretty thin reed on which to call for someone's resignation.

        I don't think anyone would be making that case if this were a physical rather than a mental health issue and I believe that Mitch Greenlick has it right when he says that people should not discriminate in one case and not the other.

        It should not be lost on anyone that the Oregonian has a long-standing vendetta against Wu, and I believe they are puffing up a pretty thin case against him for the purposes of forcing him out of office.

        The sharks may be circling, but by-in-large the people calling for him to resign have a history of political grudges against him.

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          Okay, but I'm not calling for his resignation Sal. Please read my comments. I'm asking him to come home and talk to us, his constituents, about what's been going on and how he's addressing it. The idea that somehow this ask might be beyond the pale seems silly to me.

          If he had a stroke--and refused to get treatment--and his long time staff tried to intervene and left in droves, I'd be saying exactly the same thing.

          This also isn't a story that's only being covered by the O. Willamette Week is also on it--and they're not exactly nursing a long standing issue with Wu.

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            The O set the table. 4 front page articles and an editorial on this seems like overkill unless they are primarily interested in twisting the knife. I think they have overblown this dramatically, but then I also think that Wu has done a reasonable job in the district in terms of economic development, so apparently I have fairly broad disagreement with them about his performance in congress.

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          Just out of curiosity: how many staff members would have to resign before you started concluding there might be some fire underneath all that smoke? If 30% doesn't worry you, what would?

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          My thoughts about whether he should resign continue to fluctuate as events unfold, but let's not dismiss the 6 of 20 staff members (if those numbers are correct.)

          They include his chief of staff, his district director, and his legislative director - as well as his longtime pollster. Each of those folks had been with him for over a decade. He also went through three campaign managers this election cycle.

          Any of those departures would be standard fare. All of them simultaneously is worrisome. At a minimum, it tells us that THEY believed the situation was untenable.

          We don't have all the facts here - and we may never. The "he should resign" argument, for me at least, rests heavily on the fact that the people closest to him, those who loved him and defended him and fought for him, for years - those people finally had had enough.

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    I don't know enough about the situation to have an informed opinion.

    If, however, Wu's issues are compromising his ability to represent his constituents, he should consider resignation.

    If his issues have or have the potential to harm his mental or physical health or have substantially affected his personal life and his family, then yes, he should resign.

    I only hope the Congressman has not so isolated himself this point that he is able to get the advice and care that he needs.

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      Bill, that is a very good point.

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      Because he won't talk to us. This has been public for a month. Until today he wouldn't talk to anyone, including his staff. He didn't lose his ability to speak as Ms. Giffords did.

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      I think the important point is that Wu has obviously lost the respect and confidence of his staffers. This does not argue for a problem that is being addressed appropriately -- rather, it suggests that the problem is out of control.

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    I don't want him to resign, I want some reassurance that whatever is going on doesn't affect his ability to do his job. I think it is reasonable to get some kind of reassurance, whether from Wu himself, a doctor, or someone else close to the situation. It seemed like the actions of the staffers (resigning/intervention/contacting the media) should be seen as the opposite of this. That there are people close to the situation who believe something needs to change because his mental health is a cause for public concern, is really the only position that is evident up til now.

    If Wu cannot or will not give a credible assurance that there is no cause for concern, I guess I would assume that the staffers position is accurate. If that is true, and he can't do his job properly, then I would say he should resign. But no need for that as long as he can in some way reassure us that things are OK and not getting worse.

    And I agree he should talk to his constituents about this. Putting himself in the national news spotlight seems a bit counterproductive since we in Oregon are the ones who hold the biggest stake in all this, and since we are the ones who liked him enough to elect him. We should be on his side. For the rest of the country this is just a drama and a spectator sport. I hope he is ok, but I think that all this has been handled badly by almost everyone involved.

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    The fact that the Oregonian is clearly on another crusade to get rid of another Democrat they don't like makes me really want to give the congressman extra benefit of the doubt.

    The article that started all this was a hatchet job.

    If I see them referencing the "faux Kligon" thing again as evidence that Wu has a problem I will just stop reading anything they have to say on the subject.

    Check out the video (it's on YouTube) of what Wu said in that case. He was making a perfectly cogent and substantive point, riffing on the "Vulcan" nickname given by some to the chicken hawks in the Bush administration. Yes, it was extremely nerdy, and not the height of eloquence but congresscritters say significantly goofier things on the floor of the House and Senate pretty much every day that any of them stand up to speak in those venues.

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      I agree wholeheartedly that the "Klingon" speech was deeply nerdy, and probably a bad political choice (due to the nerdiness), but it made perfect sense.

      I've yelled at the TV several times when they've included speech in the rundown of various incidents of bizarre behavior -- and you'll note that I've refused to include that bit in my excerpts here on BlueOregon.

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    Please do not take my previous comments to mean that I am conflict averse.

    If the question were whether or not Anna Griffin should resign my answer would be a resounding "Yes!"

    In her case, the evidence that she just plain sucks at her job is right out there for everyone to see.

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    "Anyone who spent even an hour with Wu last fall, as we did in an endorsement interview, could see clearly that he was not someone who should be representing Oregonians in Congress." - The O's Editorial yesterday

    What did he say in his interview with the O is what I am wondering. That is a bold statement within the context of revealing what Wu's own staff said about his behavior during that election time.

    I agree with earlier sentiments on the matter, mental health is still health and we all should have compassion for Mr. Wu as you would your own neighbor or friend. It is complicated because he is an elected public official but he is still a human being. Let him come back to the community that elected him and let him explain.

    If I lost my dad, got divorced and was raising two kids alone and serving in the Congress all during the intensity of an election, I'd be stressed out too. Would you?

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    It is fair to assume that Congressman Wu has been in contact with Democratic leadership both in DC and from Oregon, and I believe there are several Oregon party leaders heading to DC for a previously scheduled event. They are sure to spend some time with Congressman Wu to get a clear picture of his situation. Let's give it a few days at least and see what they have to say. And lets also be kind and patient with him as we would want others to be with us if the shoe were on the other foot.

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