Lifelines Not Applicable/Obama’s Support Not Welcome
Earlier this month, we lent a helping hand to President Obama before he delivered his version of a “status-check speech on [the] economy” by offering some insight into the real status of the economy. In that same spirit, we wanted to give incumbent Congressman Brad Ellsworth a similar opportunity in light of yesterday’s announcement by the Indiana Debate Commission that a series of three debates will be held among the candidates for U.S. Senate.
Since there are no lifelines in a debate, we thought it would be helpful to give Congressman Ellsworth a few of the questions on the minds of Hoosiers before the cameras even turn on. Among them:
QUESTION: Your vote for President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul – not once, but twice – was predicated on two principles: That the new measure would not federally subsidize elective abortion operations and that it would not add “one penny to the deficit.” Three months and several CBO and DHHS spending reports later, do you still think your vote for the president’s health care reforms was right for Indiana?
· Analysis by actuaries at the Department of Health and Human Services revealed that the legislation would increase federal health care spending by $311 billion over the next ten years: “The analysis also found that the law falls short of the president’s twin goal of controlling runaway costs, raising projected spending about 1 percent over 10 years, or $311 billion, up from the $222 billion previous estimated.” (“Administration defends health law despite Medicare report hiking nation’s tab,” Associated Press, Rich Edson, 04/23/10).
· Ellsworth announced his support for Obama’s reforms before the President agreed to the Stupak executive order barring federal monies for private abortions: “Rep Brad Ellsworth, a former Yes vote who shared the concerns of the Stupak dozen and was intensely wooed by both sides, will vote Yes on the Senate bill, his spokesman confirms to me. ‘He’s a Yes,’ Jonathan Kott, communications director for Ellsworth, just said by phone. ‘He will vote in favor of health care reform.’” (“Breaking: Ellsworth to vote yes,” Washington Post, Greg Sergent, 03/19/10)
· State and local pro-life groups forswore Ellsworth for his role in the bill’s passage. Indiana Right to Life and National Right to Life both endorsed Coats over Ellsworth: “The National Right to Life official added, ‘Coats can be trusted to protect our most vulnerable citizens – our unborn children.’ On the other hand, Cross says Ellsworth betrayed his pro-life claims by supporting the government-run health care bill that has massive abortion funding.” (“Indiana Senate candidate Dan Coats get support from pro-life organization,” LifeNews.com, Steven Ertelt, 05/26/10).
QUESTION: Do you still maintain that the health spending bill was a positive for the nation’s economy?
· On May 7 of this year, Rep. Ellsworth said of the nation’s job figures: “I will continue working to create an environment that encourages Indiana business to grow and create jobs.” (“Ellsworth: Today’s job numbers show economy is rebounding,” House.Gov, 05/07/10).
· And yet, just weeks earlier Ellsworth voted for the President’s health care reforms, which included a 2.3 percent excise tax on medical device companies. Indiana is home to two such companies, in Warsaw and Bloomington, who will have to weather this new $20 billion tax: “Medical device manufactures are bristling over a key provision in the nation’s new health care law which they say forces them to shoulder an unfair cost of expanded insurance coverage. … And they say that will force them to lay off workers and curb the research and development of new medical tools.” (“Medical device makers: New tax will cost jobs,” Associated Press, Steve LeBlanc, 06/06/10).
· That legislation also included a federal takeover of the student loan industry: “[A]s a result of health care reform, a Fishers-based student-loan provider may cut nearly 30% of its workforce, its leader told a local news radio station. Sallie Mae employs 1,700 in Fishers [Indiana] and 725 more in Muncie [Indiana].” (“Sallie May may cut 30% of jobs,” Indianapolis Star, Staff, 03/26/10)
QUESTION: Will you disclose the names of lobbyists you met while in Congress?
We’ll certainly have more as the campaign progress, but it’s a start.
Poll: Obama’s Support Unwelcome
Public Policy Polling yesterday released new numbers showing “Democrats are going to have to think really carefully about how they deploy Barack Obama for campaigning this fall.”
Specifically, nearly half of respondents – 48 percent to be exact – “said support from Obama would make them less likely to vote for someone.” So much for presidential coattails.
When asked by WISH TV’s Jim Shella if Congressman Ellsworth would be inviting his BFF to campaign for him in Indiana this cycle the Ellsworth campaign “indicated that it will invite the President here.” Be sure to keep your calendars open because this will be one you won’t want to miss.
[Full disclosure: Pete Seat is the press secretary for the Coats for Senate campaign.]