Dan Caplis Show, Robert Blaha, May 20, 2016

Station: KNUS, 710 AM

Show:     Dan Caplis Show

Guests:  Blaha

Link:      http://dancaplis.podbean.com/

Date:      May 20, 2016


Click Here for Audio


HOST DAN CAPLIS:  Robert Blaha, kind enough to be with us. Robert [is] a candidate for U.S. Senator in Colorado.  Robert, how’re you doing?

GOP CANDIDATE FOR U.S. SENATE:  Doing great!  How are you guys doing?

CAPLIS:  Living the dream, my friend.

BLAHA:  Everyday.  We finally got the weather back in Colorado we love!

CAPLIS:  Geez, I’ll tell you. Yeah.  I wonder if anybody will be back aat the office when I get there.

CO-HOST CRAIG SILVERMAN:  So, Robert, is it okay if somebody comes to your door and rings the bell and wants to ask you a few questions?

CAPLIS:  Oh, and hey, Marshall Zelinger is on the line, so [speaking to producer] let Marshall know we’re talking to Robert Blaha and see if Marshall can talk to us at, maybe, 1o:03 – not 10:02 or 10:04, 10:03.  So we’ll look forward to that conversation. Robert, what’s happening out there?

BLAHA:  Well, what’s happening?  I was just in the office, getting ready to go to an event, and one of my friends called and said, “Hey, these guys are calling up.  They’re not giving you any love on KNUS. You need to call in.”   And I [inaudible]–.

CAPLIS:  If we gave you any more love we’d have to get married.

BLAHA:  Well there you go.  That might make sense.  You know?  You can go to Blahaforcolorado.com and write a check, if you want to.

CAPLIS:  Mm-hmm.

SILVERMAN:  Only headline I saw this week, Robert, was your campaign manager quit.  What’s going on there?

BLAHA:  Actually, I didn’t call to call to call and talk about anything about the campaign manager. And by the way, it—it– nobody quit. But that’s not why I called.  What I called to talk about was specifically kind of what’s going on in this race.

CAPLIS:  Yeah.

BLAHA:  And what’s going on in this race is pretty exciting.  You know, we’re on the front of National Review today, guys.  I don’t know if you saw that or not.  But you know, the outside candidates are getting attention.

CAPLIS:  Mm-hmm.  Mm-hmm.

BLAHA:  Our internal polling numbers are awesome.  We’re moving ahead at flank speed, doing great in debates.  I’m sure you guys watched all of the debates and followed all the analysis on that.  So we’re just doing fantastic and I’m really excited about where we are!

CAPLIS:  Yeah!  Yeah, I wouldn’t –.

BLAHA:  So, I just thought I’d call in and see if you guys had a chance to catch the debate and read the reviews, and what you thought about some of the things that were brought up about the specifics about some of the other candidates.

CAPLIS:  Yeah, I can tell you, I have not seen a minute of the debate – I was at a kid thing that night.  But, no!  Tell us about it from your perspective.  I saw The [Denver] Post article.  Apparently you were critical of Jack Graham for his tenure at CSU and The [Denver] Post thinks this opens a new front in the campaign.  So, tell us about that.

BLAHA:  Actually, it wasn’t me.  It was The [Denver] Post raised the issue about Jack Graham’s performance and the fact that he was fired from CSU.  And I just gave a follow up question to that question.

CAPLIS:  Mm-hmm

BLAHA:  And his answer was that – in fact, the quote is, “it was fabricated and illegally released.”  And then I think upon some additional follow up by The [Denver] Post, [we] found out that was in fact not the case. He actually did have this review.  It actually was part of the public domain.  He actually was terminated for cause.  And so, that raised some hackles. And so, you know, hey! this is not for the faint of heart.  If you’re going to get on the stage, you’ve got to be able to take the tough question and you’ve got to be able to ask the tough questions.

CAPLIS:  Well, sure.  But at the same time, then, wouldn’t you agree that you have to be willing to break some eggs to make an omelet.  And Jack Graham was shaking things up there, you know, and that stadium they’re going to have on campus, now, is a pretty attractive omelet.  And it wouldn’t be there without Jack Graham.

BLAHA:  Well I think there’s two ways to look at everything.  And you know, the way I was trained as a leader and the way I train leaders for the last 35 years, is that there’s a lot of ways to move forward. And normally, normally your peer group and the people you’re depending on have a pretty good perspective about style and about how you get things done. And that’s why we do 360  degree feedbacks in industry. That’s why we give thorough analysis of people.  That’s why we look at them as leaders, and from a variety of different viewpoints.  And that’s why people are asked to evaluate them.

CAPLIS:  Well–.

BLAHA:  Because, hey, I’ve broken a lot of eggs in my life.  I’ve also found a way to do it and get a lot of people on the team and get a lot of people moving in the right direction.  And, you know, I think if you’re going to do that, then you’ve got to be held accountable for your style and for what people say.  So, have you guys seen that performance review?

CAPLIS:  No.  But I want to talk about the general principle a little bit.  Listen, one of the reasons – and I’ve said it on air – one of the reasons I think you’re a strong candidate is your business success.  And the same goes for Jack.  And I’m just a little concerned that maybe the premise here is that in order to be a successful leader, in order to be a good leader, everybody who works for you has to like you.  And, you know, particularly in a bureaucracy, when you step into, say a university like CSU – unlike a law firm, where you get to hire people and this and that, when you step into an existing bureaucracy, I’d be a little worried about any leader whom everybody liked.

BLAHA:  Right, right!  Well, and I don’t think that’s the question – that wasn’t the question they were moving towards.  I think what they were moving towards is some of the evaluations about, “do you trust this individual?” And I think that’s fair, because I think one of the things that you want in US Senator, is you want somebody that executes and operates with a very high level of trust.  So, if those around you don’t see you as trustworthy, I think that’s a fair question.  I think the point you raised is spot on.  And that is, if you’re going to stand up and ask the tough questions, you’re going to get pushback.  You’re going to get blowback, and you have to expect that.  But I think that that is a different issue, gentlemen, – and should be – than, “Do you trust me, and can I count on you?”  And so, you know, I think that’s where The [Denver] Post was going with the question.  That’s why the issue was raised, and that’s what was actually highlighted in the performance review. So, if you haven’t read the performance review– which was sent to me—if you haven’t read the performance review, it might be worth your time, you know, and ask Jack about it.  Don’t ask me about it.  Ask Jack about it. It’s not my performance review.

CAPLIS:  Listen, I think it’s a fair question to have in the campaign, but I’ve got to tell you, I don’t get alarmed when I hear that somebody up there said they didn’t trust Jack when he came in as AD, because I’ve seen – particularly in these bureaucracies – you know, I’ve seen lots of situations where all of a sudden, you know, somebody comes in – you know, they’re energetic, they’re out of the business world, they have a bold vision, they’re not going to take slothfulness.  And then all of a sudden people start saying, “Oh, I can’t trust that guy.”  So, at face value, I tend to look more at, “Hey, listen, has anybody claimed he did anything illegal?  Has anybody pointed to anything specifically dishonest he did? You know, what have his positive results been?  And when it comes to that, that seems to be a ‘plus’ in Jack’s column, as it appears to be a plus in yours, Robert.  And my goodness, you know –.

BLAHA:  Well, I think it is. And I could take you to the, you know, six to twelve jobs that I had where I had people that were doing evaluations on me, and show you where I had to break eggs, where I had to change cultures, where I had to lead in a different way, and in some cases, bring in a brand new team.  But I can show you how I did it in a way which was consistent with my values and what I wanted people to believe in in our future. So, you know, I’m not here to take shots at Jack. You asked a question about what the review said. And I’m just telling you about what the review said. And it might be worth your time to actually review what was written and is out there in public domain.  And that’s what they were raising the issue about.  That’s why–.

[weird pause in the audio]

SILVERMAN:  You mentioned your website, right now.  Do you have a link to that [performance review] on your website?


SILVERMAN:  And do you have a link to the debate?

BLAHA:  There wouldn’t be any reason to.  It’s a –You know, it’s The Denver Post — Craig, the Denver Post brought it up.  I think tthe original article – as I remember, I think the original article was in the Coloradoan, sometime in 2014.  They wrote the original article, did the due diligence, and talked to the people, etc.  It’s not something I’m spending a lot of time on. It was something that came up in the debate. I looked eyeball to eyeball, asked a tough question and –and got, frankly guys, an answer that the next day got spun out of.  You know, the answer was –.  The answer was – and let me be clear.  The answer was that it was a fabricated and illegally released review.  And the next day, according to what I read in The Denver Post, it was responded, “Well, the review was really real, but the process that was put into place was a fabricated process. [inaudible]

SILVERMAN:  Well, I agree with you that it’s interesting to find out what people who work closely with a candidate think of that candidate. So, I’d be curious to see what people up at CSU [that] worked with Jack Graham think of him.  And you say that it is fair game.  But when I ask you about your campaign manager, who you work closely with, you say I’m not going to answer the question. Isn’t that kind of hypocritical?  You think Jack Graham should answer, but you don’t have to?

BLAHA:  No, I don’t — Well, Craig, one is a public domain evaluation that you were given by your peers. And we’ve made some changes in the campaign looking toward the general.  And the normal campaign, if you talk to people that are experienced in campaigns, they will tell you the normal ebb and flow in campaigns is you have people come and people go.  We probably have — I’m guessing – between 15 and 20 different vendors that we’re working with right now. Some of them come. Some of them go.  Some of them were up [inaudible].

SILVERMAN:  But this isn’t a vendor.  This is your campaign manager.

BLAHA:  I was working on upgrading one of our media folks today.  So, you know, it’s–.  If you’re going to be excellent, you have to be excellent at everything you do.  You have to constantly be moving ahead and constantly looking at what it takes to, you know, keep your eye on the mark.  And so, you know, that’s what we’re doing.

CAPLIS:  Yeah. And I think that’s true.  And I think you could point to lots of successful campaigns that have done that, but–.

BLAHA:  Yeah, that’s a totally different thing, Craig, and I don’t know how you got on that hunt.

CAPLIS:  Well, but I think that was a fair question.

SILVERMAN:   HOW I GOT ON THAT HUNT?!?!  IT’S IN THE NEWSPAPER!! My GOD!!  You look up “Blaha” and that’s going to be the top thing that comes up right now.

BLAHA:  Craig!  Craig!  Craig!!  You’re okay, Craig…

SILVERMAN:  So what do you mean?!?!  I didn’t just pull it out of thin air.  You know that people are talking about it, so don’t make me the bad guy for asking you a question about it.  And then you want talk about Jack Graham failing in working with people at CSU, but you don’t want to talk about your apparent falling out with your campaign manager.  And right during the month the ballots are about to go out.  It’s like the Broncos changing head coaches right before the season starts.  It’s unusual!

BLAHA:  Craig, that’s just not –that’s not the case!

SILVERMAN:  What’s not the case?

BLAHA:  What we did is we made a smart decision that was best for everybody and we’ve moved down the situation.  And we just don’t talk about confidential issues that shouldn’t be in the public domain.  And as I said, if you talk to anybody who has been in any campaigns, it’s very common to move –. You know, I guess somebody here is trying to look for a story, here.  There is no story.

CAPLIS:  [placating]  Oh, no, no, no, no!  I think Craig–

BLAHA:  And we’ll be making an announcement, Craig.  We’ll make an announcement about some campaign changes when it’s appropriate.  And I, you know, I don’t know even why people are so interested in this. I would think people would be much more interested in the candidate, what the candidate stands for, what the background is.  But I guess if it’s a slow news day, it’s a slow news day.  So, there’s no news there. [inaudible]

SILVERMAN:  It’s not a slow news day!! You called in.  We had plenty to talk about.  I mean, I’m not just going to pat you on the back, if you’re calling me.  I’m going to ask, “What’s in the news about Robert Blaha?”  And that’s in the news about you, sir!

CAPLIS:  [peacemaking] Well, and I think Robert –

BLAHA:  I’ll tell you what’s in the news today on the front of a couple of news mags which is interesting about Robert Blaha today.  If you want to go out and look at it, we’re on the front of National Review today. That’s a pretty big thing, Craig.  So we’re on the front of National Review.  We”re talking about outside business people and how well they’ve been received.  It’s a very well-written article.  It talks about a lot of people around the country that are out, that are running, that have similarities to, but aren’t, Donald Trump, but come out of the business world and aren’t afraid to stand on their feet and take on the tough issues.  And we’re featured.

CAPLIS:  Yeah!

BLAHA:  So, it was a great honor to be featured in that article.  And we can talk about THAT if you’d want – if you’d like to.  I’d love to talk about that article.  It was a great article and we’re thrilled it’s out there.  So, go to National Review and you can see it.

CAPLIS:  Well, yeah! And you should be!  Listen!  And you running –.  You know, Robert, we’ve — because it’s you, we’ve run over a break by nine minutes, here.  But listen.  It IS a great time for you to be running.  The wind IS at your back.  There IS a craving for successful people from the business world such as you.  It’s a great time for you to be running.  And [I] appreciate the time today, and look forward to the next conversation.

BLAHA:  Well, thanks.  And Craig, if you want call offline, I’d be glad to get into more detail with you. But you guys are doing a great job.  I appreciate the tough issues you raise Keep pushing, and thanks, and hopefully you’ll get outside and enjoy some of this great weather this weekend.