Unlucky 13 for Corzine

Score one for the Governor’s public relations team. For the last few weeks, they have been working overtime to fuel speculation Corzine was being considered as the Prez-elect’s Treasury Secretary.

While the Star Ledger was the first to report on the guv’s Treasury vetting after the election (11.05.08), more than a dozen stories ran in newspapers up and down the Garden State — from the Herald News to the Courier Post. Other media coverage included CNBC and WCBS Newsradio 880 in New York, The Wall Street Journal, climaxing with last Friday’s Today Show appearance with Matt Lauer and MSNBC's Morning Joe.

Reporters covering Corzine’s shortlisting, all asked the same obvious stock question: Are you interested in the job?

No one asked the Question 13 question.

Question No. 13 on the Obama transition background check questionnaire goes like this:

“If you have ever sent an electronic communication, including but not limited to an email, text message or instant message, that could suggest a conflict of interest or be a possible source of embarrassment to you, your family, or the President-Elect if it were made public, please describe.”

Hmm. Let's think about that one for a minute. OK, time's up.

So, in the category of Questions we wish the news media had asked: Governor, if nominated, will you release the e-mails exchanged between you and Carla Katz that your AG is arguing deserve to be protected by executive privilege?

Oh well, now that NY Federal Reserve head Timothy F. Geithner is getting the Treasury post, we'll never know.

Gannet’s Bob Ingle gave us a tease of what might have been, had Jersey's email-gate become national news.

As Ingle put it, “Being vetted in itself doesn't guarantee anything, and it has its down side. In Corzine 's case, a thorough vet would include the e-mails between him and union leader Carla Katz, his former gal pal, and other controversial activities we take in stride in Jersey but the rest of the country will find disturbing. That would, however, make a Senate hearing on Corzine 's qualifications a fun watch”.

Debbie Holtz, PolitickerNJ.com's political media columnist, studies and teaches public policy and writing at Rutgers University. Unlucky 13 for Corzine