UPDATE # 3: e-mailed at 11:46 AM. The message is re-sent, this time from Sirk's personal Yahoo e-mail account. The previous message was from her City of Pittsburgh e-mail account. The final version is the same quote from Mayor Ravenstahl, prefaced with the headline "LUKE RAVENSTAHL: PITTSBURGH'S MAYOR. OFFICIAL STATEMENT OF ENDORSEMENT FOR SENATOR HILLARY CLINTON FOR PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES".
UPDATE # 2: e-mailed at 11:16 AM:
Sirk, Alecia would like to recall the message, ""
UPDATE: The following statement from Mayor Ravenstahl was e-mailed by his press secretary Alecia Sirk at 11:12 AM today:
“I am pleased to have the opportunity this afternoon to voice my support for Sen. Hillary Clinton as the next president of the United States,” Ravenstahl said. “In one of her speeches, Sen. Clinton said something that had particular meaning for me: she said ‘wait a minute, Wall Street; you’ve had your president. Now we need a president for Main Street.’
“That statement reflects my approach to government: putting neighborhoods first, bolstering job opportunities, ensuring that residents can thrive and grow families in Pittsburgh and other cities like ours. With Sen. Clinton in the White House we will have a partner in the White House who will champion programs that will help Pittsburgh thrive.”
When I asked, Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl insisted repeatedly during a news conference Tuesday that he had not decided between Senator Hillary Clinton and Senator Barack Obama. Within hours, Clinton campaign sources were widely quoted as saying that in fact Ravenstahl will be endorsing Senator Clinton today.
You can watch the raw video from WTAE Channel 4 Action News on The Pittsburgh Channel website. Click here to open it in a new window. I'm also posting some of my questions and the mayor's answers below. The video also includes City Controller Michael Lamb's endorsement of Senator Obama.
Q: In your role as a super delegate, do you anticipate, have you made a decision on which candidate you're backing? If not, to you anticipate doing that prior to primary day? Why or why not?
A: I have not made a decision. I can tell you that I don't know if I'm a super delegate. I know that Rich (Lord of the Post-Gazette) reported as much. As a result of that, we've had some back and forth, and I don't know if I'm a pledged delegate or a super delegate, so I don't want to be -- I guess I don't want to say that I'm a super delegate. But I can tell you just generally, overall with the race, you know, I haven't made a decision yet. I'm in the process of having discussions with both campaigns and we'll go from there. I do anticipate making an endorsement at some point in time. When that will be, I'm not sure yet. But I think it's important for the mayor the city to make an endorsement at some point, and when I make a decision I'll make sure you guys are the first to know.
Q (from a second reporter): Will you be making the rounds with Senator Clinton tomorrow and Saturday?
A: You know, I don't even know what that means at this point. I don't know what the rounds are. I know she's going to be in town, but other than that I don't have any specific information. So, as of now, I don't know but I'm not planning on it at this point. It depends on what the specifics are and I don't have any of them at this point.
Q (from the second reporter): Has she talked to you recently about supporting her?
A: Not personally she hasn't, no. I talked to the president last week and Senator Obama this week and their campaigns respectively but I haven't directly spoken with her.
Q: Have you directly spoken with Obama, you said?
A: Yes I did.
Q: And what -- tell us about that conversation.
A: Just very vanilla. Obviously asking for support, and just looked forward to being in Pittsburgh and meeting me and, you know, spending some time in the state and the city.
[...later in the news conference...]
Q: Some people presume that Hillary Clinton would have the inside track for getting your support; is that not the case?
A: You guys are all speculators. I don't -- again, I like them both. It's a very difficult situation to be in. I think Democrats across the country are struggling with this. We've seen that when Senator Clinton got ahead, then all of a sudden here comes Senator Obama, and vice versa. So I think it's good healthy dialog and debate for the Democrats because we understand as a party, I think, what I just illustrated: that we need a change in this country and I think that's what you've seen happen over the course of time and certainly will happen in Pennsylvania over the next six weeks.
[...still later in the news conference, on the topic of whether he is a super delegate...]
A: "...in my discussions with the county executive, he suggested I was not a super -- I don't know what you reported, but his understanding of what you reported was not accurate. Now, I don't know what that means, I don't know -- I haven't talked directly to the state party. So, I think I am some form of a delegate, but I don't know that I'm a super delegate to speak my mind as I see fit.
Q (from a third reporter): I wasn't told you were a super delegate, but a PLEO, which is something different.
A: The distinction that he suggested -- and I didn't get a chance to read the e-mail from the state party -- but was that I was not free, necessarily, to speak my mind as I see fit. So, I'm pledged, in that I may have to, you know, whatever the state does or the city does, have to go that way. So I don't know that I'm free to speak my mind, is I guess the caveat that's different than perhaps what was reported. But I'll try to find out today, if I can.