This is from Matt's coverage of today's belated press conference, during which Macon area leaders stated the obvious - they're not standing with Macon Mayor Jack Ellis in his alleged support of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Forget for a moment that they only started shouting about this after Fox News came to town and their phones started ringing, instead of taking a stand last week when the story broke.
Ellis, who leaves office when his term expires in December, sometime in July sent a statement of "solidarity" to Caracas, Venezuela. His target audience was the mayors in the South American country, he has said. Ellis sent the proclomation by two couriers, who, according to Venezuela's state-controlled radio station, personally delivered it to Chavez.
Chavez, during his weekly radio and television show, thanked Ellis for his support. The mayor has praised Chavez for his humanitarian leadership and efforts to provide discounted heating fuel to poor U.S. citizens. Ellis has said he hopes to visit Chavez in Venezuela, which is among the world's top oil producing countries.
Now, Ellis and his folks say they don't have a copy of the letter, so we really don't know who it was addressed to. It's hard for me to believe he wouldn't keep something like that. What, was it handwritten? How is it important enough to send via not one, but two couriers, but not worth keeping your own copy of? But let's put all that aside for a moment.
Is it possible that this thing was never intended to go to Chavez - that it got forwarded to Chavez and he used it to feed his own ego?
Remember that Ellis is a Vietnam veteran. In fact one of his sons has spina bifida because of Ellis' exposure to Agent Orange during the war. The man is a lot of things, but unpatriotic isn't one of them. So I have a hard time believing Ellis' goal was to align himself with Chavez, who pretty much says he hates America.
Sadly, we may never know, due to a string of events typical of the Ellis administration. Last week he said he didn't have the letter. This week he left for Africa, making him hard to get ahold of (we're trying).
And of course all hell is breaking loose while he's unavailable to defend himself.