Political Notebook

  • Daniels' near-presidential run dissected
    In the end, it was the lure of playing the hallowed grounds of Augusta National Golf Club that brought then-Gov. Mitch Daniels and a tight-knit group of friends and supporters together in the fall of 2009 to discuss whether he should run for
  • 2 Hoosiers named to U.S. House Energy Committee
    Reps. Susan Brooks, R-5th, and Larry Bucshon, R-8th, have been named to the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee for the 114th Congress.
  • Indiana House sets leaders for session
    The Indiana House has tapped leadership and committee chairs for the 2015 General Assembly.

Zoeller mum after ban ruling

Attorney General Greg Zoeller has never been shy.

He regularly comments on cases, files briefs around the nation and issues a ton of press releases about office activities.

But since a federal judge struck down Indiana’s marriage ban last month, he has been unusually quiet. His office issued several news releases explaining the process, but they lacked any quotes from Zoeller.

Instead, they directed media to quote a spokesman.

Compare that to March 2013 when Zoeller distributed an op-ed piece to newspapers about his obligation to defend the state’s authority to define marriage.

Then on March 7, 2014 – when the gay marriage suit was filed – Zoeller promised to defend the statute.

“People of goodwill have sincere differences of opinion on the marriage definition, but I hope Hoosiers can remain civil to each other as this legal question is litigated in the federal court,” Zoeller said.

On March 13, Zoeller was quoted saying, “when plaintiffs who disagree with an Indiana statute file a challenge in court, I have a duty as Indiana’s attorney general to defend our state and the statute the legislature passed to the best of my skill and ability – and will do so here, both now and on any appeal.”

But in April, when a temporary restraining order was issued, a news release was sent but included nothing from Zoeller.

Again, after a May 2 hearing on the suit, nothing from Zoeller.

When the temporary restraining order was extended, nothing from Zoeller.

When the ruling came down, no quote from Zoeller.

When the stay was announced, nothing from Zoeller.

This week when issuing guidance to clerks, no quotes from Zoeller.

In the meantime, he had spoken in news releases about a tobacco settlement and winning a cold beer lawsuit.

It was so perplexing, The Journal Gazette tweeted about the missing-in-action attorney general on Monday.

Within two hours, a two-paragraph response to an emergency appeal for a dying woman in a same-sex marriage was released from the attorney general’s office.

In it, bold lettering announced that Zoeller made the following statement.

“The State has extensively researched this matter and sincerely wishes it found a provision within our state’s statutes that would allow for some extraordinary relief, or humanitarian exception to the rule of law that would grant what petitioners request. If this Court can find an exception that would apply, this circumstance surely warrants its use.”

Chamber taps Dennis Miller

The Indiana Chamber of Commerce is bringing the funny to its 25th annual awards dinner with an appearance by television and radio personality and comedian Dennis Miller.

Miller will headline the organization’s annual celebration that recognizes Hoosier business success on Nov. 6 at the Indiana Convention Center in downtown Indianapolis.

A five-time Emmy award winner for the nine-year run of the HBO show “Dennis Miller Live,” Miller is also known for his time behind the Weekend Update desk on “Saturday Night Live.” Today, he hosts “The Dennis Miller Show,” a three-hour talk radio program airing on more than 250 stations.

Miller is also an author, actor, former sports correspondent for ABC’s “Monday Night Football” and well-known as a political commentator.

Sponsored by Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, the annual event kicks off with a reception at 5 p.m.; the awards dinner will begin at 6:30 p.m.

Three prestigious awards – for business and government leaders of the year and for community of the year – will be presented during the dinner.

Seating is limited. Tables of 10 cost $2,250 for gold seating, $1,650 for silver seating and $1,200 for standard seating. Individual tickets cost $120 each.

Tickets are available at www.indianachamber.com/specialevents or by calling 800-824-6885.

Muscle mass

If your computer’s search-engine alerts are set to the names of certain elected officials, you know that Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., shares a name with other men in the world, including a bodybuilding trainer and model in Los Angeles.

You think your email ping is a news item about the senator, but it turns out to be the shirtless Joe Donnelly with the bulging biceps.

So we were amused by a testimonial on the senator’s “Just Ask Joe” video series from Noble County businessman Tom Ducheteau.

He says Donnelly’s office was able to quickly resolve a bureaucratic glitch with his company’s certifications as a small business, veteran-owned business and HUBZone business.

Contracts with a major customer depended on the verification of those certificates, Ducheteau says.

“If you have an issue and you’ve got a couple of big government agencies that just seem too big and powerful for you to deal with,” Ducheteau says in the video, “you can bring in some extra muscle with Sen. Donnelly.”

Donnelly is shown wearing a jacket, shirt and necktie in his photo at the start of the “Just Ask Joe” video, so we cannot tell how his pecs and abs compare to those of his L.A. namesake.

To reach Political Notebook by email, contact Brian Francisco at bfrancisco@jg.net or Niki Kelly at nkelly@jg.net. An expanded Political Notebook can also be found as a daily blog at www.journalgazette.net/politicalnotebook.