An open records request reveals that Governor Scott Walker and his staff wrestled with how to respond to criticism that the Governor had remained silent in the days following the Oshkosh-area Planned Parenthood bombing, ultimately deciding to have the Governor's communication director, Cullen Werwie, issue a statement, from Werwie and not Walker, condemning the bombing.
On April 3 of last year, the Democratic Pary of Wisconsin issued a press release criticizing Governor Walker saying, "He has has never shied away from a Fox News microphone, but when an attack on a women's health clinic occurs right here in Wisconsin, he has gone strangely, deafeningly silent."
Referencing the DPW's press release, several members of the Wisconsin press corps contacted the Governor's office asking for comment or a statement on the Planned Parenthood bombing.
Scott Bauer, of the Associated Press, sent an email to Werwie simply asking, "What is the Governor's response to the Planned Parenthood attempted bombing?"
Werwie then forwarded Bauer's email to Governor Walker, saying:
We've been asked for a comment by the AP on the Planned Parenthood bombing. Below is a draft response that would come from me. Let me know your thoughts or if you have any edits.
Statement from me:
This type of violence is unacceptable. Hopefully the individual responsible will either come forward, confesss and face the consequences of his or her actions, or through an investigation be apprehended.
Seven minutes later, Walker green-lighted the plan to side-step comment from him, by having Werwie issue a statement from Werwie, saying, "This is good."
Werwie then responded to Bauer's email by sending the statement from himself. He also sent similar emails to the Wisconsin State Journal's Mary Spicuzza and the Shepherd Express' Lisa Kaiser-- even though Kaiser and Spicuzza both specifically asked for comment from the Governor.
Upon receiving the statement from Werwie, Kaiser wrote, "Will Governor make a statement?"
Werwie did not respond.
A few weeks later, the fairly well known Democratic activist Elizabeth Martiniak, emailed the governor's office and asked why the governor had not directly responded to the bombing.
Martiniak's email was forwarded to Werwie and he responded with the same statement, (from him), he had provided a handful of reporters a few weeks ealer. Werwie also says, "If she hasn't seen it in her local news outlet, I'd suggest to her she contact them and ask why they chose not to include it their coverage."
There are no records, however, that indicate that Werwie sent the statement on the Planned Parenthood bombing to anyone other that three reporters asking for comment.
In addition, a review of the statments released by the Governor's office, reveal that nearly all come from Walker himself and not Werwie. In addition, Walker has two twitter accounts and has sent out nearly 8,000 tweets since becoming governor.
It's been 296 days since the Planned Parenthood bombing and Governor Walker is yet to make any public comments condeming the bombing. Governor Walker did, however, issued a proclamation making today--the 40th anniversary of Roe versus Wade -- officially Protect Life Day in the state of Wisconsin.