So last week when RNC head Reince Priebus dropped by Vermont for a quick $300 lunch and optional $2,000 for a photo op with the chairman, the press was excluded. Maybe after his first visit as RNC chairman in 2011 someone wanted a quieter event. Then, members from half a dozen labor unions picketed outside the Hilton in Burlington objecting to Priebus’ anti-union action in Wisconsin.
When asked by Seven Days who banned the press from the latest Priebus visit, VTGOP Chairman David Sunderland hemmed and hawed but eventually got around to taking credit for the decision.
"I need to refresh my memory and think if that was requested by them or by us. I don’t think that it was ever, I don’t want to misstate something. I guess you could say that the Vermont GOP decided it would be closed."
Scott Milne, the Republican candidate for governor, was there too and made clear he had little to do with the party event. “It's not my event” he said three times when asked repeatedly about the press ban. Poor Scott isn’t exactly up to speed in the practice of speaking to the press in political subtleties.
According to Sunderland it was an informal gathering for Vermont Republicans to listen to the RNC chairman’s thoughts on national party strategy. With no reporters at the event we don’t know what was actually said but Priebus may very likely have repeated parts of a message he gave to another party gathering a short time ago.
At an August RedState event in Texas the chairman said the RNC should be
"a national party that's permanent, on the ground, all the time."
Priebus denied doing so but it sounds as if he is halfheartedly channeling parts of Howard Dean’s fifty state strategy.
"You've got to be competent in all fifty states," Priebus told Townhall.com. "You've got to be spending a heck of a lot more money in Florida, Ohio, and Virginia, than we are in maybe Vermont. But that doesn't mean you totally ignore Vermont forever, because once in awhile, you've got a good shot at a governor's race." [added emphasis]
Well, it’s likely that Priebus tweaked his Texas remarks a little bit for his VTGOP $300 a plate luncheon/$2,000 per photo op audience. I can’t imagine his statement:“Once in while you get a good shot at a governor’s race” will make a very good Vermont slogan or rallying cry to inspire the Republican faithful this year.
But like Scott Milne said “it isn’t my event.”