Subscribe

Need a dodge for questions you're not ready to answer? Here it is.

'I'm focused on' is one of those maxims that’s difficult for anyone beyond a politician’s inner circle to disprove. And it helps demonstrate said politician’s devotion to his or her current duties. Ask Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

  • close
    Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) pushes South Dakota lawmakers to support a balanced federal budget amendment during a Jan. 20, 2015, meeting at an American Legion post in Pierre, S.D. The meeting was the first of a six-state tour promoting a balanced budget amendment.
    James Nord/AP
    View Caption
  • About video ads
    View Caption
of

“I’m focused on …” An all-purpose way for politicians to dodge reporters’ questions – which invariably are about the lawmakers’ aspirations for higher office – that they aren’t ready to answer.

It’s one of those maxims that’s difficult for anyone beyond a politician’s inner circle to disprove. And of course, it helps to demonstrate said politician’s devotion to his or her current duties.

A year or so out from the 2016 primaries, potential Republican presidential candidates often fall back on the phrase. Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) has become expert at it, arguing that pressing state business is keeping his eyes on Columbus – for now, anyway.

Recommended: 14 Republicans running in 2016

“I’m introducing a budget in another week that will be another significant reform budget,” Governor Kasich told “Fox News Sunday” earlier this week. “That's what we do out here.... What I'm going to do is focus now, I've gotta get this budget going.... There's plenty of time for me to decide.”

Top Florida Republicans also recently took the approach regarding the 2018 gubernatorial race. At Gov. Rick Scott’s recent inauguration, Attorney General Pam Bondi assured probing reporters: “I’m focused on being attorney general for the next four years,” echoing similar sentiments by Agriculture Commission Adam Putnam and Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater.

And in California, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom opted out of 2018 gubernatorial speculation by saying he was focused on another statewide race he isn't even running for – an open US Senate seat in 2016. “We're going to focus appropriately on what's in front of us, and that’s the Senate seat that we hope Democrats are successful in replacing one of the legendary California Democrats, Barbara Boxer,” he said.

Athletes and coaches regularly trot it out, too, as a way of indicating they’re not distracted by anything beyond what’s in front of them. “The only thing I’m focused on is the Seattle Seahawks,” New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick declared this week, in a highly unsuccessful effort to deflate the national chatter over Deflategate.

But the most memorable nonpolitical use is still by Martha Stewart in 2002, when she was the target of insider-trading allegations for which she eventually did jail time. Asked repeatedly about her financial misdeeds on CBS’s “Early Show” during her cooking and home-entertainment segment, Stewart curtly responded that she wanted “to focus on my salad.”

Chuck McCutcheon and David Mark write their "Speaking Politics" blog exclusively for Decoder Voices. 

About these ads
Sponsored Content by LockerDome
 
 
Make a Difference
Inspired? Here are some ways to make a difference on this issue.
FREE Newsletters
Get the Monitor stories you care about delivered to your inbox.
 

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...

Save for later

Save
Cancel

Saved ( of items)

This item has been saved to read later from any device.
Access saved items through your user name at the top of the page.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You reached the limit of 20 saved items.
Please visit following link to manage you saved items.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You have already saved this item.

View Saved Items

OK