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Posted at 6 a.m. on Feb. 22, 2014
Republicans chose Rep. Tom Cotton, a Senate candidate in one of the hottest races this cycle, to deliver the party’s weekly address and go after President Barack Obama as “causing” the problems people face in Arkansas and across the country.
It’s the latest example of how leaders in both parties are showcasing Senate candidates to let their battles play out under the Dome as well as back home. Already Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor and Cotton have been on opposite sides of legislative battles, including the farm bill. And Democratic leaders gave Pryor a ready-made political wedge issue recently on a topic related to veterans benefits.
The addresses posted on YouTube by both the White House and the GOP on Saturday mornings are hardly a major national platform, but the video did give Cotton an opportunity to point out his own Arkansas roots and boast that he is a leader on an issue that helps him back home.
“Arkansans, like most Americans, have had their grit tested over the last several years through a financial collapse, recession, and a stagnant, jobless recovery. Barack Obama’s policies aren’t solving these problems — they’re causing the problem,” Cotton said.
Obama’s policies, Cotton said, “are fundamentally flawed.”
“They’re wrong for Arkansas, and they’re wrong for America. And as a result, too many Arkansans, like people across the country, are still out of work — five years into President Obama’s economic ‘recovery,’” he said. “Republicans in Congress are committed to stopping the harms caused by the President’s policies, repairing the damage, and getting America working again. We’re advocating reforms that trust patients and their doctors — not Washington bureaucrats. And we’re working to get spending under control. That’s because we trust you to make the right decisions for you and your family.”
The Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call rates the Pryor-Cotton race as Tilts Republican.
Obama’s own weekly address focused on proposals to increase the minimum wage, another political wedge Democrats are using in hopes of keeping control of the Senate and as they attempt to win the 17 seats needed to reclaim the House.
The president said that since he first asked Congress to raise the minimum wage, six states have increased their own, but noted “only Congress can finish the job and lift Americans’ wages across the country.”
The bill to boost the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 would help 16 million Americans, Obama said.
“But even though a majority of Democrats, independents, and Republicans across the country support raising the minimum wage, Republicans in Congress don’t want to give it a vote,” he said. “Hardworking Americans deserve better than ‘no.’ Let’s tell Congress to say ‘yes.’ Pass that bill. Give America a raise. Because here in America, no one who works hard should have to live in poverty — and everyone who works hard should have a chance to get ahead.”
Get used to more messages like this in the coming months as the battle for control of Congress rages on.