Today in a speech before the Political Animals Club in Little Rock, U.S. Senator Mark Pryor went after Tom Cotton, throwing the proverbial kitchen sink at him, and created a clear contrast between himself and his opponent.
Pryor’s speech before the club today was, for the most part, a full frontal assault on Cotton’s record in Congress with the incumbent Senator pointing to numerous contrasts between himself and the freshman Congressman. Pryor pointedly noted that so far Cotton has no real accomplishments to speak of during his short time in Congress.
Pryor summed up the contrast between the candidates toward the end of his speech:
“First, I work with others to try and be a problem solver. Second, he’s [Cotton] my way or the highway. I like that contrast because I believe Arkansans want a Senator who will listen to them. […]
Tom Cotton can be for scorched earth all he wants, but I’m for finding common ground. I’m for getting things done.”
The major points Pryor made on Cotton were:
Government shutdown: “He [Cotton] advocated for it and he voted for it. I was part of the bi-partisan group that reopened the government,” said Pryor.
Farm Bill: “I voted to pass it, my opponent voted to blow it up. He [Cotton] was the only member of the Arkansas delegation to oppose a comprehensive farm bill,” said Pryor.
Pryor noted the irresponsible decision of not passing a Farm Bill means the the country is currently operating under 1940’s farm policy, which is harmful to Arkansas farmers.
Health care: Pryor said he was frustrated with the rollout of the Affordable Care Act and that he’s working to fix some of its problems. Pryor said he has called for an outside investigation on the website problems and is sponsoring legislation that requires President Obama to keep his promise when it comes to allowing people to keeping their previous health care plan.
Pryor then went on the attack over health care, saying Cotton wanted to turn back the clock to when insurance companies could deny coverage for pre-existing conditions and put caps on lifetime coverage on health care. Pryor praised the success of the Medicaid private option created by the Republican State Legislature and a Democratic Governor and said it is becoming a national success story.
Health Care for Seniors: “My opponent also has irresponsible ideas when it comes to health care for seniors. He voted to turn Medicare into a voucher system, he voted to change eligibility to 70 and voted to cut benefits,” said Pryor.
Student Loans: Pryor said Cotton was one of only six Republicans in the entire House to vote against the Student Loan Compromise. Pryor also rapped Cotton for using Stafford loans to go to Harvard, but then voted to cut the very loans he used to go to college.
Violence Against Women Act: Pryor said he voted for it, while Cotton voted against it twice. Pryor said the bill Cotton voted against was a Republican bill.
Pryor said Cotton is out of sync with not only Arkansas voters, but even Arkansas Republicans since there were 26 times this year where Cotton was the only member of the all-Republican House delegation to vote a certain way.
Pryor also hit Cotton for voting against disaster aid and pediatric medical research.
Frankly, I’ve never seen Mark Pryor this aggressive in defining an opponent in a speech before. Pryor is creating a clear storyline on his opponent on how Cotton’s votes are out of step with Arkansans.
Tom Cotton has been in Congress less than a year, but with his reckless votes he’s given Mark Pryor plenty of lines of attacks to use against him.