Thursday, April 07, 2011

Pawlenty Staffer Gets Gun Pointed at Him

What is News?: One of former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty's first hires in Iowa isn't making the kind of headlines his boss would like to see. Ben Foster is a young guy, 24 years old. According to the police report (read it here in the Des Moines Register), he had a night of drinking and driving (he admitted to driving according to the report and then changed his story). The police report said Foster tried to get into an Ankeny family's house, terrifying the family's 15-year-old daughter. Foster may have been the lucky one here, since the father grabbed his gun and pointed it at Foster after listening to the daughter's screams. Here's WHO HD's story talking to the family about what happened:

Let's be honest, is there any doubt drinking and driving is stupid and dangerous? My dad's best friend died because of a drunk driver. So, no, I don't think there is any doubt. Foster gets his day in court, of course. Although, he has already been suspended without pay for 2 weeks from Pawlenty's presidential efforts.

The story with Foster's incident also gets juicier as he said he was trying to find Representative Erik Helland's home (Helland lives in Johnston. Police picked up Foster in Ankeny. Missed the house by 10 miles. Oops. The Register story said Foster lives with Helland). Helland, of course, had his own headlining-making problem with a drunk driving arrest.

I included Foster's arrest in the story I did for the 6pm news last night on WHO HD. My story was primarily about one man's efforts to make sure Iowans stay "Stuck with Huck" and don't give up on Mike Huckabee running for president. Here's my story:

Perhaps, a long-winded way to my point...but here it is: when a temporary Iowan gets arrested in an embarrassing and potentially dangerous incident while he is working for a guy who wants to be president, how much of a news story is it? And should it affect Iowans' opinion of the candidate, Tim Pawlenty? I would argue it is a news story. Sure, some of this is the nature of it with the Pawlenty connection. And you have someone who police say got hammered and then went looking for the house of a lawmaker, who already had an alcohol incident. But I think, all of that aside, a report that says a drunken man trying to get into a family's home, because he is so drunk he doesn't know whose house it is, terrorizing the family and then the dad points a gun at him? Yes, I think that's news. I will say I don't see how this incident should hurt Pawlenty's image with Iowans. Perhaps, if Pawlenty ignored what happened, then it would be different But he suspended Foster for two weeks without pay. Pawlenty's actions may have actually scored him a few points with some people in an incident that, otherwise, provides very little positive aspects.

1 comment:

King of SNARK said...

I agree that it is a news story, unlike Dan Winters piece of having people on the street reading resolutions passed by the Republican led House.

That's a story that could be done every session, regardless of which party is in control.

It would have been more interesting to me for Winters, or Elizabeth Klinge, to ask Representative Bruce Hunter why he was taking part in the AFGE informational picket, about a federal government shutdown, during a work day in the House.

Klinge's story had video of Hunter, his wife and another Iowa Fed rep holding signs.