Custom Search

Friday, October 15, 2010

Richard Burr Wins 2nd Debate Too: Pulls Democrats Voters (Videos)

Burr Says Second Senate Bid Is Part Of His Congressional Solution For North Carolina

When Richard Burr tells North Carolina voters he’s offered conservative leadership and effective service during his first U.S. Senate term, his supporters murmur agreement and offer anecdotes.

A veteran at a campaign rally event in Hendersonville thanks Burr for helping him get benefits. Another candidate explains Burr’s office cut red tape to help fly World War II veterans to Washington.

But as he seeks a second six-year term, Burr’s getting another message from an electorate restless even with his fellow Republicans: You’re on a short leash.

“If they don’t make the changes, then we’re going to vote them out like we’re voting the Democrats out this time,” says Tony Riffice, a 49-year-old unemployed carpenter from Forest City who spoke with Burr at a campaign stop in Rutherfordton.

Burr acknowledges Republicans fell short on carrying out the their fiscal principles when George W. Bush was president and they controlled Congress. And he agrees the criticism is fair game for Democratic challenger Elaine Marshall. But he contends he voted against bloated spending plans even before President Barack Obama was elected in 2008 or the Democrats took control of Congress in 2006.

“I don’t run from the blame when we had the White House and had the majority,” Burr, 54, said in an interview.

He believes he is still the best choice to help get the economy back on track. As he said during a recent debate, “If in fact you believe this country is headed in the right direction, if you’re supportive of a government that costs too much and that’s too large, then I’m not your candidate.”

Voter support is something Burr’s longtime friends believed he’d never need. After graduating from hometown Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, Burr took a job at an appliance wholesaler, where he rose to national sales manager. Friends were floored when Burr said he would run for Congress in the early 1990s after increased frustration with tax increases.

Back in college, “Richard was not very interested in politics in those days,” said state Republican Party Chairman Tom Fetzer, who went to Wake Forest with Burr and considers him one of his closest friends. But “when he sets his mind on something, he gets real serious about it. “

He lost to incumbent Democrat Steve Neal in 1992, but Neal retired and Burr rode the Republican wave to victory two years later. In the House, he shepherded laws to modernize the Food and Drug Administration and a long-awaited buyout of the federal tobacco quota system.

The buyout helped with his 2004 Senate victory over former White House chief of staff Erskine Bowles. He’s shifted now to veterans and education issues and sits on the powerful Armed Services Committee. While mentioned briefly as a vice-presidential candidate in 2008, Burr is rarely in the national spotlight and has cultivated the persona of a policy wonk.

Democratic critics say he continues to value corporate interests who give him campaign money.

The nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics said Burr’s campaign committee has collected more than $2 million from political action committees during the 2010 election cycle — ranking him seventh highest among Senate colleagues.

The American Conservative Union gave Burr a top 100 rating for his voting record in 2009. He scored only a 74 in 2008, in part for voting for the $700 billion bailout of the nation’s financial industry.

“I still believe today that if we had not done that, we would have had a financial meltdown,” he said. He voted for a resolution in 2009 that would have prevented the use of the funds to buy shares in banks, insurance companies and automobile makers.

Burr has changed little since 2004 except for a little more gray in his hair. He keeps to a campaign uniform of a navy blue jacket with a handkerchief in the front pocket, dress shirt, khakis and loafers with no socks. He’s apt to indulge in a pinch of smokeless tobacco between campaign stops.

Burr said he’s the same person compared to 2004 except that “over the six years I’ve learned to value much more the input of people.”

“I believe I’ve been a consistent voice for North Carolina, not just in the six years in the Senate, but in the 10 years in the House,” he said. “I come home every weekend. I work as hard as anybody in the state.”

At a rally in Hendersonville, tea party supporter and retiree Donna Massaria of Fletcher, stood and asked Burr whether he would pledge to end special spending earmarks in the federal budget. She voted for Democrats in 2008 but plans to vote Republican in 2010.

“Yes ma’am,” Burr replied.

“OK, we’re going to hold you to it,” warned Massaria, 63.

View Larger Map

Sources: WRAL, Youtube, Google Maps

No comments: