The very first question raised by the press - back in December - remains the hardest one to figure out: As one BlueOregon reader, Nick Bostic, commented - "I don't get why his staff would all bail on him based purely on the things we've heard so far."
In fact, even before we had a chance to ask our first question, Wu dove in with his answer.
WU: Since you mentioned staffers, I think that one of the unstated questions – or maybe stated questions – is: Gee, did you lose all your staff? And you know that I didn’t lose all my staff. We did lose a number of them after the election. And there’s probably some myth - “why did so many women leave?” Well, we have a lot of women on staff. Was there a concerted, “You do this or we leave”? And there wasn’t. People made individual decisions for individual reasons. You know we regret – I regret the departure of anybody. But, a bunch of them went on to really, really good things. And you know what some of those are, because you know where they’ve gone. You may not know that Ambassador Rice at the UN, her spokesperson, was my first employee. Our people have gone to good places. And they’re good people. ...
It was a topic that he returned to several times. About eight minutes later, he talked specifically about his chief of staff, Julie Tippens:
WU: We work very hard on minimizing staff turnover, which is why I took this as such a strong wakeup call. Because we have way below the congressional average for staff turnover. I think some of these people left for jobs that were kind of like their ideal. I was thinking about this earlier today because someone asked. I can think of only two people who left our office for other congressional offices. One person was our legislative director - who is normally thought of as the #2 in the office. And he left to be the chief of staff somewhere else. Julie Tippens is the only other person I can think of, and she left our office to work for Colleen Hanabusa.
This is two people in twelve years. Two people in twelve years who left our office for another congressional office. Julie Tippens went to Colleen Hanabusa’s office. I think it’s not only Hawaii; I think Julie and Colleen, on some very important issues – you know, I won’t guess for Julie. But one of our staffers taking a vacation in Hawaii and there’s Julie Tippen walking down on the other side of the street. They said hello and so on and so forth. Right now, I wish I could take that job!
And then again, near the end of the interview, he came back to the question again:
WU: And maybe, these four, five, six thousand insiders [BlueOregon readers] – if they knew that there was no en-masse departure, but people left for individual reasons, but that I did contribute to it. Because I could have been a better boss. And that’s what I’m taking responsibility for.
- Intro: Is David Wu fit to be a Congressman? Our exclusive interview.
- Part one: Why did his pollster say that his staff "need to be protected"?
- Part two: What happened that final weekend before election day?
- Part three: Have his former staffers been silenced?
March 24, 2011 | |