Some of Iowa’s top politicians engaged in a game of he said/she said Wednesday afternoon.
Patty Judge, the Democratic candidate for Lieutenant Governor, held a news conference at Iowa Democratic Party headquarters mid-afternoon on Wednesday to play video clips from a speech delivered by Republican congressional candidate Jeff Lamberti of Ankeny. In the speech, Lamberti complained about the budget “mess” in Washington. Lamberti said pork barrell spending’s running rampant and no one knows what’s been “thrown” in the budget bills.
Judge called that an indictment against Jim Nussle, the Republican candidate for governor who’s been chairman of the U.S. House Budget Committee since 1997. “I’m sure the Nussle campaign will say, as they always do when we talk about the congressman’s record, that this is some kind of a negative attack by the Culver/Judge campaign, but the reality is it’s not an attack by the Culver/Judge campaign, it’s really an attack by Jeff Lamberti,” Judge said.
Judge rejected Nussle’s repeated contention that a federal budget deficit was a natural outcome after the attacks on 9/11 weakened the economy and prompted the president to go to war against terrorists. “The federal deficit is the highest in the history of this country, higher than it was in any time when we were at war, higher than in any incident in the history of this country,” Judge said. “We have coupled that with tax breaks for the richest Americans and I think the Republicans do have to take responsibility for those actions.”
Judge read from a statement during the early part of the news conference. “Iowa can’t afford Congressman Nussle to bring his Washington values and fiscal irresponsibility to state government,” Judge said. Then, she played the video for reporters. The video’s not available for public viewing today, but Judge said it may be posted later on the Internet.
Nussle rejects assertions from Democrats that he bears major responsibility for the federal budget deficit. Nussle says Democrats are trying to have it both ways. Nussle says on Monday, the Democrats were attacking him for spending too little federal tax money on education while on Wednesday, the Democrats were attacking him for spending too much. Nussle calls it an attempt to “shift the debate to personal attacks” away from Nussle’s attack on Democratic rival Chet Culver’s idea to invest three percent of the state pension fund’s assets in start-up companies in Iowa.
Lamberti — the GOP candidate quoted by the Democrats — issued a statement, saying “time after time Jim Nussle has voted to eliminate wasteful spending and reduce the deficit, only to have (Congressman) Leonard Boswell refuse to join him in these tough decisions.” Boswell is the Democratic congressman from Des Moines that Lamberti hopes to unseat in November.
Earlier this summer, Lamberti was asked whether his criticism of the federal budget deficit wasn’t a critique Nussle — the Republican nominee for governor. “Jim Nussle’s not running for the third congressional district,” Lamberti said in July. “This is a race between Jeff Lamberti and Leonard Boswell. I think we’ll keep the third district comparison to where we are on the budget reform necessary.”