McCain campaigns for Fischer, Dems say Kerrey’s more bipartisan
November 2nd, 2012
Omaha, NE – Arizona Senator John McCain urged Nebraskans today to vote for Republican Senate candidate Deb Fischer to end Washington gridlock, while Democrats contend Bob Kerrey is better equipped to do the job.
McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential candidate, supported Fischer at a rally attended by about 150 people at an echoey airport hanger in Omaha.
The Arizona senator said Fischer could provide the vote Republicans need to replace Democrat Harry Reid as majority leader and pass a budget resolution, something McCain says Reid has refused to bring to the floor.And McCain said there was another reason to support Fischer as well. â€œA lot of people are going to be watching this race around the country my friends. Whether we have the 50th or 51st vote in the United States Senate will to a large degree depend on the state of Nebraska,â€ he said. â€œAnd Iâ€™ll tell you something else, and maybe a lot of people think that I shouldnâ€™t say this, but it is a reality because I need to give you straight talk. We need this kind of conservative woman senator in the United State Senate for the good of our Republican Party.â€
For her part, Fischer reflected on her chances after starting off as a little-known candidate. She defeated two better-known opponents, Attorney General Jon Bruning and State Treasurer Don Stenberg, in the Republican primary. â€œPeople didnâ€™t give us much of a chance but I knew that if you had great grassroots support and if you stayed on a positive message, youâ€™d win an election. And we will,â€ she declared.
Recent polls have been all over the map, with an Omaha World Herald survey last week showing Fischer ahead by 3 percent, while her campaign was maintaining she had a 16 point lead. McCain wasnâ€™t promoting overconfidence. â€œThis will be a close race. We accept that. But Iâ€™m confident of victory and Iâ€™m confident that we can change the United States Senate and change America with Deb Fischer,â€ he said.
In a later interview after an appearance in Lincoln, retiring Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson disputed McCainâ€™s criticism of Reid, saying the Republican minority had effectively obstructed the majorityâ€™s ability to pass legislation. Nelson specifically objected to McCainâ€™s characterization of the budget situation.
â€œThese are partisan talking points that confuse people because I now have to say, â€˜Well, we had a Budget Control Act vs. a budget resolution,â€ and most people are puzzled saying, â€˜I donâ€™t want to know all that stuff,â€™â€ Nelson said. â€œBut the truth of the matter is weâ€™ve had a budget, no matter what the other side says, for over a year â€“ it just hasnâ€™t been a budget resolution.â€
The Budget Control Act Nelson referred to set up the so-called Super Committee which failed to agree on a plan to cut the deficit, and will trigger automatic spending cuts unless Congress acts by the end of the year.
Nelson also downplayed the significance of McCainâ€™s appearance for Fischer, contrasting it with Kerreyâ€™s endorsement by Republicans. â€œIt isnâ€™t news that Sen. McCain comes to Nebraska to support a Republican. Thereâ€™s hardly any news associated with that, unlike in the case of Chuck Hagel coming to support Bob Kerrey or Alan Simpson supporting Bob Kerrey,â€ he said.
Kerrey, Hagel, and McCain are all Vietnam War veterans. McCain said that gives them a special relationship, but doesnâ€™t determine whom he supports.
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