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Baumgartner retracts apology to reporter

U.S. Senate candidate Michael Baumgartner used an obscenity in criticizing a Seattle reporter’s coverage of his campaign, apologized in a written statement from the campaign, then later backtracked, saying the reporter had it coming.

Baumgartner was reacting to a story Monday on PubliCola, an Internet publication, detailing his stance on not allowing government funding of abortions for rape victims. In it, Baumgartner said he wished the news media would focus on other issues like the economy and ending the war in Afghanistan.

That evening Baumgartner sent reporter Josh Feit an email with a picture of himself and a Navy SEAL in Iraq while he was an adviser there. The SEAL, Baumgartner wrote, was recently killed in Afghanistan. He wrote that Feit should “take a good look and then go (bleep) yourself.” PubliCola posted the picture and the contents of the email Tuesday.

In a statement released by the campaign, Baumgartner said he thought the email was personal, but nonetheless apologized to Feit. About an hour later, in an interview with KIRO-TV, he said Feit “had it coming” and that he wasn’t apologizing. Although the statement quotes him as making an apology, he told KIRO reporter Graham Johnson he hadn’t seen that part of it before it was sent.


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