After nearly two weeks of silence, his first words were surprising.
"It's over. They won," House Speaker (for now) John Perzel said Friday night, hunted down at Pennsylvania Society in New York City at a reception sponsored by the law firm of Blank Rome.
He made the statement with a straight face. And walked away.
But that is so not the case, right? Not when the rumor mill is churning with names of potential Democratic defectors who might support him or stay home on the day of the speaker vote. Not with Republican legal team expanding like the Yankees payroll.
So the questions were posed again: What are you doing to hold onto your majority?
"You know I can't tell you that."
Will you stay in the House even if you lose the majority?
"I can't answer your questions."
Are you talking to Democrats?
He said that with a straight face, too.
"I promise it will be entertaining," Perzel added later.
This time, he smiled.