UPDATE, Monday March 4 11:58 am
One of the reporters who covered Menendez on his “I don’t need any rehabilitating” press day with school kids as props sent a note to correct this post. The senator’s staff only restricted the questions reporters could ask during a conference call about his trip to Afghanistan. There were no restrictions during the press conference about sequestration at Newark Liberty Airport or while Menendez was reading to the children.
Kudos to the reporters for not asking tough questions about prostitutes, sex with children and the ethics of Menendez’s relationship with Dr. Salomon Melgen during the book readings with kids.
Why the kit gloves during the press conference? The reporter said that Menendez did not allow a lot of time for questions and split right before the press conference ended.
It seems to me that the New Jersey press corp is leaving the heavy lifting regarding Menendez to the national media. At least NJ.com and APP ran today’s Associated Press lengthy story about how Menendez sponsored legislation to help Melgen’s investment in a “green energy” company in addition to the Dominican Republic port security deal.
After hiding out in the bowels of the Capitol and the hills of Afghanistan for most of February, Senator Bob Menendez came out to New Jersey’s press yesterday with school kids as props, according to a Star Ledger report.
The senator’s staff laid out ground rules…no questions about flights to the Dominican Republic on Dr. Salomon Melgen’s private jet and no questions about Senate hearings held specifically for Melgen’s benefit. New Jersey’s mainstream media has never bothers to ask questions about prostitutes or sex with underage Dominican girls. It probably wasn’t necessary to deem such questions off limits. From the Star Ledger’s report, it would seem that all the reporters complied with Menendez’s wish that he not be asked “off-topic” questions. Wouldn’t it be nice if the press corp gave Governor Chris Christie the same courtesy.
Menenedez read House Mouse, Senate Mouse to a group of 15 4-5 years olds at Metropolitan Baptist Church in Newark, held a news conference about sequestration at Newark Liberty Airport, and met another group of school children in Lodi.
Asked whether the senator’s packed schedule was intended to rehabilitate his image at home after a month of harsh news coverage, Menendez bristled and said his appearance with the children was part of “Read Across America Day,” which he has participated in for almost 20 years.
“It’s far from rehabilitating,” said Menendez, who has repeadedly characterized the accusations as part of a smear campaign by right-wing forces. “It’s about being able to go ahead and express to kids the importance of reading,”
“And secondly,” he said, “I don’t think I need any rehabilitating.”