FORT MYERS, Fla. - Rep. Trey Radel's press conference last night captivated southwest Florida. We want to know, did a great deal of strategy go into it?
We all have unanswered questions, including when his wife, Amy, found out about the cocaine arrest; and for how long the congressman will be in treatment. It's why Fox 4 asked a PR specialist to analyze not only what Rep. Rad said last night but what he didn't say.
It was a rare sight. Rep. Radel, the most media savvy congressman representing southwest Florida, refused to answer more questions at his news conferees Wednesday night.
"Is there a strategy behind giving a Q&A and bolting out like that?" Fox 4 reporter Gabrielle Sarann asked Colleen Reynolds, a public relations counselor. "I don't think so," she replied. "I didn't feel like he bolted. There's gotta be a line you draw and say, 'Okay I'm done answering the questions'."
Reynolds has been in crisis management for 22 years. Rep. Radel is not a client.
"This is going to be a legal issue for him," said Reynolds. "He's got to be very careful about what he says and when he says it."
For four minutes, the freshman Republican addressed his constituents. He said he's sorry for using cocaine, admitted he needs counseling and even spoke for the first time about his late mom's battle with alcoholism.
"It is not an easy thing to deal with," said Rep. Radel last night. "I didn't want my son to go through that."
"When you can make yourself appear to be more human, and to be experiencing things other people just like you can be experiencing, I don't think that's a bad strategy," said Reynolds.
And she says everything Rep. Radel said was strategic.
"You have to apologize, you have to take responsibility, you have to be transparent and you have to show what you're going to do to fix it," explained Reynolds.
Down to the place and time . The news conference was at 10:30 p.m. just before the 11:00 p.m. newscasts.
"Its basically prime time, even though it's a little bit late," said Reynolds. "That's a time when people are going to be watching it."