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Giuliani to host fundraiser for Blunt, who touts corporate support

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 17, 2010 - A top official from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is accompanying the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, U.S Rep. Roy Blunt, around the state today to emphasize the chamber's commitment to help the congressman from southwest Missouri as he seeks to succeed another of their favorites -- retiring U.S. Sen. Christopher S. "Kit" Bond.

The national chamber's senior vice president, William C. Miller, said the business group plans to spend "north of $50 million" this fall to aid favored candidates in eight to 10 U.S. Senate races and as many as 40 U.S. House races. The targeted contests include the Missouri race between Blunt and Democratic nominee Robin Carnahan, now Missouri's secretary of state.

Miller said there's no question that the national business community is solidly behind Blunt. "Our job in Missouri is to make sure that everyone knows who's the right choice," Miller said in an interview after a news conference here with Blunt. Miller and Blunt also were traveling to Kansas City and Springfield, Mo.

Blunt, in turn, is portraying Carnahan today as anti-business and in the pocket of Democrats controlling Washington.

But at the same time, Blunt also is unveiling a new TV ad today that touts him as pro-consumer, and cites some of his actions during his tenure as secretary of state from 1985-93. Carnahan's camp is challenging his narrative.

At the news conference, Blunt laid out his "Jobs for Missouri" plan. The key elements include:

  •  "Cut Spending and Reduce the Size of Government
  •  "Establish More Certainty in the Marketplace
  •  "Promote American Energy
  •  "Increase Access to Credit for Businesses
  • "Expand U.S. Exports
  • "Pursue Creative Policies to Protect Small Business, Promote Growth."

Blunt has been critical of the federal stimulus spending, and reaffirmed today his belief that "the so-called 'stimulus' has been a colossal failure."
"Washington Democrats think that with their brains and your money, the sky's the limit," Blunt said. "There has been no limit on the amount of people's money they will spend on big government programs that have failed to deliver jobs and are in fact stifling job growth and real recovery."

The event was held this morning at Hunter Engineering Co., which is headed by prominent Republican and former U.S. Ambassador (to Belgium) Stephen Brauer. Brauer said he planned to do all he could to help Blunt.

To that end, Brauer and his family are planning to host a large fundraiser for Blunt at their Hunter Farms estate on Sept. 24, featuring former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani. The event is to raise money for Blunt and honor Bond, Brauer and others said.

Blunt said the Giuliani event will be his last major fundraising event before the Nov. 2 election.

Hunter Farms, in west St. Louis County, was a favorite fundraising site for President George W. Bush.

UPDATE: The Missouri Democratic Party challenged the wisdom of Blunt's chamber support, citing comments a few years ago from association officials in favor of outsourcing jobs overseas. The officials said that outsourcing also creates jobs in Missouri.

"Missourians are suffering through Congressman Blunt’s 'jobs plan' from when he was a leader in Congress right now, with unemployment at around 9 percent,” said Missouri Democratic Party spokesman Ryan Hobart. "The fact that Congressman Blunt is touting the endorsement of a strong advocate for outsourcing jobs shows just how out-of-touch and in the pocket of corporate special interests he really is.”

At the same time that Blunt is traveling around the state with chamber officials, his campaign is launching the new TV ad to protrays him as pro-consumer with a "strong record of cracking down on Wall Street abuse" during his eight years as Missouri's secretary of state.

"This record includes his work protecting Missouri investors by forcing Wall Street firms to pay back Missouri investors they defrauded," his campaign said. "In fact, the settlements secured by Blunt against Hutton in 1986 and Drexel in 1990 were at the time the largest securities settlements in Missouri history."

But Carnahan -- who has cited her own success in collecting $10 billion for Missouri investors -- contends that Blunt is trying to run away from his more recent past in Washington as a Wall Street protector.

"After weeks of trying to rewrite his record when it comes to being a key architect of the $700 billion Wall Street bailout, today Congressman Blunt released a new ad where he tried out a new Wall Street talking point," Carnahan's campaign said. "This time, Blunt claims he has a 'long record of cracking down on Wall Street abuse.'The trouble is, the only evidence Blunt has of that 'long record' is one citation…from 20 years ago."

“Congressman Blunt’s 14-year Washington record on Wall Street is undeniable: deregulate the banks, bail them out with $700 billion of taxpayer money, oppose reining in their risky practices, and then rake in over $1.6 million in Wall Street cash,” said Linden Zakula, a Carnahan campaign spokesperson. “How can Congressman Blunt ask the people of Missouri for a promotion when he can’t even find one piece of evidence from his 14-year Washington record to demonstrate he will stand up against Wall Street and corporate special interests?”