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Kinder, Talent ride to rescue as Blunt takes on Democratic fire

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, June 19, 2009 - Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder and former U.S. Sen. Jim Talent are the latest Missouri Republicans to endorse the Senate bid of U.S. Rep. Roy Blunt, R-Strafford.

Blunt's campaign have confirmed he is holding a campaign event Saturday with the duo at 11 a.m. at the Frontenac Hilton -- a favorite GOP venue.

The endorsements come as Blunt is taking a hit on two fronts. State Sen. Chuck Purgason, R-Caulfield, is considering a primary challenge.

And the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has been firing a barrage of political attacks all week.

Such attacks have allowed the only announced Democratic candidate, Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, to generally ignore Blunt -- a fact that has infuriated Republicans.

Earlier this week, the DSCC slammed Blunt for:

-- Engaging in "an about-face'' regarding support for bills funding U.S. troops.

The DSCC cited Blunt's opposition to the latest House troop-funding bill, and compared it to his statements two years ago when he implied that it was unpatriotic for Democrats to oppose such a bill. A Blunt spokesman said the current bill in question had more items than just troop spending in it.

-- Holding a Washington fundraiser "with the 'who’s who' of big oil and energy special interests...."

"Blunt will be honored at a 'Energy Industry Dinner,' thrown by lobbyists representing big oil, gas, coal, and other energy interests," the DSCC said, noting that Blunt had "received over $390,000 from the oil and gas industries" during his congressional tenure.

-- Leading the GOP counter effort on health care reform, without offering specifics, and mainly attacking President Barack Obama.

"House Republicans presented a four-page outline of their health care reform plan Wednesday but said they didn’t know yet how much it would cost, how they would pay for it and how many of the nearly 50 million Americans without insurance would be covered by it,'' the DSCC said.

DSCC communications director Eric Schultz said in a telephone interview that such attacks were aimed at highlighting that:

"Roy Blunt is addicted to the old ways of Washington. He's schmoozing with the energy lobbyists, he's doing a complete about-face when it comes to funding troops..."

"He just doesn't get it that the people of Missouri deserve to know his real record."

Blunt spokesman Rich Chrismer replied:

"Robin Carnahan is hiding behind the liberal special interests and the national Democrats who want to eliminate checks and balances in the federal government with a one-party monopoly.

"Roy Blunt has repeatedly called on Robin Carnahan to come out of hiding and meet him this year for three media-sponsored forums but she has refused.

"We again call on Robin Carnahan to agree to these forums where Roy would be pleased to discuss his support for troop funding, his opposition to the cap and trade energy tax that Robin Carnahan supports and his plan to provide quality, affordable health care for Missourians without costly mandates."

The national Democratic help goes beyond regular jabs at Blunt. Earlier this week, the White House participated in a Chicago fundraiser to amass money for the DSCC and favored candidates, including Carnahan. (She was in Chicago for the event, a spokesman said.)

No word yet on how much was raised.

Kinder and Talent are likely Saturday to cite all the national Democratic aid for Carnahan as a key reason the GOP needs to coalesce behind Blunt.

Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.