The Tightrope for Lamberti

Jeff Lamberti, the GOP candidate in the third congressional district, just held a statehouse news conference to call for a series of federal spending reforms and to criticize both political parties in Washington (and his November opponent Leonard Boswell) for runaway federal spending.

But when asked if that criticism applied to Jim Nussle, the GOP candidate for governor who has been the US House Budget Committee chairman, this is Lamberti’s reply:  "You know, uh, as I said I don’t believe the budget mess in Washington is a partisan issue.  I think there’s plenty of blame to go around."

So that blame rests on Nussle’s shoulders, too? 

"I think I’ll leave it at that," Lamberti responded.  "Jim Nussle’s not running for the third congressional district.  This is a race between Jeff Lamberti and Leonard Boswell.  I think we’ll keep the thrid district comparison to where we are on the budget reform necessary.  (Boswell) has a clear record in terms of spending at the federal level, supporting this budget process where they support each other’s pet projects.  I’ve got a different record in the Iowa Legislature and I am going to talk about real spending reform. Again, this is a race about the third congressional district of Iowa.  I’ll let others talk about other races."

The next question had to do with Lamberti’s call for a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced federal budget. (Lamberti’s proposal calls for allowing deficit spending — by a two-thirds vote of congress — in times of war or national emergency.) 

"I think you do have to have an exception in the case of war or national emergency to exceed that.  That clearly is something that states do not face and you do have to make some exception, but you know we have a federal deficit problem not simply because of war and natrual disasters as Katrina.  We have a deficit because of runaway pork barrell spending."

But Budget Chairman Nussle often explains the federal budget deficit that was racked up under his watch as "necessary" because the country was attacked on 9/11 and is in the midst of a war.  So which is it, Republicans?  You aren’t singing from the same page of the hymn book here.

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.