Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Easley on the stand

During Wednesday's historic State Board of Elections hearing that offered the spectacle of a former governor being grilled publicly by board members, there was a short break and Easley wandered over to where I was reading the New York Times. Before the hearing resumed I had time for one question: In hindsight, was it that good an idea for him to testify publicly? I had heard the governor's lawyers didn't want him to testify when other officials were still conducting inquiries, and I could see why. By the nature of the questions from board members, I had the distinct impression that Easley's version was not finding as much credibility as was his former ally McQueen Campbell's Monday version about flights, home repairs and payment. I didn't have my pad and pen in hand and thus couldn't record his answer, but the gist of it was that he felt, after all the stories about him and his campaign, some obligation to the people to answer questions publicly.

It has been clear from news stories that he wasn't going to answer questions that News & Observer reporters have for him, and that's too bad. They've done a lot of good work on Easley's record, and to my mind their questions are probably better focused than the election board members' sometimes rambling questions. But the truth is coming out, some of it, and some of it in fits and starts, and we'll know more when the board comes to its conclusion and when other authorities complete their investigations.