On Thursday, House Speaker Kurt Zellers went on KFAN sports radio and said that although he would be voting against the Minnesota Vikings stadium bill on the floor on Monday, “I want to see the bill pass.”
He explained his no vote but also repeated, “Hopefully it will pass and hopefully the governor will have a chance to sign the bill."
“If the governor is the guy at the 50-yard line when the new stadium opens, flipping the coin, I’ll be right there cheering for him the whole way,” he said under fierce questioning from host Dan Barreiro.
On Friday, he tried to fix what seemed to many like a confusion of answers and double-speak.
"I was on an interview that was a little hot and contested. Maybe my mouth got ahead of, my head got ahead of my mouth," he told reporters in a press conference. "I misspoke. I’ve always said that I want, I think the Vikings are an asset, I want them to stay but the bill in the current form is what I was talking about and again, I’ve said very clearly the other day that I can’t support it in the form that it’s in so I misspoke. I was in an interview, we were going fast and furious. I made a mistake. Lately , I’ve been kind of off on my game. My crystal ball is off. I got a little ahead of myself. So, no, just a misstatement."
A reporter also asked: "Mr. Speaker you also said that you wanted to be on the 50-yard line to celebrate with the governor, so why not vote for the bill?"
Zellers in response: "No. I said, when asked do you want to deny him his win, and I said no, I think he should be there on the 50-yard line, flipping the coin if the stadium passes, if it’s signed into law. I didn’t say I wanted to be there with him. "
After he left the formal press conference, reporters sought to clarify what he thought was a mistake.
Reporter 1: "Can you explain what you 'misspoke' on? Do you not hope the bill will pass? Or do you hope the bill will pass?
Zellers: "I said what I said. I made a mistake. I can admit it."
Reporter 1: "Right but what was the mistake?"
Reporter 2: "You actually don't want it to pass, is that what you're saying?"
Reporter 1: "You want it to pass?"
Zellers: "I’m not going to make any more mistakes."
Reporter 1: "Right. But you said you misspoke and you made a mistake. I’m trying to figure out what you think was the mistake. That’s an honest question."
Zellers: "I corrected it."
Reporter 1: "So what's the correction?...Can you explain?"
Zellers: "I said that the Vikings are an asset I want to see them stay. And what was misinterpreted was that I wanted the bill (to) pass but I wasn’t going to vote for it. I said I can't vote for the bill. I want to see the Vikings stay I think they’re an asset, I’ve said that many times."