NRSC gets involved in US Senate race

There’s been a bit of tit for tat, via email, between the National Republican Senatorial Committee (on behalf of Republican Senator Chuck Grassley) and Democrat Roxanne Conlin, a Des Moines attorney who is running for the U.S. Senate.  Meanwhile, the other two Democrats who’re running for the U.S. Senate stressed policies about Afghanistan and health care reform in news releases issued over the weekend. Read it all after the jump.

11/23/09: National Republican Senatorial Committee: Conlin flip-flops on campaign pledge, makes exception for taking lobbyist cash

ASHINGTON – Less than two weeks after kicking off her Senate bid amidst promises to take on the special interests, trial lawyer and Democrat hopeful Roxanne Conlin (D-IA) has already flip-flopped on a key campaign promise regarding campaign donations from lobbyists.

On the day she formally entered the race, Conlin told the Des Moines Register “she will not accept financial contributions from political action committees or lobbyists.”

Now, however, Conlin has changed her tune, saying at a recent campaign stop “‘I make an exception for state lobbyists.’”

Ironically, during her campaign kick-off, Conlin claimed “taking on special interests has been the cause of my life,” seemingly ignoring her past role as the president of the American Trial Lawyers Association, where she led the fight against the first President Bush’s tort reform efforts.

“From the beginning, it was laughable that the former president of the American Trial Lawyers Association would make taking on the ‘special interests’ a central theme of her campaign,” National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) spokesman Colin Reed said today. “But Roxanne Conlin’s complete flip-flop on taking campaign donations from lobbyists seriously calls her credibility and trustworthiness into question. Having broken a key campaign promise less than two weeks into her Senate bid, it’s clear Iowa voters are going to have a hard time taking anything Conlin says seriously.”

Notably, Conlin’s flip-flop came on the same weekend that new polling data from the Des Moines Register indicated President Obama’s approval rating in the Hawkeye State has fallen a whopping 19 points since January, and is now below the all-important 50 percent marker, which is an ominous harbinger for any Democrat candidate heading into next year’s midterms.

11/24/09: Conlin Challenges Grassley to Decline PAC and Federal Lobbyist Money

Des Moines – In an email sent today, Democratic US Senate candidate Roxanne Conlin issued a challenge to Republican Senator Chuck Grassley to decline all contributions from federal lobbyists and Political Action Committees (PACs) in this election.

The letter follows:

Senator Charles Grassley
P.O. Box 1000
Des Moines, IA 50304

Dear Senator Grassley,

Given the Republican party’s recent interest in my campaign fundraising practices, I challenge you to join me in refusing to accept contributions from political action committees (PACs) and federal lobbyists.  At the close of the last filing quarter, you had raised nearly $2 million from PACs alone, not to mention the hundreds of thousands of dollars you have collected from the very people who lobby you and your staff every day.  These eye-popping figures apply to just this election cycle and do not include funds raised from any other election during your half century in elected office.

Certainly, the millions you have amassed from the pharmaceutical, insurance, oil and other industries could better serve Iowa if you donated them to charities helping the thousands of workers who have lost their jobs.  I would be glad to assist you and your staff in establishing the appropriate infrastructure to distribute those funds to Iowans who have fallen into poverty, whose homes are being foreclosed, and who have lost their health insurance.

I sincerely ask you to join me in pledging to forgo PAC and federal lobbyist money.

Roxanne Conlin

11/22/09:U. S. Senate Candidate Bob Krause Calls for Drawdown of Troops in Afghanistan

Speaking to an audience of Democrats at the Iowa Democratic Party’s annual Jefferson Jackson Day dinner on Saturday night, Bob Krause of Fairfield became the first candidate in the Iowa U.S. Senate race to call for a drawdown of troops in Afghanistan.

“It is my view as a retired military officer and a student of military strategy that we need to disengage from Afghanistan because what we are doing is not strategically sustainable,” Krause told the crowd at a rally following the keynote speech by Vice President Joe Biden.

“We are in direct danger of committing our remaining uncommitted national reserve of troops so that we have nothing left for emergencies,” Krause explained. “Further, I seriously doubt that we need to keep the Taliban at bay in Afghanistan to secure our national security. We are putting large numbers of U. S. and foreign troops in the land that invented xenophobia. Unfortunately this troop insertion stirs the pot and makes the situation much worse than it needs to be.”

“I hope that, when President Obama makes his troop strength decision after Thanksgiving, he does not accept the advice of the neoconservatives, and instead does the prudent thing and closes out this war that former President Bush lost through inaction several years ago,” said Krause.

In extended remarks after the speech, Krause added, “Joe Biden in right on this one. We are spending $60 billion per year in the war in Afghanistan and 2 billion on Pakistan, even though Pakistan is strategically more important to us.”

“If the Pakistanis can control the Pashtuns within their own borders, it will have a very positive spin-off effect on the Pashtun nation in Afghanistan,” said Krause. “Insuring that Pakistan can continue as a cohesive nation is where our strategic emphasis needs to be. Having our forces in Afghanistan drives Taliban into Pakistan and actually helps to destabilize Pakistan.”

Krause warned that our trying to control Afghanistan directly with U. S. troops not only causes backfires, but it is incredibly costly. “If we put in an additional 40,000 new troops — at a cost of about 1 million dollars per soldier in the field — this will put the new war budget for Afghanistan at $100 billion,” said Krause. “This for a war that, even by known guerilla warfare statistical planning factors, we would be unlikely to win because it just is not enough troops.”

Krause also pointed out that this figure does not include the “80 year tail on government costs for treating the additional 10,000 per year Post Traumatic Stress Disorder cases that would likely come from the insertion of the additional soldiers.”

“Iowans need to call President Obama and ask him to listen to those who are urging caution, and not to those who want to continue and to escalate this strategically untenable battle,” concluded Krause.

A former state legislator, school board member and transportation official, Krause has served as the president of the Iowa Department of the Reserve Officers Association and is currently chair of the Iowa Democratic Veterans Caucus.

11/20/09: Fiegen response to  U.S. Sen. Grassley: Statement on Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

CLARENCE, Iowa — Democratic  candidate for the U.S. Senate Tom Fiegen, today responded to Senator Chuck Grassley’s prepared statement on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.  “When we are faced with a problem, like 47 million Americans without any insurance coverage, and the rest of us one pink slip away from losing our health insurance, we have the choice of doing something or doing nothing,” said Fiegen.  “Senator Grassley’s statement clearly shows that he is favor of doing nothing.”

“We all know in Iowa that Chuck Grassley was told by the Senate Republican leadership to walk away from the health care negotiations or lose his committee assignments,” Fiegen said.  “So Chuck Grassley has put party and his personal ambitions in the Senate ahead of uninsured and underinsured Iowans. This is exactly the problem, we have an elected Senator who puts politics above the needs of the people.”

“Now, in this prepared statement, Chuck Grassley is blowing smoke about health care reform and his lack of courage in standing up to the “Do Nothing” heads of his party,” said Fiegen.  “Iowans deserve a U.S. Senator who will work to solve the problems facing Iowa and the country, not someone who makes excuses for his lack of courage and leadership.”

Fiegen is a former state senator from Cedar County and a bankruptcy attorney in Cedar Rapids. He is seeking the Democratic nomination for the 2010 election.

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About O.Kay Henderson

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


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