After Refusing Questions From Media, Joe Miller Isn't Hiding From Debates

Joe Miller's Alaska Senate campaign has been marked, at times, by hostility with the media and an unwillingness to field tough questions about the candidate's past, but Miller figures to face those questions at two public debates today and tomorrow in Alaska.

This afternoon, Miller will appear with rivals Scott McAdams and Sen. Lisa Murkowski at a Rotary Club of Anchorage forum. That event will be televised by MSNBC and covered by local press, Miller's campaign said.

Tomorrow night, he'll appear at a debate hosted by public television station KAKM, moderated by Libby Casey of the Alaska Public Radio Network.

Miller will also make appearances on TV shows between now and Election Day, with the possibility of a public rally later this week, his campaign said.

Over the course of these events, Miller is almost sure to face questions over being docked three days' pay for conducting political activity on government computers while he was employed by the Fairbanks North Star Borough--a matter he refused to talk about for weeks during the campaign.

They'll follow a debate on Sunday night during which Miller fielded such questions, saying the revelation of his North Star Borough discipline has given voters a chance to know him better.

"I've had challenges in life and that gives them an empathy for where I'm at, and I think that's a value that I bring to the table," Miller said.

Last week, Miller's private security guards handcuffed an editor with political news site Alaska Dispatch and told him he was under "arrest"; the editor was freed when police got there.

Miller has accrued an image of being unfriendly to media, but, while some other candidates have eschewed debates in the closing weeks leading up to Election Day, Miller has chosen to make himself available. Of the controversy over his North Star Borough employment and his refusal to discuss it, Miller now says he was naive to expect privacy during the heat of a campaign for U.S. Senate.