February 7, 2008 | 11:52 AM
There are some unwritten rules in politics, especially during campaigns. One is that you never say too many nice things about your competition. (Ask Rod Love what happens!) Heck, it's actually best to avoid referring to another candidate by name. Your opponents can sell themselves.
It's not your job. Stick to their party's name or "my honourable friend" or "the member from..." Using a name can result in one of those overdone media "gotcha" moments.
Exhibit A: On Tuesday at his news conference at Calgary's Foothills Hospital, Ed Stelmach stayed on message, even if he went to the other extreme and seemed to have forgotten the name of one of his opponents.
A reporter asked Stelmach to react to NDP Leader Brian Mason's earlier release of an email his party received from the chair of the province's royalty review panel, Bill Hunter.
Here's what Stelmach said: "I'm not aware of Bill's comments uh and uh... and and even if he did talk to or if he did or didn't talk to Bill Mason... uh, or ... whatever his name is."
Off microphone, a Calgary PC candidate volunteered to the leader: "Brian."
So Stelmach continued: "Brian. Yes." That then drew laughter from the Calgary candidates.
"Whatever his name is?" I thought Mason had the undying respect of Mr. Stelmach, particularly for ensuring there aren't too many Liberals elected in Edmonton. With friends like this.… well, you get the idea.