Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Lugar Smear Against Mourdock Is Also A Smear Against Daniels

Gov. Mitch Daniels may be backing the 80-year-old Sen. Richard Lugar for re-election to an unprecedented seventh term, but Lugar's latest attack on his Republican primary opponent, Richard Mourdock, is an indirect assault on the record of Gov. Daniels. Lugar's campaign has been attacking Mourdock for supposedly not showing up for work 66% of the time because he doesn't personally attend meetings of the State Board of Finance and other state boards upon which he is a member; instead, he chooses to send a designated representative of his office, a standard practice for state elected officials. Gov. Daniels is also a member of the State Board of Finance and, like Mourdock, he sends a representative of his office to represent him at the meetings. Using the Lugar standard for attacking Mourdock, you could argue that Daniels failed to show up for work 100% of the time. A Mourdock press release today explains:
In fact, one board singled out by the Lugar ad, the State Board of Finance, meets for about 5 minutes once a month. When Treasurer Mourdock can’t attend, he sends a senior staff member with full voting powers to attend on his behalf. Governor Daniels is also a member of the Board of Finance. For every single meeting since 2007, Governor Daniels has chosen to send a senior aide rather than attend personally. Does this mean that Dick Lugar is accusing Governor Daniels of not showing up for work?
Mourdock's campaign also points out that Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman chairs the Indiana Housing Board, but she, too, sends a member of her staff to attend the board's meetings as her designated representative. Naturally, the Indiana news media isn't calling bull on Lugar's specious attack against Mourdock. Frankly, if I owned a radio or TV station which is now airing those misleading Lugar ads, I would refuse to air the ads because they are a flat out lie. Obviously, Indiana's media would rather make money off Lugar's lies than stand on principle.

Here's a new line of attack I would propose to the Mourdock campaign. I believe if you add up all the days Lugar spent outside the country on foreign junkets over the past 20 years, you would discover that he actually spent more time outside the country than he spent in Indiana. I kid you not. Over the past twelve years, Lugar accepted free travel on at least 56 separate occasions, typically courtesy of the Aspen Institute, a global think tank, according to Legistorm, trips valued at more than $400,000. Lugar's wife often accompanied him on those free trips. Most of those trips were outside the country, but some were within the United States to popular vacation destination spots. Over the past twelve years, Lugar spent 360 days traveling to places other than Indiana. That's more than an entire year! Even worse, the Memorial Day holiday weekend when most Hoosier are back home in Indiana for the Indianapolis 500 festivities, Lugar is taking these free junkets almost every year that weekend. Nope, he's not a Hoosier any more, Andrea Neal. Get your facts straight the next time you put your pen to paper.

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