Thursday, August 26, 2010

De-Constructing Billy

Nick Reed (NR): Billy Long here with us. How are you, sir?

Billy Long (BL): Good morning Nick, how you doing?

NR: I am doing just fine, I see you made it past the lobby; we were talking about that uh….

BL: Actually took me 12 minutes cuz when I started walking in they had all these crossdressers lined up out there and they said, I said, you know, “excuse me, excuse me.” They said, “Git back in line, git back in line.”
Can I do a couple of housekeeping things real quick?

NR: Oh yeah, yeah, please do.

BL: I want to welcome into this world, oh what I do with it here, now I got find it real quick, sorry about

NR: Oh, not a problem.

BL: But uh, Graham Patrick was born at uh, two, uh, 3:20 yesterday afternoon

NR: Oh, an afternoon birth.

BL: Yeah, 3 pounds, 11 ounces, a few months early. 17 inches long—that’s a keeper though, I used to fish a lot of bass tournaments, that’s a keeper.

NR: Oh sure, you don’t want to throw that one back.

BL: But anyway, Sherry and Pat Lane’s grandson that, uh, a lot of people know Sherry and Pat and Uh they had been concerned about the early delivery so I just want to welcome Graham Patrick. Also send my condolences to the, uh, family of Dennis Whaley, I don’t know if you knew Dennis or not over at Evangel Public Relation at Evangel but he was in Rotary with me and uh passed away after heart surgery over the weekend and uh they’re having his service here in day or two, just wanted to pass that condolence on to everyone over at Evangel and of course all of Dennis’ family. I mean you look gentleman up in the dictionary and there was Dennis Whaley’s picture.

NR: Well, uh, yeah, our thoughts and prayers go out. Um, with uh you we had you here you know getting kind of the business of things and last I think it was Friday, uh, one of your opponents, Scott Eckersley, had um joined us and he talked about one of the thing everybody is talking about and that’s the debate situation and uh…

BL: What debates?

NR: (laughing) Yeah, yeah, I know, whatever you mean. Uh and you know it started and he uh, he had uh put forth I guess an invitation or challenge of uh, having the ten debates, one every week at the courthouse steps.

We had talked quite extensively about it here on the program, not with him but just sort of analyzing and so forth uh, uh that and then there was to be a meeting with you guys and it happened and then, uh, he uh, had, uh, he came on expressed that you know he sort of felt that uh, um, I say sort of because I don’t want to mischaracterize what he said, but uh my impression was that he felt that um, you guys weren’t really serious about doing the debate and they showed up and that you guys pretty well just said, um, we’re not interested in doing this and walked away. Clearly you got a different interpretation of the events, the motivations that you had, um so we wanted you to be able to talk to people about that and anything else encompassing future debates, you know, if they are going to happen, when and where, if that stuff’s still in the planning, where you are with that.

BL: OK. I guess we start there, it’d be a good place to, as is, as any. I think it was Winston Churchill said that you know a lie’ll get halfaway around the world before the truth can get its pants on and I think that in these situations there’s always your side, my side and the truth.

And so I wanted to stop by and you all yesterday morning listened to you and act like no one could find me and didn’t know where I was.

I’ve been working extremely hard, had appointments non-stop, and uh, I work too, along with campaigning. I’ve got a job and did a couple of auctions yesterday and on Saturday had three auctions so you know, so it’s not like I’m sitting around eating bon-bons and drinking lemonade on the sofa.

NR: sort of

BL: at home.

NR: As nice as that might be.

BL: Yeah, right. I, uh,, but, uh anyway, this is my interpretation of what happened: They’ve said we want to do these debates, challenged you to a series of ten courthouse debates, we said, and you check the record, you won’t see anywhere where we agreed to it.

We agreed to debate, we agreed to talk about the ramifica….what, what to debate, how to debate, where to set these debates up. So, in good faith, we met with ‘em.

And I brought my guy down from Kansas City, and they’re involved in other campaigns and they said this debate about debates is nothing new, it’s happening all over the country. I think their, were involved in four debates about the debates that day when they came down here to meet with, you know, the other side.

They set down and said here’s the debate schedule: Thursday, Tuesday, Thursday, Tuesday, Thursday, Tuesday at these ten different courthouses.

We said we’re not going to do that. We’re not going to go with high noon and you know I thought maybe they were trying to stroke me out, get a big old boy like me out there, you know, and say hey this guy you know he’ll stroke out in this, this heat in the summertime in August here but you know we’re not going to debate and they said no we’re here, we’ll talk about the debates, we’ll decide where to debate, when to debate, the format you know, whatever it is.

No, no, no that’s not, we’re going to do the ten or nothing, they said.

You’re serious.

Said, yep, yep, that’s it, you do so it’s you know, it’s kinda like

NR: yeah

BL: my way or the highway and as we left they said wh. Well you go away and you pick your format and you come back with a plan. This is our plan; we want to see your plan.

We left in good faith. My guy at the end did tell them, though, he said, he said now we are going to go ahead and leave now so you can get your news release out. I mean these people are serial news releasers.

Within an hour of leaving, we’re getting calls from all across the seventh district: Long won’t debate, Long won’t debate. He backed out on his thing. KOLR10 did a story the other night or KSFX, one of them and uh

NR: Well

BL: Well they said it appeared that Billy Long backed out after he said. We never said we would do ten courthouse debates. I’m anxious to debate.

I did seventeen and this is another thing we told the TV station that they didn’t air, we did seventeen debates. I debated more than anyone in this race. Every one of my opponents in the eight Republican primaries missed some of the debates, forums whatever you want to call them, I did seventeen, Scott Eckersley did three of those with me. We’ve done two televised debates, the guy acts like I’m afraid to debate him like we’ve never debated.

I mean it’s, I’m anxious to debate him. I want to get him on the record and see how closely, you know, what his views are and what he thinks about cap and trade, what he thinks about border security, I’m very anxious to debate and if he’ll act in good faith, there will be debates

NR: Well, I was gonna ask cause we got a couple of minutes left here, do you actually think because and uh you know, we’ve spoken with your camp and we speak with his camp and uh, Kevin Craig, he’s pretty much like hey just tell me when and where and I’ll do it, you know.

BL: Sure.

NR: But uh, you guys both have, you and Scott, busy schedules and everything and it just appears as if there is, regardless of, of, of, you know, who’s responsible for uh, a tremendous divide in terms of being able to find that, uh, that middle ground there. Uh, do you, do you think that’s it’s realistic, that it is going to happen?

BL: I’m starting to have my doubts about that.

NR: uh

BL: because I’ve been in sales, I’ve been in negotiations my whole life, OK, I’ve negotiated a million real estate deals, contracts, and, you have to have people that are dealing in good faith. When one is and one isn’t, you can’t get a deal put together. And I kinda sense that happening here because we leave the table in good faith saying OK, you know we’re not going to do your ten, you, you had. The reason I’m here today

NR: unintelligible

BL: I listened to your show yesterday and driving off you’re talking about Obama and Kim Jung Il

NR: uh huh

BL: You talk about an analogy, my friend, after what you play yesterday’s show back and first part about Eckersley and myself and if you play back Kim Jung Il, you said, you know, when Kim Jung Il says jump, Obama says how high. I’m sorry I’m not gonna do that.

You know I ran I mean I went through this same thing just like you all, where’s Waldo, where’s Billy Long, where’s he’s off the radar, he was all over the map. We’ve seen him on, you know, all during the campaign. This is exact, you know, go back to some of the, uh, news media reports on things in the Republican primary, this exact same thing happened, I mean I got out there, I was in front of the cameras, I came on this show two or three times fore you were here, did every, everything I could do and then I started going out and working grassroots, going to the courthouses, going and meeting people, passing out 7,000 of my cards and I don’t run to a microphone every time one’s offered and I don’t jump in front of a camera every time one’s offered and I’m not gonna try this thing in the media. I’m not gonna, you know, if they want to build their, I would like to get what we’re doing right now, I have become the story. We haven’t heard anything about where the other two stand on any issue other than those three debates that, uh, one of them was in, the other was in, I think one of those debates, and the Libertarian was in one, Mr. Craig. And so you know, they don’t want to talk about the issues; they want to talk about me.

One of my supporters was at the chiropractor’s the other day and he said, this guy said you know, on his back, working his back you know, gittin’ reading to pop his back and as he starts to pop it he said, “So is Billy gonna debate that guy or not?” Crack. And you know, my consciences, everywhere you go, that’s all people want to talk about

NR: Well, let me ask you

BR: is the debates.

NR: I know because I can hear it in my head, I know this is what the other side is gonna say, um, and when you say that, uh, they don’t want to talk about the issues, they just want to talk about the debate, I know immediately what their stance is going to be: No, we do want to talk about the issues, that’s why we’re trying to have the debates. What do you say to that thought process here?

BL: We are dealing in good faith, ok. We are dealing in good faith. I’m not gonna let ‘em, you know, I’m not gonna let Obama, Pelosi and Reid cram things down my throat, I’m not going to let Scott Eckersley cram things down my throat.

I mean we left that meeting and we’re doing what we said. We are negotiating right now with different venues, we’re gonna come back to them with a proposal and either you know, we’re gonna have the debates or we’re not.

So, that’s the long and short of it. That’s my answer.

I’ve got a, you know, Saturday I had a gun auction here in town which is a paying proposition for me, like I said, I have a job. I went at noon down to Branson, did an auction for the House Republican Caucus, I mean, you know, uh Nick, we just went through a fractious eight person Republican primary.

Ok. The 7th district I mean, I’ve been in every courthouse numerous times, and you know I don’t know if the other side had or not. But you go to those courthouses and they’re mostly all full of Republicans. And you know I’ve been working out to reach other supporters, to supporters of the other camps, other candidates.

I’ve been working night and day and it just and you know when I got up yesterday and I hear “Where’s Billy, he’s disappeared, he’s off the map,” I’m like.

Friday went down, Joanne Emerson, Congressman Emerson spoke in Branson at the Repub, Taney County Republican thing, I went down for that, then I went over to the Taney County Courthouse and visited with them, and you know, visited with supporters on the way back to town.

Saturday had the auction for, the gun auction here in town, the noon auction in Branson that brought in $121,000 for the House Republican Caucus, set an all time record, they usually sell 60,000.

Come up here that night, went out to the Darr Center, did the, uh, American Cancer Society Benefit Auction for the Cattle Baron’s Ball, I got home at 11 o’clock that night, so you know when I hear Oh well, he’s not doing anything my conscience, how hard can I work, you know.

NR: And, and so I’m, you’re feeling as though you are out there, it’s just not media coverage stuff that’s

BL: Yeah, I don’t, I don’t you know, to me it’s too early for all that. I don’t care about it, I’m not gonna, I mean, the newspaper called one night at, uh, I think five minutes til ten, I’d gone to bed about nine that night cause I’d had a long day the night before and I had to get up early.

Tomorrow I’m going to be on the radio in Joplin at seven o’clock. I’ve got an eight o’clock breakfast meeting, I go all day in Jasper and Newton counties, and uh, MacDonald County, and I end back up in Joplin for a dinner meeting tomorrow night, so you know, I’m be, it’s like

NR: I want to ask one other question and I’m running way late but I’m going to do it anyhow. Um, you know and like I said, I always try to think like and here’s what the other side uh, devil’s advocate, if you will and one of the things that they, you know, you’re very comfortable with, and you’ve laid out that, look, we’ve said to them that we’re gonna, you know, we’re gonna come up with a plan, a proposal with, uh, what ever media outlets that you want to work with and so forth, if I’m on the other side, then I, you know, I’m thinking to myself, well, he says the, he says he’s not going to let us cram down his throat demands for a debate but he’s saying that he’s the one who gonna, you know, essentially do the same, that they may perceive…

BL: They told us to do that, Nick.

NR: All right.

BL: They asked us to come.

NR: Ok

BL: our plan, that’s what we’re doning

NR: Gotcha

BL: We are meeting. I got people in from out of town that are meeting in good faith with radio stations, TV stations, venues

NR: So, they paint a

BL: We’re gonna

NR: They open that up for you to do then

BL: Yeah, I mean that’s, but when you leave in good faith an

NR: Sure

BL: they fire off a news release and within 60 minutes you’re getting phone calls form every out and outlet, why did you back? We didn’t back out, we never said we were going to do ten courthouse debates.

NR: Gotcha.

BL: I mean, you know, I mean fair is fair, you know. I ran into Mr. Eckersley the other night at the Farm Bureau. Ok. And he’s if, you know, he needs to be accurate, I guess, in his statements. And if he continues not to be accurate, I’m gonna, you know I can campaign all season long and not do a debate. That’s fine, ok.

NR: Do you think that might happen? Do you think that we may go without

BL: Sure it could happen, I mean the way it is going, and, and, and if you know what he says is not accurate, I’m only gonna, you know, go along so long without havin’ somebody misrepresent things and say things---give you one example: we’re at the Farm Bureau the other night and we’re doin’ our interviews for their endorsement.

NR: uh huh.

BL: Ok, they’re 30 minute. Jay Wasson 6:30 to 7, he goes in, does his. I pass him in the parking lot as I’m walking in, I’m 7-7:30. I don’t know who’s coming after me. The candidates are not supposed to be in together, they’re not supposed to hear each other. So, I do my 30 minutes. I walk out of the building, I’m standing out, we’re just on the back steps of the Darr Center, over here, talking to Anson Elliott, from MSU, you know, about agricultural things that are happening at MSU. One of my aides is with me, so there’s three of us standing there. The door behind me, bang, the door flies open, Scott Eckersley dives out at me, shakes, puts his hand out, big smile, hey, hey, and I turn around, shake hands say how are you , you know, and he said hey, we need to get those debates goin’, we need to get those debates goin’. And I said, I said, we just had them Scott, you’re late, they were in there, I just got done, you just missed the debate. You know, just being, just being jovial, friendly, upbeat like I am. He puts on his twitter page—ran into Billy Long at the Farm Bureau, asked him about the debates he said he was late and he had to leave and he took off! Come on! You know I mean, there’s only, you know I ran for 18 months in the Republican primary never running against my opponents. I told who I was, what I was, what I did, what I wanna do in Washington and that’s what I want this to be.

I mean he’s, he’s run down my campaign people publically, the other night he said that I, he said, I don’t mind saying that, what was it he called me? A uh, uh, oh, gimmick!

NR: Uh, Ok, I think it was KOLR10 maybe.

BL: Yeah, yeah, he said I’m not afraid to say it but my opponent is a gimmick. You know because, uh James Harris, and again, I’m busy that day, I had a 7:30 appointment at a business that morning with about four, five, six state reps, state rep candidates, business leaders, 7:30 in the morning, I’m going all day long.

Sometime during the day KOLR10 calls and wants a comment or wants a, one of my guys runs over there and gives them a few words and now, and now, it’s like I got, you know, a spokesperson speaking for Billy Long because he’s in hiding eating bon-bons and drinking lemonade on the sofa. Yeah.

NR: Well, I’ll tell you, what, listen, I appreciate our coming in and we went, uh, long, but uh, I think it was well worth it and I will say this: should you come out, uh, the victor, if anything, I suppose this will prepare you for life in Washington, D.C.

BL: I have

NR: and dealing with media and public, you know and all that stuff.

BL: That, I mean I’ve had this knock before. If you go back and look at the reports, they knocked me because they said I was afraid to debate. Before we ever debated that first of the 17, crazy. I mean people ask me before I go into debate, are you nervous, are you nervous about the KOLR10 debate, you know, that we did here a few weeks ago at the Expo Center.

NR: Yep.

BL: No, I roll in and I, you know, I shoot from the hip, I don’t go in pre-prepared, I was not nervous at any of ‘em. I don’t, these debates are not going to be earth shattering.

NR: We need a break.

BL: We did 17 of ‘em and noth—I don’t think any of them had a, one of them was down in Ozark, this city, the Chamber of Commerce put on, there were, there was and Mr. Eckersley was in that one, there was, and Mr. Davis was too, the other Democrat. But there was 8 or 9, I think there was ten of us there that night. There was 80 people in the crown, 8 votes for each candidate, most of those 80 people had a tee shirt on for one of the candidates.

NR: Yeah.

BL: So John Q. Public wasn’tthere, you know the media didn’t care about the primary, there was very few stories, now the media is all about, you know, I’ve been running a marathon for 18 months, working night and day, working hard, gettin’ out and meetin’ the people, we’re into sprint time and I think it’s like the tortoise and the hare.

I’m the energizer turtle, that’s the second cousin to the energizer bunny, I just keep movin’ and Ecksersley’s the hare. He’ll run ahead and set up a news conference and then I’ll catch up to him and he’ll run ahead and set up a news conference so we’ll see on November the second who’s got the best strategy.

NR: All right, Billy Long, appreciate your coming in, hopefully we’ll get a chance to talk with you soon, and uh, hope that you make your way out of the lobby, I know it was a little difficult getting in—

BL: Had to fight my way in here. Thank you, Buddy.

NR: Billy Long.