I think Democrat James Lee Witt and Republican Bruce Westerman, candidates for 4th District Congress, are both genuinely nice guys. They have differing political outlooks, of course.
Inevitably, some issues had to come into play in what has been an amiable race. Bruce Westerman isn’t very happy about Witt’s decision to talk about issues. He says “contrast” ads are “negative.” Well, yes. To voters, it might be a negative to learn that a candidate — say Bruce Westerman — opposed expanding health care coverage for working poor people or favored a privatized Social Security system.
Westerman doesn’t see it that way. But if James Lee Witt can go “negative,” so can Bruce Westerman. The ad above is what set him off. Soon followed from the Westerman campaign the same old Pelosi/Obama/Pelosi/Obama refrain that every other Republican candidate down to county JP is using. He also repeats the widely repudiated pants-on-fire assertion that the Affordable Care Act cut Medicare (it cut reimbursements to providers and Republicans in the House voted for the same cuts in the Ryan budget plan).
Give Westerman credit. There ARE differences. It is not negative to say so — whether Witt or Westerman is doing the saying. Westerman would close U.S. borders. Witt has a balanced view on immigration. Westerman would repeal Obamacare and throw 250,000 Arkansans off the health care rolls. Witt wouldn’t. You decide which is a negative.
Westerman’s eruption follows in full:
The campaign of former Arkansas House Majority Leader and Fourth District Congressional Candidate Bruce Westerman (R-Hot Springs) today released the following statement following the unveiling of the first negative campaign ad of the race, “Bipartisan,” approved by James Lee Witt:
“In an ironic twist just days following a visit by Bill Clinton, James Lee Witt has chosen to launch a false attack cloaked as a ‘contrast’ ad based on misleading information and scare tactics from a stale Democratic Party play book,” said campaign manager Kenneth Ryan James. “By choosing to become a loyal foot soldier to Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama, Mr. Witt is attempting to distract the voters of Arkansas from his decades-long career as a government bureaucrat-turned Washington lobbyist that has made millions off of taxpayers at every level of government.”
“To make the implications he has made against Bruce Westerman with regards to Medicare and Social Security, it would require a faulty memory to ignore Mr. Witt’s statement of October 2, where he said he supported parts of the ‘Ryan budget.’ Mr. Witt also willfully ignores his support of Obamacare, which has resulted in over $700 billion in cuts to Medicare.”
Fourth District voters understand the real contrasts between Bruce Westerman and James Lee Witt:
James Lee Witt supports Obamacare and its cuts to Medicare totaling over $700 billion; Bruce Westerman has opposed implementing Obamacare in Arkansas and will fight to repeal it.
James Lee Witt supports amnesty through a special “pathway to citizenship”; Bruce Westerman supports securing our borders and enforcing existing immigration laws.
James Lee Witt co-authored the book that served as a blueprint for the failed policies of Barack Obama; Bruce Westerman was the architect of the conservative plan for government that led to the first Republican majority in Arkansas since Reconstruction.
James Lee Witt will caucus with Nancy Pelosi and her liberal allies in Congress; Bruce Westerman will be a champion of the common sense, rural, conservative values that are shared in the Fourth District.
“Bruce Westerman has stood for Arkansas values and fought for the people of Arkansas against the unfair, overreaching and destructive policies of the Obama administration that are on the ballot this year. Mr. Witt’s misleading and negative attacks do absolutely nothing to advance that fight, put another Arkansan back to work, or take one dollar off our national debt,” James added.