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Saturday, October 29, 2005

MT-Sen: Conrad Burns Declares Bush's Record 'Isn't That Bad'

Posted by Bob Brigham

The Montana Senate race is going to be a great race for the netroots to follow. Conrad Burns has the most exposure of any senator in the Jack Abramoff scandals. Montana is a red state with a vulnerable three-term incumbent. Even Karl Rove is worried about this race amidst all of his other problems.

That, and we have an inspiring challenger in Jon Tester (who is on the Swing State Project Actblue page).

Today, the Montana press headlined, Burns facing tough re-election bid which included the type of quote you don't expect from a GOP Senator:

"The president is having his problems but that could straighten out," Burns said, adding that Bush's record "isn't that bad."

Not that bad, eh? Remember, this is a state where Bush enjoys an approval rating 11% pts. better than the national average -- yet a three term incumbent who has already raised 80% of what he need in 2000 is still running scared from Bush. And Burns sounds worried, here is the story's lede:

In the staid halls of the U.S. Senate, Montana Republican Conrad Burns is known for his booming voice and his cheery, back-slapping confidence. But when it comes to talking about his upcoming bid for re-election, his demeanor turns more serious.

Burns' is up to his cowboy hat in Jack Abramoff's scandals, so he should be worried about coming off as cocky because of how much money he has in the bank:

Democrats plan to make up for their financial disadvantage by leveling ethics charges at Burns. Strategists have already signaled that they plan to exploit Burns' ties to GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who has been indicted on fraud charges.

The Montana Democratic Party aired a television ad in August that criticized Burns for what it said was his vote to give one of the nation's wealthiest American Indian tribes $3 million from a federal program intended for cash-strapped tribal schools.

Abramoff was a lobbyist for the Michigan tribe, and also donated to Burns' political action committee along with some of his associates. Abramoff is now under a wide-ranging investigation, accused of bilking his Indian clients.

The Democratic ad said the financial arrangements add up to an "improper relationship" between Burns, chairman of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee that wrote the bill, and Abramoff.

Sketchy. Here's another great quote from Burns, not as good as his defense of Bush, but still desperate:

"I'm here and they're not," he said, sitting in his Senate office. "I've got the seniority and they don't. And I'm in the majority and they're not."

My response: Not for long, give Tester time, not for long.

Speaking of which, it is Tester Time.

Posted at 12:38 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Culture of Corruption, Montana, Scandals | Technorati

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Posted by: Don [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 29, 2005 07:19 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment