Exclusive interview, David Wu (part one): Why did his pollster say that his staff "need to be protected"?

By Carla Axtman and Kari Chisholm.

Among the many elements of the Oregonian's reporting back in February is an email from well-respected pollster, and long-time Wu advisor, Lisa Grove. Here's how the Oregonian's Janie Har and Charlie Pope reported it:

"This is way beyond acceptable levels and the charade needs to end NOW," wrote Lisa Grove, a senior and long-serving campaign pollster, in an e-mail to colleagues that day. "No enabling by any potential enablers, he needs help and you need to be protected. Nothing else matters right now. Nothing else."

We wanted to know what Wu thought Lisa was talking about. Obviously, it's a pretty troubling statement about Wu's relationship with his staff.

KARI: Here’s one question that I hear again and again when I talk to people. I’ve known Lisa Grove for nearly 20 years, back to when I was an intern for Ron Wyden in the House. She wrote an email - it’s been reported that she wrote an email, in which she said, “No enabling by any potential enablers. He needs help. And you need to be protected.” What was she talking about? Protected from what?

WU: I don’t know because I haven’t seen the email. And I don’t know if that’s accurate.

I talked to Lisa Grove one time in the middle of October and I wish I had talked with her more. She talked with staff. And I know that those staff, probably for good reason, well-intentioned reason, were concerned.

The one time I talked with Lisa Grove, we talked for an hour. And she said at the end of that hour, “I’m so glad we talked. I feel a lot better about everything.” That was in the middle of October.

At then, at the end of that time – you know, I don’t know. I didn’t talk to her. And she didn’t talk with me. I don’t know whether that email quote was accurate or not.

She did a good job. She was with our campaign from 1999 until this fall. I think she did a good job. I like her. We will have a new pollster. I think she’s good. She is clearly – we’re going to lose the intelligence on Oregon that someone like Lisa can provide.


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    Congressional staffers have job security as long as their Congressperson does. By using the word "protected," maybe Ms. Grove meant to convey her feelings that she and her colleagues needed to have their careers, which are obviously linked to the success or failure of Congressman Wu, protected.

    For all the advances we have made as a society, for the most part any mental health problem is often viewed very negatively. In Congress, that would be magnified.

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    How about Blue Oregon asking Lisa Grove what she meant? Wu is not too helpful either b/c he doesn't know or thinks he knows and isn't saying.

    Downstate the Wu stories don't get much press, so I think this is the first I've heard.

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      Lisa is aware of this post and knows how to contact us. If she has something to say, she'll say it. Thus far, she's declined further comment.

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