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The Luna-Cronin clash: What was that he said?

Both sides are standing by their conflicting versions of what was said yesterday in the Luna-Cronin clash at the City Club of Boise, shown here, when, just after Rep. Brian Cronin's opening remarks, state schools Superintendent Tom Luna leaned over to him and expressed displeasure about Cronin's remarks. This photo, taken by Dan King, photographer for the City Club, captures the moment.

I requested the audio from Boise State Public Radio, which broadcasts City Club forums, and will broadcast this one on Saturday evening; the forum also is scheduled to air on KTVB's 24/7 channel twice tomorrow, at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. (KTVB also has posted video of the forum here; the exchange comes about 28 minutes in, near the end of Part 1). Cronin maintains that Luna said something like, “That's the biggest piece of bullshit I've ever heard.” Luna maintains he said something like, “I could not believe the rhetoric in your speech” or “I could not believe what you said in your speech.” After the disputed comment, Cronin says “Mm-kay,” or laughs, and then Luna makes a comment that includes the word “lobbyist,” something like, “I tell you what, I'll never call you a lobbyist if you don't know what your roles are.” At that point, the audio cuts out because the moderator began speaking.

The audio is very difficult to make out, because Luna is practically whispering in Cronin's ear while the audience is applauding loudly. Cronin said he has “no doubt” that Luna made the BS comment; Luna's spokeswoman, Melissa McGrath, said, “Supt. Luna does not recall ever using that language yesterday.” You can listen for yourself (try some good headphones); here's a version with noise reduction that I found a little clearer; and here's one without. So far I've heard mixed verdicts from those who listen: Some hear one thing, others hear another…

  


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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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