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Carnahan breaks with White House again, while Blunt heads back to the farm

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 10, 2010 - Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Robin Carnahan is breaking with the White House on another issue, by opposing President Barack Obama's proposal to spend $50 billion on infrastructure projects.

She also launched Friday another negative ad against her Republican rival, U.S. Rep. Roy Blunt, who spent the day traveling around rural parts of the state with Missouri Farm Bureau President Charlie Kruse.

Carnahan, currently Missouri's secretary of state, finds herself on the same side as Blunt when it comes to the president's infrastructure plan, although the candidates' reasons differ.

Blunt told the Associated Press, "I don't think the $50 billion is really meaningful. If he wanted to spend $50 billion, he could spend it out of the stimulus money."

But it's Carnahan's opposition that is making news. She explained in a statement late Friday, "For me, this proposal doesn’t seem very practical for solving the huge problem our state and nation are facing after 14 years of Congressman Blunt’s economic policies in Washington.

"Instead," she added, "I’d be for focusing on getting bipartisan support for a few commonsense proposals to jump-start the economy such as: 1) making tax relief and incentives for small businesses; and 2) paying for any new initiatives by ending the current subsidies and tax breaks for big oil companies and other corporations that ship our jobs overseas."

Carnahan already has sparked controversy because she is opposing Obama's stance on the Bush tax cuts, slated to expire at the end of this year. Obama wants to end the breaks for people making more than $200,000 a year, or couples earning more than $250,000.

Carnahan wants to keep all cuts in place until the economy improves. Blunt wants all the tax cuts to be made permanent.

On Friday, Blunt was touting that message and others as he traveled with Kruse on a "six-county Southwest Missouri farm tour."

Blunt is emphasizing his own farm upbringing, and citing endorsements -- standard for a Missouri Republican -- from the Missouri Cattlemen's Association, Missouri Corn Growers, the Missouri Dairy Association, Missouri Farm Bureau, the Missouri Pork Producers and the Missouri Soybean Association.

"Missouri farm families like most Missouri families are concerned about the jobs, economic recovery and spending," said Blunt. "Farm families in particular are concerned about burdensome regulations, opening up new markets for their products and devastating taxes such as the cap and trade national energy tax and the death tax."

Blunt also may be trying to counter any traction that Carnahan may be getting from some of her latest attack ads that show her on a farm -- either her family's or that of a neighbor.

Jo Mannies is a freelance journalist and former political reporter at St. Louis Public Radio.