Monday, July 10, 2006

Huge interview for DeVos

Sports talk radio's Huge (Bill Simonson) spoke with gubernatorial candidate Dick DeVos during the Steve Smith Charity Challenge golf event here in GR today. Former Italian Ambassador Pete Secchia co-hosted the conversation. (Note: Don't ask me about the Huge-Secchia connection. I asked my husband to explain, but I still don't get it. Even so, the two can make for some entertaining listening.)

When I tuned in, they'd been talking for a few minutes already, and the subject was sports, of course. When Huge asked the candidate what was one thing he would have like to do in sports, DeVos answered "If I had the size, I would have loved to play college football." Then Secchia chimed in to tell us that younger bro Doug played quarterback at Perdue. And he listed off all the sports teams the DeVos family owns or has owned. Huge proclaimed the family to be "monster sports fans" and we got to hear Dick reminisce about family trips to Florida in the car, where all they could manage to pack in was a bat and an old beat-up ball ... the first thing he and his brothers would do when they arrived was play "pickle" on the beach with their dad (Rich DeVos, Amway co-founder) ... ah, the fond memories. I didn't know he was such a down-to-earth guy.

Secchia then felt compelled to contribute a mini-history of the success of DeVos-family business Amway, but Huge steered the topic back to sports. So I was surprised when he transitioned to the topic of RDV and Secchia receiving the Woodrow Wilson Award recently, where Rich stated during the ceremony that he was proud of his son for running for governor, which set up the very pointed question: "So why did you decide to take a shot at running for governor?"

Well, DeVos didn't say anything we haven't heard already, but it was funny to listen to him weave in the obligatory sports metaphors. Some paraphrase from the interview:

Huge: So why did you decide to take a shot at running for governor?

DeVos: I think I can make a difference, offer something worthwhile, make a contribution ... Let's get out there and make this state better. Michigan is struggling. I talk to people everyday who tell me their kids are leaving because they can't get a job here. It just breaks my heart to see that kids are leaving. I can't just sit on the sidelines. Put me in, coach. I've got the business background to apply to make this state a better place.

Huge: What's the first thing you'd do as governor?

I'd get rid of this thing called the Single Business Tax ... It's a job killer. I want to put Michigan back on track with the rest of the country. We need a substitution in this game. You know how sometimes a game goes along and you need to pick up the tempo to win? We need a tempo change in this game.

Huge: What's the toughest thing you've faced so far in your campaign?

It's a big state. Ten million people live here. Every day I'm going out there, shaking hands, talking to people. It takes a tremendous amount of dedication, but I'm out there every day. That's been my biggest challenge physically. But I'm in training for that, too. In business I got up and went to work every day.

It's been a thrill for me to get to know so many people. It has been an honor to be a candidate. We're very pleased with the results. A year ago everyone said, 'no way can you win,' and here today we're tied in the race. But we're definitely the underdog. But it's not about winning for me. It's about changing this state, bringing the kids home. That's what it's about for me.

Secchia: So you have all these people telling you they'll vote for you, but how do you know they'll go to the polls?

That's always a good question. But when I have someone look me in the eye and say, 'I voted for the other team last time, but this time I'm supporting you,' I know they mean it. We've got to change this state. And we're not going to change it by putting the same team on the field.

People are resonating with the fact that it's time for a businessman to step up. I've got the background. I've created jobs. I know how to do business in international markets. I turned a company around ...

That was about it, except for a little banter among the three as Huge wound down the interview. Like I said, not much there. But fun for all the metaphor reaching!


Blogger Christine said...

That's hilarious. I wonder how many advisors it took to script that for him.

2:23 PM  
Blogger Kathy said...

I think I can make a difference, offer something worthwhile, and make a contribution too. Do you think I could get on the ballot?

Oh, I forgot. I don't have inherited wealth to help make it happen.

3:52 PM  

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