Three days before the Nov. 2 election, U.S. Rep. David Wu’s most loyal and senior staffers were so alarmed by his erratic behavior that they demanded he enter a hospital for psychiatric treatment.A Democrat saying kooky things? This is news?
Their concern had been spiking for weeks in tandem with the Oregon Democrat's increasingly unpredictable performance on the campaign trail and in private. He was loud and sometimes angry, some of them told The Oregonian. He said kooky things to staff and -- more worrisome with a tough election fast approaching -- around potential voters and donors.
Several staff members confronted Wu for the final time on Oct. 30. Wu’s psychiatrist was brought into that meeting as well, joining the group at the Portland campaign headquarters by speaker phone. The meeting was held after four consecutive days of troubling behavior that led the staff to agree that Wu needed a higher level of medical care, according to people intimately familiar with the events of that period.A sad commentary on Oregon voters. Electing a mental patient seven times now.
"This is way beyond acceptable levels and the charade needs to end NOW," wrote Lisa Grove, a senior and long-serving campaign pollster, in an e-mail to colleagues that day. "No enabling by any potential enablers, he needs help and you need to be protected. Nothing else matters right now. Nothing else."
Wu, however, remained defiant, sources said. He left the meeting and said he was going to a movie.
Faced with a stalemate, the campaign essentially shut down at the very time when most other candidates were at their most frenzied. No public announcement was made, but campaign staff withdrew and Wu did not hold another formal campaign event until he emerged on Tuesday night after winning a seventh term.