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Bill Clinton Warns Arkansas Democrats to Beware of Karl Rove Politics

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Former President Bill Clinton swung through Arkansas this week for a handful of campaign stops in his home state, taking a few hard-hitting swings at Republican opponents who are attacking his old friends running for office.
On Thursday morning, Clinton joined 2nd Congressional District candidate Joyce Elliott for a rally in a historic ballroom in downtown Little Rock. If elected, Elliott, who is a retired school teacher and state senator, would become Arkansas' first black member of Congress.
Elliott needs all the help she can get. She trails her Republican opponent, Tim Griffin, a former Bush White House aide who worked with Karl Rove, in polls and fundraising. Griffin said in a press release Thursday during the Elliott event that he had raised more than $600,000 in this quarter and more than $1.57 million since the start of his campaign a year ago. Elliott has not released her latest totals.

At the rally, Clinton said that Republicans, including Rove, would blanket Arkansas over the next few weeks with attacks ads against Elliott. Rove, former deputy chief of staff and senior advisor to President George W. Bush, is reportedly a founder of American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS, two groups that are pouring millions of dollars into midterm races on behalf of Republican candidates.
"Karl Rove is a genius," Clinton said, telling the crowd what he believes Republicans want voters to do during the midterm elections: "Stop thinking."

Clinton added that Rove understands there is a deep "tribal" anger about the direction of the country that is fueling the midterms. Republicans like Rove are doing a good job at using talking points to tap into that anger to woo voters.
As for the race in the 2nd Congressional District, it took off after Democrat Vic Snyder, who has represented the district since 1996, announced his retirement in January, citing family issues. He is the father of four young children, including triplets.

That news set the stage for a five candidate Democratic primary in May, which led to an Elliott victory in a June runoff with Speaker of the House Robbie Wills. The district, which pundits say is trending Republican, encompasses seven rural counties and metropolitan Pulaski County, home to Little Rock, which is both the hub of state government and industry and home to two major military installations.
Snyder, who is famous for the bushy mustache he has had since 1969, said this week he will shave it off this Sunday at General Wesley Clark's Little Rock home if Elliott can raise $50,000 by then.

At Thursday's event, Snyder and Clinton hit Griffin hard on the issue of character.
Snyder held up a large poster that highlighted Griffin's involvement in the controversy over the firing of nine U.S. Attorneys by the Bush administration in 2006-2007. The unusual nature of the dismissals created suspicion that the government lawyers were sacked because they didn't see eye-to-eye ideologically with the White House.

Griffin replaced U.S. Attorney Bud Cummins, one of the nine. Some Democrats have alleged that Griffin, who had worked for Cummins from 2001-02, had been seeking the job as a stepping stone for a political career. Griffin served for six months and resigned before having to face Senate confirmation hearings. Arkansas Democratic Sens. Mark Pryor and Blanche Lincoln strongly questioned Griffin's appointment.
"The same time he was saying nice things about Cummins, he was trashing him in the White House to get him fired," Snyder said.

When Clinton took the stage along with Elliott, cheers and applause exploded. Clinton replayed the economics speech he gave the previous day on a campaign stop in northern Arkansas and attacked Griffin, accusing him of lying about his caseload while he was a military attorney. Clinton also went after Griffin on job creation.
"Her opponent hasn't done one single thing to put anyone to work," Clinton said.
"Except himself," a supporter yelled.
"He tried to put a U.S. Attorney out of work, but that was so he could fill the job," Clinton said. "There was no net increase there. And some of us think it was a net decrease."
The Griffin campaign responded after the event. "It's President Obama's economy, not President Clinton's, and Joyce Elliott's false accusations and negative attacks do not create one new private sector job for Arkansas workers or take one dollar off the national debt," Kenneth Ryan James, Griffin's communications director, told Politics Daily "Joyce Elliott is campaigning to help move the job-killing Obama agenda forward -- that is why Arkansans are rejecting her campaign."

Both sides have launched TV attack ads. One Griffin ad quotes an Arkansas Democrat-Gazette editorial that refers to Elliott smearing Griffin's character in order to deflect her own record.
Elliott's ad shows her standing in the church where she attended as a child holding a Bible. She says in the ad, "Thy shall not bare false witness" before adding that "It's clear Tim Griffin never learned this lesson."
Elliott accuses Griffin of lying about his record and conspiring to keep students and soldiers from voting. Democrats have alleged that Griffin was involved in the suppression of minority, homeless and service members' votes while employed by the Republican National Committee in 2004. Griffin denied the accusations in a lengthy press release.


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19 Comments

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cdnbirch

The Dems should be way out in front, but my party has decided to put the interests of the moneyed elite first and have turned their backs to working and middle class Americans. Look at NAFTA and the Dem support for illegal immigration. The GOP is even worse. I'm voting Green.

October 16 2010 at 7:08 PM Report abuse -7 rate up rate down Reply
jameselindeman

President Clinton is right. Rove is a political hack who will stop at nothing. In one of his first campaigns in Texas Rove called the police and media and claimed that his candidate was being bugged. Sure enough, a listening device was then found by the police in a phone there in the Rove's candidate's office. He then cast blame on the innocent opponent. The media bought it. Years later it was discovered that Rove planted the bug.

October 16 2010 at 9:27 AM Report abuse -5 rate up rate down Reply
dc walker

I would have voted for Rove before I ever would have voted for Clinton.

October 15 2010 at 8:12 PM Report abuse +10 rate up rate down Reply
phylliskunz

Jack Conway said he will not win on the back of senior citizens. I'm guessing Rand Paul's strategy is for seniors to increase their social security on their backs. Forgive the pun, but I could not resist. Jack Conway will put Kentucky first and best represent us in Washington and show the nation true grit.

October 15 2010 at 7:38 PM Report abuse -8 rate up rate down Reply
monseigneurdev

Is it true that Republicans made the Clinton presidency successful?

October 15 2010 at 7:37 PM Report abuse +10 rate up rate down Reply
odoey

The republican politicians are doing the negative campaigning and accusing the democrats of the same. I will not vote for any politician promoting negative politics. As far as Karl Rove goes, he may well be a genius, but be is a master of negative material, it seems tho, if he ran for any office he couldn't get one vote, and the same goes for Dick Cheney.

October 15 2010 at 6:49 PM Report abuse -7 rate up rate down Reply
FLAPPERHAPPY BOB

Bill was a good president only because the Republicans had control while he was in office. Enough said!

October 15 2010 at 6:28 PM Report abuse +17 rate up rate down Reply
klrav6

If you want fiscal responsibility, then why vote Republican. After all, they took a huge surplus and instantly turned it into a huge deficit under Bush in 2001. They balanced the budget under Reagan ( 0 times in 8 years) G H Bush (0 times in 4 years) and G W Bush ( 0 times in 8 years) . In cases you have lost track, that is 0 times in 20 years. Clinton raised a taxes a little, and ran a surplus for 5 out of 8 years. How can anyone say the GOP has a shred of responsibility on fiscal matters.

October 15 2010 at 6:24 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to klrav6's comment
dc walker

.........somebody had to pay for the cleanups at the Pentagon and World Trade Towers. Somebody had to secure the nuclear power plants, government buildings around the country, embassies around the world, railroad stations, airports, embassies and consulates around the world. Somebody had to open more offices scrubbing the manifests for cargo and airplanes here and abroad. yes Bush spent money I was there when he did thank heavens.

October 15 2010 at 8:15 PM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply
Stan

I ask what year were there "HUGE SURPLUS? all that needs to be done to check the FACTS is to go to the U.S. tresury report on the National Debt. You can get a year to year- Month to month or even day to day accounting of the National Debt. Please find what year this HUGE surplus existed!!! They obviously created this fictious surplus by taking some things off budget BECAUSE the National DEBT NEVER WENT DOWN despite THIS "HUGE SURPLUS"! I can not run my personal finances by taking things off budget and Then say WOW LOOKIE here I have a "HUGE SURPLUS" what can I spend it on? And at the end of the yrar/month/day/hour I owe more than I did before this "HUGE SURPLUS!!!! If you can find where Blue dress reduced the National Debt let us know= Otherwise THERE was NO "HUGE SURPLUS"!!!!! 5 of 8 years what6 a joke! Raised taxes on the dead and retroactivley at that. Raised gas taxes to quote him "balance the budget" EVERY YEAR CLINTON WAS IN OFFICE THE NATIONAL DEBT WENT UP!!!!!!!!!!! What did he do with THIS Phantom surplus? Maybe your news source, DNC, Can answer that for you! Maybe the U.S. Treasury is wrong and the Natonal debt is really not as big as it is . seeing as how they did not credit these "HUGE SURPLUSes!

October 18 2010 at 10:16 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
Chuck

How can old Billy say anything negative about one person when (lest we forget) he bought shame to our White House by having (he said he didn't but...)sexualy relations with Monica L. Talking about calling the kettle black. Shame on you Billy.

October 15 2010 at 6:16 PM Report abuse +17 rate up rate down Reply
jethess777

This is Bill Clinton, a Democrat, accusing the Republican Party of wanting to stop voters from "thinking." Hate to tell you, Bill, but that is a typical Democratic Party ploy! That's how BHO got elected in the first place-- all the nice sounding empty rhetoric! And the fact that voters woke up and began to think for themselves is precisely why Republicans are gaining steam! It's precisely why there was a TEA Party movement to begin with! Try listening to yourself first, Bill!

October 15 2010 at 6:07 PM Report abuse +21 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to jethess777's comment
GEE

And we all remember how George W. Got elected. What a great job he did huh.

October 15 2010 at 6:19 PM Report abuse -11 rate up rate down Reply
sunchld0

Nope, Fox News began the Tea Pary movement. Every broadcast was filled with promotions for Tea Party rallies. Fox News donated $1 million to a Republican Governors association. Need I say more? The facts speak for themselves.

October 15 2010 at 9:56 PM Report abuse -8 rate up rate down Reply

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