THE question being asked rhetorically around Parliament House this morning was ''why?''.
As in, why did the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, agree to be interviewed for a show which, many in the ALP feared, was always going to be a puff piece on Kevin Rudd?
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The potential for damage caused by last night's Four Corners episode is not so much what Julia Gillard said but the fact she said it at all.
Footage of the Prime Minister avoiding questions repeatedly about whether she knew her office was drafting her acceptance speech two weeks before she ousted Rudd made her look shifty, even if she was telling the truth.
For a Prime Minister whose weakness is that people don't trust her, it was a no-win situation. Four Corners would have still aired the allegations about her victory speech being written two weeks in advance of the coup but she could have addressed them in a statement.
Had Gillard not agreed to the interview, the episode would have been largely unsensational, given the rest of it featured mainly bit-players, blowhards and hangers-on with nothing much new to say.
Gillard agreed to an interview thinking Rudd would do one.
Rudd declined in the end because he did not want to be accused of promoting himself. He outfoxed her.
Thus, the Prime Minister created the news and now she has her own side questioning her judgment again and that of her staff who advised her to do the interview. Especially coming so soon after the Australia Day debacle.
Gillard supporters are angry Rudd has made a virtue out of not doing an interview but still allowed the ABC crew to trail him around and grandstand by stealth.
The revelation about the pre-written speech undermines claims by coup plotters that the move on Rudd was a spontaneous act, driven by a story in the Herald about him having his staff to gauge numbers.
In her defence, Gillard has never claimed that to be the case. ''The decisions I have made this week have been decisions about profound matters of national interest,'' she said in her first full day in the job. ''I have taken them because I thought they were the right thing to do. I've not taken them because of any newspaper report.''
But it does contradict her very public denials at the time that she was up to something.
Those already feeling sympathy for Rudd will be emboldened by the raking over once more of the behind-the-scenes machinations that led to his ousting.
One Gillard supporter thundered last night that the show was every bit as bad as he suspected.
''As I feared, not a single mention of his various atrocities, nothing about leaking during the (election) campaign,'' he texted.
He was right. It was largely a puff-piece that portrayed Rudd as a victim of cruel factional bosses. There was no mention of the record slump in the polls that preceded his ousting, the widespread view that he was incapable of doing anything about it, nor the firm belief on both sides of politics at the time that Labor was going to lose the election. Liberals, like Nick Minchin, would have said it readily and openly.
Among the few who did agree to be interviewed, there appears to be an overall sense of regret about the leadership coup, especially among the perpetrators. Graham Richardson, who once boasted of his role in uniting factional bosses to oust Rudd, described his role as ''very small''.
That is a first.