New details emerge on 'embarrassing' 1989 Schuette video

Jonathan Oosting
The Detroit News
Then-Congressman Bill Schuette speaks during a 1989 interview in Washington D.C.

Lansing —  Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Schuette was an unmarried, 35-year-old congressman in 1989 when he spoke in sexual innuendo to a camera woman before an interview about the upcoming inauguration of incoming President George H. W. Bush.

Schuette’s campaign two weeks ago disclosed a short video clip of what he called an “embarrassing” exchange with the unseen camera woman in an apparent attempt to downplay potential publication of the footage by political opponents or national media.

A day before a Democratic group posted the 39-second clip online, Schuette’s campaign sent reporters a link to a since-deleted Michigan Conservative News post that included the footage and a statement from the regretful candidate

The Detroit News obtained a full seven-minute video of the interview from a former reporter and editor involved in the production. The clip that Schuette suggested was "heavily edited" accurately depicts a brief exchange between Schuette and the camera woman before a male interviewer chimes in and begins asking questions.

The woman asked Schuette to move closer to a nearby lamp. “I’ll do anything you want,” he responded, adjusting his tie. “Some things I may not let you run the camera on.”

Schuette also has said he is embarrassed by and regrets his "poor attempt to be humorous" during the exchange. 

The interview, conducted in January 1989, took place in Washington, D.C., during the run-up to Bush’s inauguration. Schuette, a Midland Republican, worked on Bush’s first presidential campaign in 1979-80 “when we couldn’t fill up a room for him” on some days, he recalled in the interview.

“It’d be George Bush and me and my mom’s Jeep, and now he’s president of the United States. So I’m excited personally, and there’s a feeling of excitement in the air.”

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Twitter: @jonathanoosting