Monday, November 03, 2008

Verbatim: 2008 Candidates Champion Small Business

Every week, GoodBiz113 features influencers who are propelling the interests of small-business owners, entrepreneurs, consultants, self-employed folks, artists, etc. Following, are comments made by some of the nation's leading politicos on the 2008 campaign trail.

* "Medicare is one of the great policy success stories in modern American history. We have a health care cost problem, not a Medicare problem. The problem that Medicare faces is the same problem that every family and small business in America knows all too well, and that is that health care costs are rising dramatically. Private premiums are up 78 percent during the Bush administration. There is no question that tackling spiraling health costs is a top priority for families, business and government. We absolutely must get a handle on our health spending to preserve American competitiveness. We also need to strengthen Medicare to allow people ages 55 to 64 to buy into it. And a prescription drug benefit." -- U.S. Senate challenger Kay Hagan [D-North Carolina, pictured], in response to a News & Observer [Raleigh, N.C.] reader question about Medicare Part D

* "I know we're not running against George W. Bush, but we are, in fact, running against the very Bush economic policies that John McCain wants to continue and is promising to continue... Policies that call for more taxes for companies that send jobs overseas, while providing no relief for a 100 million middle-class families. Policies that call for taxing your heath care benefits as if they're income. Policies that call for another four billion dollars in tax cuts for the Exxon Mobil's in the world, as if they need it." -- Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Biden, addressing a crowd in Marion County, Fla., last week [reported by The Bulletin: Philadelphia's Family Newspaper]

* "Washington sprung into immediate action when Wall Street was in trouble, but there's been no help for struggling homeowners on Main Street and no solutions for middle-class families and small businesses hurt by the failed economic policies of the last eight years... And now we find that the $700 billion bailout is being used not to solve the problem, but to hand-pick winners and losers on Wall Street. That's an outrage. Taxpayer dollars should be helping taxpayers, not going to pad the bottom lines of the Wall Street bankers whose bad bets got us into this mess. This is exactly why we should never have passed this bill without proper accountability. And it's time for Congress to take action." -- Minnesota DFL U.S. Senate challenger Al Franken [reported by GoodBiz113 on Oct. 29, 2008]

* "We're going to help small businesses. We're going to help the middle class. We're going to get health care under control. We're going to get government spending under control, because it's time for a change." -- U.S. Senate challenger Bruce Lunsford [D-Kentucky], before a crowd of supporters in Bowling Green [WBKO, on Oct. 24, 2008]

* "As voters head to the polls just two days from now, the stakes for New Hampshire couldn't be higher. We have the chance to turn the page on a failed economic agenda and instead stand up for small businesses and middle-class families again. In the last month, the need for a new economic direction has grown even more urgent. Families who were already struggling to pay for everything from gas to groceries now tell me they're worried about whether they will be able to retire or send their kids to college. And business owners are worried about whether they will be able to buy inventory or make payroll. Now, more than ever, we need meaningful change in Washington. And to do that, we need a new senator with the experience and the will to tackle the challenges we face..." -- Democratic U.S. Senate challenger Jeanne Shaheen, in an editoral she wrote for New Hampshire's Union Leader, Nov. 2, 2008]

* “The last eight years have proven that the philosophy of the Republican Party and how they managed this economy has been wrong. Eight years of believing in an economy based from the top down. [It] doesn’t work. We’ve got a terrible economic crisis in this country, but we’re going to fix it.” -- Democratic U.S. Senate challenger Jim Martin, during a campaign stop in rural Danville, Ga. [Chattanooga Times Free Press on Oct. 30, 2008]

* "Don't lose hope. The country is going to turn the page and we're going to get a fresh start." -- Democratic U.S. Senate challenger Mark Warner, to 200 employees at Geico Insurance in the Corporate Landing office park, in Virginia Beach, Va. [The Virginian-Pilot, on Oct. 30, 2008]

* "...After decades of broken politics in Washington, eight years of failed policies from George Bush, and twenty-one months of a campaign that has taken us from the rocky coast of Maine to the sunshine of California, we are one day away from change in America. Tomorrow, you can turn the page on policies that have put the greed and irresponsibility of Wall Street before the hard work and sacrifice of folks on Main Street. Tomorrow, you can choose policies that invest in our middle-class, create new jobs, and grow this economy so that everyone has a chance to succeed; from the CEO to the secretary and the janitor; from the factory owner to the men and women who work on its floor. Tomorrow, you can put an end to the politics that would divide a nation just to win an election; that tries to pit region against region, city against town, Republican against Democrat; that asks us to fear at a time when we need hope. Tomorrow, at this defining moment in history, you can give this country the change we need." -- Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, addressing supporters yesterday in Jacksonville, Fla.

GoodBiz113's take: Small business needs advocates and, as reflected here, we have a strong number of them running for election. These fine candidates deserve our support tomorrow, so get out and vote! Then, after the ballot-counting dust settles, the returns are in, and the pundits have finally retreated -- till Jan. 20, 2009, anyway [Inauguration Day] -- take a good look at Barack Obama and Joe Biden's Plan for Small Business. It's the consummate, win-win-win playbook for growing America's small businesses.

SOURCES: News & Observer, The Bulletin: Philadelphia's Family Newspaper, Al Franken for Senate, WBKO, Union Leader, Chattanooga Times Free Press, The Virginian-Pilot, Obama for America

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Sunday, November 02, 2008

Facing Campaign Financing Fraud Charges, Sen. Norm Coleman Tries to Smear Minnesota DFL Challenger Al Franken

This week, a Republican businessman in Texas by the name of Paul McKim filed a lawsuit this week against Nasser Kazeminy. Kazeminy is one of Sen. Norm Coleman's biggest donors and closest friends. In fact, he's the same man who flew Coleman on his private jet to vacations in the Bahamas and Paris.

Only a small portion of the lawsuit has anything to do with Norm Coleman -- but the part that does is incredibly serious. McKim's sworn affidavit, since corroborated by a second lawsuit, describes an effort to funnel $75,000 to Sen. Coleman's wife.

So, are the allegations true? That's yet to be determined. Still, no one at the Al Franken for U.S. Senate campaign reportedly knew a thing about this lawsuit, and had never even heard of this company or Paul McKim, until they read about it in the newspaper.

Then came yesterday. Instead of answering these very serious allegations, Norm Coleman released a TV ad, blaming DFL challenger Al Franken for the lawsuit. It shows Coleman, seated on a couch next to his wife, Laurie, as he looks directly into the camera and says, "This time, Al Franken's crossed the line... I'm fair game for his ugly smears. My wife and family are not."

"It's his most dishonest ad of the year," wrote Andy Barr, Al Franken for U.S. Senate's communications director, to campaign supporters today. "That ad is up on TV right now. And it's a despicable lie. Franken had nothing to do with this lawsuit. Norm Coleman, faced with sworn allegations of a conspiracy to funnel him improper payments, is trying to deflect blame by lying about Al Franken in a TV ad."

According to the Star Tribune, Coleman called this an "11th-hour attack" on his re-election campaign. The Star Tribune also reported that, "within an hour [of the ad's airing], Franken abruptly canceled an appearance at a campaign rally in Minneapolis to hustle over to a DFL Party news conference, where he denied the accusations and called Coleman's remarks 'insulting to voters.'"

There, Franken looked directly into the camera and flat-out discredited the notion of any wrongdoing. "Senator Coleman looks the people of Minnesota in the eye and lies," he said. "I'm being blamed for crossing a line and I didn't do a thing. And our campaign didn't do a thing."

"It has been a long campaign, and a tough one," noted Barr. "Norm Coleman has sunk to historic depths to smear Al Franken and make this election about something -- anything other than his own record and the issues that affect the people of Minnesota."

DSCC Issues Memo: "It's Time for Norm to Go"
These lawsuits come within days of a Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee memo, rhetorically asking, "Does Norm Coleman deserve to be re-elected?"

It goes on to highlight a handful of compelling numbers reflecting Coleman's service as Minnesota's senior U.S. Senator in the seat once held by the late Paul Wellstone:
* 52 free trips paid for by special interests
* Over $600,000 from big oil and drug companies
* Living almost rent-free in the $1,000,000 home of a Washington insider
* Ranked the 4th most corrupt senator in Washington
* Coleman voted nearly 90% of the time with George Bush -- together, running up a $10 trillion national debt

The DSCC memo cites dozens of credible sources -- including specific votes that Coleman has cast -- and then concludes, "It’s time for Norm to go."

GoodBiz113's take: We agree: It is time for Norm Coleman to go. After all he's done for George W. Bush, big corporations and myriad special interests, he should be able to land at least one or two consulting and/or lobbying gigs. Now, it's time for small businesses, entrepreneurs, farmers, etc., in Minnesota and across the nation to have real champions in the U.S. Senate. Al Franken will aptly fill Paul Wellstone's seat with integrity, vision, ingenuity, compassion and, very likely, some terrific post-Bush era humor, too.

SOURCES: Al Franken for U.S. Senate, Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Star Tribune

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