A compilation of inbox media advisories, press releases, tips, news clips, and notes from the campaign trail:
SYRIAN STANCES FIRM UP
Since this weekend, no member of Arkansas’ Congressional delegation has dramatically altered their previous stances on Syria intervention. Cong. Tom Cotton, who appeared on Capitol View this weekend, was the only member considered a firm “yes” on a limited strike.
This week, Congressmen Tim Griffin (R) and Steve Womack (R) issued more definitive statements on the topic after participating in a classified briefing.
“President Obama has not clearly articulated why an attack on Syria is in our national interest, what our goal is, how we achieve it and how we handle the aftermath,” said Griffin. “The President and his Administration have mishandled the Syria issue up to this point and now want Congress to grant them a license for war and just trust them. Yesterday, I attended a classified briefing on Syria, and nothing I heard changes my mind. My constituents and I remain unconvinced: I will not support military action in Syria.”
“My constituents have clearly spoken: they do not support American intervention in Syria,” said Womack. “As a member of Congress, my first job is to listen to the people of the Third District. I also have a responsibility to do what is in the best interest of our country. After attending the classified briefing and evaluating the administration’s intelligence, I have reached the conclusion that engaging in the Syrian conflict fails to meet this test. Therefore, I cannot and will not support military action in Syria.”
Sen. Mark Pryor (D), the state’s lone Democrat, apparently was pressured by the White House over the weekend, according to sources, but he remained solid in his opposition stating that conditions and questions he wanted answered weren’t met.
“Based on the information presented to me and the evidence I have gathered, I do not believe these criteria have been met, and I cannot support military action against Syria at this time,” said Pryor.
UPDATE: After the President’s speech to the nation Tuesday night, Pryor was quick to issue a statement and video. He reiterated his opposition to military action, but said he supported a “peaceful” disposal of Syria’s chemical weapons.
“I can support this effort if it is verifiable and if we can trust that Syria’s chemical weapons will be destroyed and not fall into the hands of terrorists,” he said.
COTTON’S BUSY DAY
Cong. and U.S. Senate candidate Tom Cotton (R) was active today. He spoke at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative/libertarian think tank, on the subjects of terrorism, Benghazi and Al Qaeda. You’ll have to scroll through this site to find two video clips of his comments.
From foreign affairs to Obamacare, Cotton pivoted to the domestic issue later in the day. In his office capacity, Cotton joined two Republicans in sponsoring legislation to eliminate exemptions and to establish requirements for federal employees to participate in the federal health care law.
“The legislation will require that all Members of Congress, the President, Vice President, and all political appointees in the Administration purchase their health insurance on the Obamacare Exchange without the help of taxpayer-funded subsidies. The legislation would also eliminate the special subsidies for Congressional staff if it is greater than what they would receive if they were not employed by a congressional office,” according to Cotton’s office release.
His campaign also focused on Obamacare, highlighting a story involving IBM and a change to its health care policy.
“It’s another day, and another company is cutting benefits for their employees, thanks to Obamacare. As you may recall, when the bill was passed President Obama said that ‘if you like your coverage, you can keep it.’ Well, that doesn’t seem to be the case for retirees across the country,” the press release says.
It also cites changes from Time Warner, and UPS, which have all been in the news for altering health care plans and benefits.
“This is becoming the new normal as the January 1 Obamacare implementation date gets closer,” said Cotton campaign manager Justin Brasell. “Mark Pryor might call Obamacare an ‘amazing success story’ but the hundreds of thousands of IBM, Time Warner, and UPS employees know otherwise. Thanks to Mark Pryor, and his deciding vote for Obamacare, hard-working Arkansans are about to see their coverage disappear.”
DEMS TARGET CRAWFORD ON FARM BILL
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee fires at Rep. Rick Crawford (R) for recent comments he made in Stuttgart regarding the Farm Bill. According to the Stuttgart Daily Leader, Crawford said he hoped to be on the conference committee to negotiate the House and Senate versions.
He told members he voted no on the split bill, which divided the agriculture and nutrition portions of the Farm Bill, because a yes vote would have removed his chances of being named to the conference committee.
Crawford also said legislators need to “put politics aside and find some common ground” to make the Farm Bill happen.
But what if they can’t?
“The world will not end,” Crawford said of lawmakers missing the Sept. 30 deadline, “but it certainly puts pressure on us.”
“Arkansas farmers deserve the security and stability of a new Farm Bill signed into law – but because of Congressman Crawford’s self-described ‘overzealous overreach’ there are now only eight days until the Farm Bill expires for Congressman Crawford to stop standing in the way of solutions,” said David Bergstein of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “Even worse, Congressman Crawford’s dismissive attitude toward passing this vital Farm Bill shows just how out touch Congressman Crawford is with the values of Arkansas farmers, who want this problem solved. It is past time for Congressman Crawford to stop his dysfunctional politics, stop standing in the way of solutions, and start working to fix this problem.”
The official fundraiser kick-off for Democrat John Burkhalter’s Lt. Governor campaign is set for Tuesday evening, Sept. 17 at the Argenta Community Theater in downtown North Little Rock. $2,000 for top sponsors or as little as $100 for guests.
Some notable names on the sponsor list: Carol and Witt Stephens, Donna and Mack McLarty, Gabby and Franklin McLarty, Beth and Mike Coulson, Lee and Greg Hatcher, Steve Landers, Wayne Woods, Brent Bumpers and incoming Democratic Party of Arkansas chairman Vince Insalaco. All told, there are more than 150 names of sponsors, hosts and supporters on the invite.
On a programming note, Burkhalter will be a guest on Talk Business this weekend. Fox 16, Sunday night at 10 pm.
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, DISTRICT 35
The race to replace term-limited State Rep. John Edwards (D-Little Rock) will get interesting tomorrow. Already announced Democratic candidate Jodie Mahony, son of the late and beloved El Dorado legislator with the same name, will get a stout Republican challenger on Wednesday.
Delta Trust and Bank CEO French Hill will pursue the seat as a GOP candidate, Talk Business has learned. Hill has been a long-time activist in Republican party politics and served as an economic advisor in the George H.W. Bush administration. The seat covers a swath of the Heights and west Little Rock.
STERLING TASK FORCE
GOP Attorney General candidate David Sterling is creating a “Federalism” task force “to research federal laws that appear to be unconstitutional.”
“Arkansans are growing weary of an out-of-control federal government. The government in Washington is involved in every aspect of our life: health care, religion, guns, private property, small business, and the list goes on,” Sterling said.
“As Attorney General, I’ll organize a Federalism Task Force whose job will be to research federal laws that we believe violate the Tenth Amendment that grants broad powers to states and individuals. When we feel state authority and individual liberty have been violated by the federal government, we will file a lawsuit against Washington.”
Sterling plans to put “aggressive attorneys who believe in a strict interpretation of the U.S. Constitution” to staff the task force.
Sterling faces GOP challenger Leslie Rutledge in a primary. Rep. Nate Steel (D-Nashville) is the only announced Democratic candidate.