Gibbons’ fingers must be nimble, but his brain is another matter | NevadaAppeal.com
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Gibbons’ fingers must be nimble, but his brain is another matter

JOHN L. SMITH

OMG! Talk about BFF!

From March to April 2007, Gov. Jim Gibbons used his government cell phone to send more than 850 text messages to the woman he’s accused of having an affair with. Gibbons has denied anything more than a 15-year friendship with her.

But, come on, 850 text messages in one month?

Imagine how many messages they would have passed if they were having an affair.

That must be a helluva friendship. With the possible exception of Warren Jeffs, I don’t know a married man who talks to his wife 850 times a month.

The existence of hundreds of text messages between the state’s top elected official and the estranged wife of a Reno podiatrist makes Gibbons’ recent denials seem laughable. As first reported by the Reno Gazette-Journal, the relationship takes on the rosy hue of a high school crush carried on by a 63-year-old man with a wicked case of BlackBerry thumb.

Also, the existence of the messages would appear to lend credence to accusations leveled by first lady Dawn Gibbons in divorce papers filed by her attorney, Cal Dunlap, that the governor’s “infatuation and involvement with the other woman is the real, concealed and undisclosed reason for his voluntary departure from the marriage and from the Mansion where he occasionally resided.”

Since filing for divorce on May 2, the governor has lived at the family’s Reno home. Who knows, maybe the cell reception is better there.

The first lady, meanwhile, has been rattling around the mansion even as the governor tried to compel her to leave. She recently made a request to move into the guesthouse. Perhaps it was to get away from the sound of the click-click-clicking of little fingers texting in the middle of the night.

On Monday, it appeared the first couple had decided against a course of mutual destruction when their attorneys announced an agreement to suspend the bruising litigation “in an attempt to resolve issues regarding the divorce action filed by the Governor.”

In a move that was the legal equivalent of two fighters returning to neutral corners, the governor agreed to move back into the mansion with the first lady bunking in the guesthouse.

The daffiest part of the joint statement was the agreement to make no further public comment. It was like two arsonists swearing to stop using matches now that the house is on fire.

Text to the Love Gov.: When People magazine carves out space on your divorce under the title “She Won’t Move Out!” the odds of keeping things hush-hush have grown very, very slim.

To remind Gibbons that the decision to divorce while in office was painfully moronic only restates the obvious, and his decision not to publicly return fire at the first lady was another lame move. Perhaps now we know why he decided to remain silent: Those 850-plus text messages to his “friend” make him look, shall we say, preoccupied.

I’m guessing the average Nevadan believes Gibbons has way too much time on his fingers.

Apparently, the job of running a state mired in an unprecedented budget deficit and stung by a subprime mortgage crisis is easier than it looks. Our public education system is cracking. Our social service system is a national laughingstock.

But, hey, at least the Love Gov. has time to hook up.

Constituent response is part of every politician’s job. Just for the sake of conversation, I wonder how many Nevadans have written the governor or called his office in the past year and failed to receive an official response.

If they only had his cell number, they could text him.

Speaking of the text tabulation, the Gazette-Journal reports the messages cost taxpayers $130, which was reimbursed by Gibbons from the “Just Friends” fund.

Further complicating his denials is the fact Gibbons and the woman once exchanged 91 messages between midnight and 2 a.m. Records also showed 42 calls between the governor’s cell phone and a cell she owned, the newspaper reported.

In mid-April 2007, the private contacts on the state-owned cell phone ceased. It’s possible Gibbons will argue this only proves he’s sincere when he’s promised Nevadans “no new texts.”

I’m nobody’s political maven, but I’m guessing Monday’s agreement to have “no further public comment from either side” isn’t working as smoothly as planned.

OMG. The Love Gov.’s political career is DOA.

– John L. Smith’s column, reprinted from the Las Vegas Review-Journal, appears on Gibbons’ fingers must be nimble, but his brain is another matterThursdays on the Appeal’s Opinion page. E-mail him at smith@reviewjournal.com or call (702) 383-0295.