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Joe Miller's Avoidance Strategy

Joe Miller
Joe Miller and his wife Kathleen hold a news press conference following a candidate forum at the Dena'ina Center in Anchorage, Alaska on Monday, Oct. 11, 2010. AP

Republican Senate candidate Joe Miller has been playing the avoidance game for a while. Save for a few appearances on Fox News (in which he avoided weighing in on Sarah Palin's preparedness for the presidency) and an appearance on CNN, getting close to the Tea Party darling has been tough.

When CBS News went to Alaska in early October, Miller's spokesman first assured us they'd make him available during our visit... then dodged us for the 3 days we were in Anchorage.

On October 11, Miller announced he would hold a press conference following a debate - and instead proceeded to give a short speech and decline questions about his background. "We've drawn a line in the sand. You can ask me about background, you can ask me about personal issues -- I'm not going to answer," Miller said.

This past weekend Miller's private security guards handcuffed a journalist who tried to get answers to questions about Miller's past employment.

Now a group of forty Alaska Republicans have signed an open letter to Miller, urging him to start answering questions:

"It is unacceptable - and certainly not a winning stragegy -- to explicitly refuse to answer reasonable questions about oneself, and to disrespect the Alaska public and the press' right to do so before the questions have even been asked," they write. (Click here for the full letter.)

Miller's spokesman, Randy DeSoto, gave a statement to the Anchorage Daily News attacking the letter writers as supporters of Lisa Murkowski (running as a write-in candidate). When we contacted him for a direct response to the allegations in the letter... we didn't get a reply.



Erin George is a CBS News producer based in Los Angeles.