At a debate today, 18-term incumbent Congressman Jim Oberstar boastfully defended his record of wasteful run-away spending which has caused our nation's debt to skyrocket. Conversely, Chip Cravaack laid out his vision for a better Minnesota and more prosperous America. In front of an energized crowd of more than 1,800 at the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center, Cravaack explained his plan to create jobs, stop tax hikes, and eliminate pork-barrel spending in Washington.
"It's disappointing that Congressman Oberstar once again showed how out of touch he is with Minnesotans in the eighth district," said Cravaack, a 24-year Navy veteran. "His behavior today is what's wrong with Washington and why Minnesotans believe Congressman Oberstar has lost his way."
Throughout the debate, Congressman Oberstar repeatedly scolded those in attendance. In fact, he shouted to audience members who disagreed with him and arrogantly called them "members of the Flat Earth Society." When asked about the stimulus, Congressman Oberstar repeatedly said "the federal government creates jobs." When asked about ObamaCare, he angrily pointed at the audience claiming their health care is better after this law. When asked about his steadfast support for the cap-and-trade national energy tax and America's Commitment to Clean Water Act, Congressman Oberstar replied: "If you want clean water, join the Supreme Court."
During the spirited debate, Cravaack explained to a standing ovation that the federal government does not create jobs, the private sector does. Regarding ObamaCare, Cravaack said repealing this fatally-flawed law would be one of his top priorities in Congress. And Cravaack assured the audience he would oppose the job-killing cap-and-trade national energy tax.
When asked about his vote in September to adjourn for the year -- which failed to allow a vote to stop a massive $3.9 trillion job-killing tax increase on all Americans on Jan. 1, 2011 -- Congressman Oberstar erroneously denied it.
"Congressional Republicans and more than 30 House Democrats were calling for a vote to extend the tax cuts for working families and small businesses yet Congressman Oberstar voted to adjourn, which left the $3.9 trillion tax increase on the table," Cravaack said. "The tax hikes Congressman Oberstar voted for would adversely impact 75 percent of small business owners that file taxes and individual rates -- the same small business owners responsible for nearly two-thirds of private sector job creation."
Cravaack looks forward to debating Congressman Oberstar again on Friday, Oct. 22 at 7:00 p.m. at Itasca Community College in Grand Rapids.
For weeks, Congressman Oberstar refused to confirm to participate in Tuesday's debate in Duluth. But after the Duluth News Tribune published an editorial highlighting his refusal to explain his record to voters, the 18-term Congressman reneged and participated in the debate. His decision preceded a poll that showed Cravaack within 3 points of Oberstar, a strong position for a challenger going into the final stretch of the race. The poll was conducted by Public Opinion Strategies, a national firm who polls for the Wall Street Journal and NBC News.
Cravaack is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy and served in the U.S. Navy and Naval Reserve for 24 years during which he served at the Pentagon and NATO. After retiring from the Navy, he flew commercially for Northwest Airlines and served as a union representative for the Air Line Pilots Association. Cravaack lives with his wife and two young sons in Lindstrom and was president of the local Parent Teacher Organization.