U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., said he will not actively campaign in Arkansas for President Barack Obama during the 2012 general election cycle.
Pryor noted his unwillingness to support the Obama, the titular head of the Democratic Party, during the second edition of the The City Wire show, presented by 5News.
“Not very active,” Pryor said when asked about his level of support for Obama. “As much as I may love all of our presidents, … I just don’t really get involved in those races. My view is, Democrat, Republican, it doesn’t matter, my view is I’m in Washington to try to work with people."
Continuing, Pryor said it is “totally secondary to me,” if Romney wins the White House or if the Republicans gain control of the Senate. He said his job is to seek solutions to the nation’s problems no matter the source — Democrat or Republican — of the solution.
Later in the interview, Pryor explained: “I’m not there to represent a President. I think that is one thing that I think people in Arkansas understand, but nationally people have forgotten this.” (See below the video of the complete interview with Pryor.)
Pryor also reiterated his objection to Obama’s decision in mid-January to refuse construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.
The Keystone pipeline is a 1,661 mile, 36-inch crude oil pipeline beginning at Hardisty, Alberta (Canada), and extend southeast through Saskatchewan, Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska, according to TransCanada, the company pushing the project. The pipeline would use portions of the Keystone Pipeline now in Nebraska and Kansas, and eventually connect at the key terminal of Cushing, Okla., and then extend to the refinery operations in Texas along the Gulf of Mexico.
Citing environmental concerns, Obama rejected the pipeline plan.
Pryor said during The City Wire show that Keystone is more environmentally friendly than shipping the oil to China.
“With all due respect to the environmentalists, I think they are wrong on this,” Pryor said.
Pryor also said he believes the U.S. Department of Defense and Air Force are wrong to recommend removing the A-10 mission from the Fort Smith-based 188th Fighter Wing.
Overall, the Air Force proposed reductions of 3,900 active-duty, 5,100 Air National Guard and 900 Air Force Reserve positions.
Broad cuts in U.S. defense spending include the removal of the 20 A-10 Thunderbolt fighter plans from the 188th Fighter Wing in Fort Smith. The loss of the fighter mission is scheduled to be replaced with the unmanned Predator drone. The drones and intelligence specialists needed to analyze drone-driven data would not be based in Fort Smith.
“We’re working on that issue around the clock, behind the scenes,” Pryor said, adding that “It makes no sense” to remove the A-10 mission when looking at the decision from a financial perspective.
Link here to see all segments of The City Wire show.