published Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

Chuck? He’s not talking

No one should be surprised that Rep. Chuck Fleischmann wouldn’t speak directly to Chris Carroll, this newspaper’s reporter, on Monday about a possible 2012 re-election campaign. That’s nothing unusual. Fleischmann, it is increasingly evident, refuses to talk to constituents or anyone else.

Carroll’s query — prompted by a New York Times story about opposition to Fleischmann next year — was answered, instead, in an email from Jordan Powell, a spokesman for the congressman. “Right now,” the correspondence read, “we’re worrying about the deficit, cutting spending and getting our financial house in order. We’re not thinking about politics.” That’s disingenuous, to say the least. There’s strong evidence to the contrary.

A Federal Election Commission report itemizes $102,674 raised for a potential 2012 campaign. Given that and continuing fund-raising efforts, it’s clear that someone in the Fleischmann camp is thinking about politics and getting its own financial house in order, regardless of the congressman’s silence and the rhetoric flowing from his office.

Though a congressional rookie, Fleischmann is an old hand when it comes to avoiding the public and its inquiries. He usually refused to appear with 2010 GOP primary opponents, showing up only when failure to do so would erode his party credentials. In the general election, he was a will-o’-the-wisp. He never gave the public or his opponent a chance to engage him in discourse.

That pattern has continued since Fleischmann took office. Earlier this month, a New York Times reporter tried to ask Fleischmann about a possible challenge in the upcoming 3rd District GOP primary from Weston Wamp, the son of former Rep. Zach Wamp. The congressman was mum. Chip Saltsman, his chief of staff, answered for him, providing a statement that mirrored the one Powell sent to Carroll on Monday.

The failure to communicate is the hallmark of Fleischmann’s brief congressional career. The congressman seems to prefer email as a communications tool. There’s nothing wrong with that — if a response is forthcoming. In many instances, apparently, one is not.

Al Ezell, in a letter to the editor printed in this paper on July 3, delineated his email adventure with Fleischmann. He called the congressman’s office and was told the best way to contact him was via email. He did so. Four months and several phone calls later, according to Ezell, he still had not received a response. The congressman, apparently, is no more forthcoming via email than he is in person.

A staffer in his Oak Ridge office said Tuesday that Fleischmann has no public events scheduled. His Web site confirms that. Given his reluctance to answer questions, face the public or speak to the media, constituents might rightly ask Fleischmann how he can serve their and district interests. If past practice is any indication, the question would go for naught.

It’s unlikely to elicit an answer.

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Selah said...

Go away Republicans...we need a new party that stands for morals, values of the majority and the rights of the middle class and working poor.

July 12, 2011 at 10:41 p.m.
hambone said...

Chuck is the STEALTH congressman.

July 13, 2011 at 12:28 a.m.
AlmostAmanda said...

That's the same problem I've had. I've e-mailed Chuck multiple times about a variety of issues and can't seem to get a response. I'll admit I didn't vote for the guy, but my husband (who can't even get a form e-mail response) did. He won't make that mistake again.

July 13, 2011 at 8:03 a.m.
sandyonsignal said...

He will only respond to his corporate masters; the media and voters are not important to him.

July 13, 2011 at 8:17 a.m.
sandyonsignal said...

Another thing, about a month ago, little Chuckie went on WGOW Talk Radio. He blathered on and on about stupid things with Jeff, then when it was time for callers, it was so hand picked it wasn't funny. Governor Haslam called in and yucked it up, wasting more time, and prevented callers from being able to talk.

It was disgusting. I ended up turning off this stupid stunt by Chuckie and WGOW. Haven't listened to them since.

July 13, 2011 at 8:21 a.m.
acerigger said...

"Tis better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt"

July 13, 2011 at 11:42 a.m.
Selah said...

acerigger...too funny

July 13, 2011 at 3:10 p.m.
chattcitizen said...

The fact that someone actually spent the time to write this article, editors took the time to edit the article and TFP took the time to post this article are all pathetic display of piss poor journalism.

Really, TFP, do you not at least have issues to report on anymore? J. Todd Foster, you've been "hard" at work for the TFP now for a little over a year. When you announced you would take the job, this is what was written, "He (Foster) brings extensive experience in managing a newsroom and producing quality journalism.” Where is this "quality" journalism we were told to expect?

Why is this piss poor journalism? First, because it's clearly personal. Well, TFP your angry because Rep. Chuck Fleischman did not agree to an interview with your recent college grad reporter, Chris Carroll. No offense Chris, but your just about as qualified to report on political issues as Weston Wamp is to run for Congress. You graduated high school in 2005, congrats, you've been able to vote now for a whopping six years, and out of college for 2. Although i admire your tenacity in attempting to distract congressional leaders from gov busines, did you or TFP ever stop to think that a U.S. Congressman may actually have work to do that doesn't involve time set aside for a 24 year old jr. reporter. Second, TFP your wasting valuable taxpayer money. You clog valuable communication channels by requesting interviews with our working politicians over nothing. Nothing, you say? In the article above you cite the fact that Chuck is not reachable because, among other things, he didn't respond to a NY Times reporter asking about a possible challenge from Weston Wamp.

Why would this be worth Chuck's time? I'll tell you why it's not worth his time, because it's not news worthy. The same reason your terrible journalism is receiving this response. Weston is not a challenger. He's a kid. He's a kid attempting to ride the coattails of his washed up daddy. What has he done? Oh that's right, he has a communications degree from UTK and a business his daddy started and handed him. If i was Chuck i would have laughed upon hearing a 24yr old planned to run against me. Why do you believe that should merit a response? I'm guessing because your acting under the mistaken belief that Chuck should drop what he is doing and give you a interview because you have nothing better to report about. I'm all for letting Zach hammer the final nail on his political career by destroying his son's political career before it begins.

Lastly, who hasn't seen Chuck around? I saw him several nights at riverbend. What was he doing? He he was shaking hands and talking to people. Just the other day i was driving past signal mountain blvd and saw chuck at one of our gas stations pumping gas and talking to customers as they came and went.

Maybe TFP your just angry because Chuck chooses not to talk to you. Why don't you quit wasting tax payer money and quit attempting to make up news stories.

July 13, 2011 at 4:47 p.m.
hambone said...

And Chuck's photo-op at the quik mart with all the tv camaras looking on wasn't wasting tax payer money?

July 13, 2011 at 5:32 p.m.
sandyonsignal said...

Fleischmann is not accessible to his constituents. You, Chattcitizen, go on a diatribe against TFP and say it is personal because of some small to do, what about us his constituents? Don't we deserve to have our questions answered? I hope Robin decks him in 2012, he's so afraid of her.

July 13, 2011 at 7:03 p.m.
Facts said...

chattcitizen, I regret voting for Chuck in the primary after swallowing the lies told about Mrs. Smith. He has no ability to think on his own and has withdrawn away from public speaking that deals with policy.

Do you want to know the really interesting comment I've heard from the African-American community? Not since Mrs. Smith was local party chairman has anyone made any attempt to work with conservative African Americans. I was stunned to hear two black men talk about her work to get Warren Mackey elected against William Cotton.

Now I know why Republican establishment folks are afraid of her. She's not afraid of them.

July 13, 2011 at 7:08 p.m.
328Kwebsite said...

Write him a letter. Send it USPS or use their congressional email. Even though I am a Democrat, Representative Emeritus Wamp would answer my mail or email himself within 48 hours.

July 13, 2011 at 7:33 p.m.
chet123 said...


July 14, 2011 at 8:24 a.m.
LibDem said...

chattcitizen: It's an editorial, not a news report. Try to separate the two.

July 14, 2011 at 5:28 p.m.
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