Reporters give impressions after Kilpatrick interviewed at NABJ - FOX 35 News Orlando

Fox 2 reporters give impressions after Kilpatrick interviewed at NABJ

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  • Eyewitness to His-story

    Eyewitness to His-story

    Friday, August 17 2012 5:53 PM EDT2012-08-17 21:53:50 GMT
    M.L. Elrick: I've been covering Kwame Kilpatrick since before he was first elected mayor in 2001 and, a decade later, it's amazing how little he's changed.
    M.L. Elrick: I've been covering Kwame Kilpatrick since before he was first elected mayor in 2001 and, a decade later, it's amazing how little he's changed.
DETROIT (WJBK) -

In a no holds barred interview, Kwame Kilpatrick didn't pull any punches.  He agreed to take questions during a meeting of the National Association of Black Journalists.  Two Fox 2 reporters were there to ask him some pretty tough questions.

"We've just come from something that a lot of reporters in Detroit thought they would never live to see, Kwame Kilpatrick answering questions for an hour and 45 minutes no holds barred, and I think he kept his word.  He answered our questions," said M. L. Erick.

"He definitely did," Alexis Wiley said.  "It felt like a very open conversation in a lot of ways.  This was my first time actually ever meeting Mr. Kilpatrick or getting to hear him, and it was interesting to kind of get the sense that a lot of reporters have had for so long that he's a great speaker.  Very charismatic, very intelligent, and he spoke about a lot of different policies and such, and it was interesting to hear him talk because it felt like he was being really personal."

"I've covered him for ten years, seen him in all kinds of settings.  This was your first time exposed to the man himself.  What impression did you come away with?  Did you find him sympathetic?  Did you find him charismatic?  Or was he too slick?" Elrick asked Wiley.

"I didn't get slick.  I thought that I would walk in and get slick.  I did not get slick.  I got charismatic, and in some ways sympathetic in certain aspects when he discussed the soul searching he had to do while in prison."

"I didn't realize that I was sitting in a solitary confinement cell by myself alone for the first time I believe in my life, that I had to look myself in that horrible mirror in that concrete room and try to figure out who I was outside of all the roles that I was playing," Kilpatrick said at the event.

"I think when you hear anyone talk about soul searching and such, you kind of sympathize with them in a way, but at the same time knowing what I know, I think that I was still a little suspicious," said Wiley.  "At the same time, I can see why so many people in this community love him so much.  Why he walks down the street in Detroit and he's treated like a rock star."

"He still does have that charm, that charisma, that Kilpatrick magic," Elrick remarked.

"I am hopeful and actually excited about presenting an opportunity.  I have an opportunity to present the facts in this case.  So many people in Detroit say Kwame stole money.  I have never stole a damn dime in my life from anybody," Kilpatrick said.

It's something where coming into this session tonight I was wondering what's his agenda.  Is he there to dazzle us?  A lot of us have known him for years.  What do you think was his objective coming in tonight?" Elrick asked Wiley.

"I don't really know, but one thing, it felt like he wanted to make himself seem more human.  He wanted to give people something other than just that image of him walking to and from a courtroom.  He wanted to convey the person that he is now.  That's what I took from it."

"We had a sleep over in my bedroom, my wife, my sons, and we watched a movie, and I sat up and looked and it was the happiest I'd ever been in my whole life at that moment.  And that's when I knew.  I said it had to happen because that would've been something five years ago that I would've been looking for the knife to saw my right arm off," said Kilpatrick.

"You've covered him for a long time.  You saw the rise and the fall.  What did you take from the conversation?" Wiley asked Elrick.

"It was classic Kilpatrick in that we saw him trying to put his story out there.  He took some responsibility, but he had a lot of excuses."

"[There are] a lot of people mad at me that don't know why.  You know for all the stuff he did.  What stuff, you know?  We could talk about it, all the stuff.  Well, what stuff?" Kilpatrick said.

"It was an opportunity for him to sort of humble himself, but also to explain that I don't really think it's my fault and Detroit needs to move past me, even though I keep coming back," said Elrick.

"It was definitely interesting and I got a lot from it, and it's interesting to see that you did, as well, in some ways because it kind of gave you another side to the picture of the person that you've covered for so long," Wiley said.

"I don't even watch politics.  I can't even stand talking about it.  It's like a real interesting thing.  I don't want to talk about the presidential race.  I don't even want to have a ... I mean I'm not interested," said Kilpatrick.

"It was a fascinating evening, reporters talking to Mr. Kilpatrick.  I think the next time he's going to speak this much it will probably be from the witness stand," Elrick remarked.

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