House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) was scheduled to be interviewed tonight by Chicago radio host John Williams. His previous radio appearances had been exclusively with conservative sympathizers like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. Williams is a moderate who planned to ask tough questions.
But Hastert never showed.
This evening, National Review’s Kathryn Jean Lopez published this face-saving post at The Corner:
A top source in the speaker’s office tells me: “We never booked WGN. Am not aware of a call.”
But according to the show’s producer Matt Bubala, who spoke to ThinkProgress tonight, the interview was very much scheduled, and Hastert staffers apparently were not telling the truth about why Hastert bailed on the show.
Bubala said the statement by the anonymous Hastert staffer was a “flat out lie.” He says that Hastert’s deputy press secretary Chris Taylor emailed him midday — before Kirk Fordham’s revelations were made public — requesting an interview with Williams for tonight. As the scheduled time for the interview approached, Bubala said, Taylor called several times claiming that Hastert was on an important call and likely might not be available in time for the interview. But according to Bubala, an employee for WGN’s sister television station said that while Hastert was supposedly on a telephone call, a WGN cameraman was filming Hastert arriving at and entering his home in Illinois.