In November, Idaho Reports producer Seth Ogilvie got the idea to do an extended interview with Gov. Otter. We wanted to focus less on the issues that dominated the election and recent news cycles (there will be plenty of time for hard-hitting questions as the session progresses), and talk more about his life, his political philosophies and how he makes his decisions.
We weren’t sure we’d get an interview at all, much less the amount of time we asked for, but we were thrilled in early December when the governor agreed to sit down with us for two hours, two days before Christmas.
Two hours might seem like a long interview, but when you’re discussing a life as eventful as Otter’s, it’s no time at all. (And regardless of how you feel about the governor, you can’t deny the man has had an interesting life.)
Seth and I spent hours combing through archived Otter interviews and footage and put together a list of questions. We wanted to make the most of our time, because we knew 120 minutes would fly by.
And it did. While we discussed Otter’s time at Simplot, his relationship with his father, his faith, growing up in poverty and his DUI conviction, we also weren’t able to spend much time discussing his time as lieutenant governor or even the last eight years he spent in the governor’s office, much less many of the controversies that the Otter administration has had to defend.
While editing, we also knew we had to walk a fine line between creating a thoughtful, documentary-style piece and creating an Otter campaign video. We didn’t set out to make Otter look like a hero or a villain. Rather, we wanted the governor to discuss his life in his own words.
Seth spent hours putting together the piece, and I’m proud of the work he and I did (though, like any journalist, I’ll always think of things I could have done better or questions I wish I’d had time to ask). In the process of getting a two-hour interview down to a 30-minute segment, a lot of interesting footage inevitably ended up on the cutting room floor.
So here’s the unedited, raw interview with Governor Otter.