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Corbett: Life in the fishbowl

Published by Karen Langley on .

A day after taking heat for a video-taped remark that suggested he could not find Latinos to work for him, Gov. Tom Corbett told a business group it isn't easy living in the spotlight.

"There are a lot of good things about being governor, and there are some tough things about being governor, as you can well imagine," Corbett told an annual breakfast of the Harrisburg Chamber of Commerce and Capital Region Economic Development Corporation. "You kind of live in a fishbowl. Everything you say is just about recorded. Everybody parses it. Everybody takes it -- people can take it out of context, the opponents like to take it out of context."

It was the continuation of a notably vigorous response from the governor, whose office yesterday evening put out a statement saying Corbett's response to a question about about Latino staff members referred only to his immediate aides. The administration as a whole has nearly 1,500 Latino employees, and the governor has nominated at least three Latinos to leadership posts, the office said.

The remark -- exacerbated when Corbett added "If you can find one, please let me know" -- came a few weeks after the governor, during a recorded discussion about jobs and the Marcellus Shale industry, said employers reported difficulty finding workers who could pass a drug test.

Even as the governor criticized opponents for how they portray his remarks, he seemed particularly aware of the risk he could give them new opportunities At one point, while talking about the need to focus on educating students in science and technology, he said: "Because as I'm told, if you're an engineer, you're not out of work, and you're going to be able to find work."

Who knows if an image of Democrats' favorite new unemployed engineer flashed through his head, but he quickly followed up: "I'm sure there are some out, so those of you in the media, if you're here, I'm sure there are some out." 

Near the end, Corbett urged voters to focus on his actions.

"When people are going to judge me, when it comes to Election Day and they judge me, I truly hope they judge me on what we have done, what we have performed, what we have completed, what promises we have kept, and not how sometimes they want to twist and reinterpret the words that I say.

"Actions, not words," he concluded. 

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