May 6th, 2010
05:35 PM ET
4 years ago

Pro-Obama labor group urges Dems to defy his Arkansas wish

A new ad released by labor group SEIU targets Arkansas Sen. Blanch Lincoln.
A new ad released by labor group SEIU targets Arkansas Sen. Blanch Lincoln.

Washington (CNN) - It's not often that one of President Obama's major backers expresses support for him, but openly works against a candidate he is backing. But that is what's happening in the Arkansas Democratic Senate primary.

The Service Employees International Union released a new television ad on Thursday, complimenting a radio spot put out on Wednesday, that call for Sen. Blanche Lincoln's defeat. Earlier in the week, the Lincoln campaign released a radio ad featuring Obama.

Lincoln, seeking a third term, is running against Lt. Gov. Bill Halter in the primary.

The SEIU, a strong supporter of the president, is delicately using political strategy to make its case, essentially telling Democrats who like the president that they can still defy his wishes in this primary.

SEIU Spokesperson Lori Lodes told CNN that the 2.2 million-member labor union is, "Making sure that people see both sides … that they can love President Obama … and support Bill Halter."

The dueling ads show that the SEIU and the president are clearly at odds over who should be the next senator for Arkansas.

The new SEIU ads, part of a $1 million buy, characterize Lincoln's positions as jobs-killing and pro-Wall Street. "It was Blanche Lincoln who voted to ship our jobs to Mexico and China, helping corporations and hurting us," a narrator says in the new 30-second television ad. "And Lincoln voted to use our tax dollars to bailout Wall Street banks."

In the radio spot, listeners hear five different voices, woven together, who express their support for Halter.

"I'm a strong supporter of President Obama, but I'm voting for Bill Halter for senator," Halter supporters say in the ad. "I love President Obama, but I can't vote for Blanche Lincoln again … Senator Lincoln has turned her back on Arkansas … turned her back on the middle class."

As for the senator's position on health care reform, a voice in the radio ad says, "Senator Lincoln says she supported health reform. But we all know she refused to take on the big insurance companies."

Lincoln voted for the health care bill that the president signed into law earlier this year. But she voted against the separate, reconciliation package that made changes in the law.

President Obama, in the Lincoln campaign ad, casts the senator in an entirely different light.

"Blanche is leading the fight to hold Wall Street accountable, and make sure that Arkansas taxpayers are never again asked to bailout Wall Street bankers," the president said. The president added that Lincoln is "standing on the side of workers who've lost their jobs," and that Lincoln "took on big insurance companies" amid the debate over health care reform.

"So I urge you to join me in supporting Senator Blanche Lincoln for re-election on Tuesday May 18," Obama said.

On the Republican side, there are eight candidates battling for their party's nomination. Some political observers consider the Senate seat a possible pickup for the GOP.


Filed under: 2010 • Arkansas • Bill Halter • Blanche Lincoln • President Obama
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. jbb

    I live in Arkansas and Bill Halter is a relative newcommer, moving here from California, where he was in a position to send many jobs to India. I am also a lifetime member of the CWA and believe that Blanche Lincoln does what is best for Arkansas, even though I don't always agree with her

    John Bozeman will probably be running against whoever the Democratic candidate is and I don't think the man has ever had an original idea and just follows party lines. I would just like to see him get excited about anything and not just trudge along like a puppet.

    May 6, 2010 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  2. Dan

    It is a war "the progressive semi communist" against the rest of the Democratic party and the majority of it!!!!

    May 6, 2010 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  3. Victim of GOP Taliban

    Go Bill! Blanche has gotta go.

    May 6, 2010 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  4. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    If you think you're poor now, just vote Republican and see how much poorer you can get while the rich get richer.

    May 6, 2010 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  5. Chessnutz in Liverpool NY

    Vote Congress out, “you are fired” if they are in. Vote them out this fall no matter what party they belong to, and in the next election and every election going forward until they become the servants of the people once more.
    This November tell Congress "You Are Fired!"

    May 6, 2010 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  6. phoenix86

    Crises in the democratic party! Kind of like the Red Communists fighting the White Communists after the Russian revolution.

    No matter, a vote for any democrat in the Senate is a vote for Harry Ried; and a vote for any democrat in the House is a vote for Nancy Pelosi. That should make the decision a no-brainer and thus even within reach of most democrats.

    May 6, 2010 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  7. Pragmatic

    Unlike the republicans, Democrats are more independently minded and likely to say so ...

    Just look at FL: Conservative republicans want to force voters to support a sleazy (see his record as a FL legislator) person already in trouble with the IRS! Why? To save time corrupting him when he gets to DC?

    FL conservatives aren't running on the issues – just personal attacks on a popular moderate (gasp!) governor. Should be an interesting three way race! By the way, Crist's approval rating as governor is up 11% – now 56%.

    May 6, 2010 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  8. one voice

    This lady is nothing more than a Corporate shill in democrat clothing. Thanks to her and Nelson, the HCB was watered down when we could have had the public option. This women needs to be defeated by a real Democrat; Bill Halter.

    May 6, 2010 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  9. Kenneth Hopkins

    What is the problem with the immigration law? We have a law on the books from the 1940s thats states non-citizens who are in the United States must carry at all times offical documents proving that they are here legally such as green card, work visa etc. This law has been on the books for 70 years. I do not understand why this law is to be ignored and a new law should be put into effect. Those of us who remember the laws already in effect should be running congress instead of those inept idiots who call themselves experts.

    Thank you for reading this. Ken Hopkins

    May 6, 2010 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  10. Cynthia

    I live in Arkansas and Blanche Lincoln has sold out the middle class everytime a important vote came up ever since I can remember. The Republicans always promise her something if she votes with them and they never follow through. Why does she fall for it every time? We need someone who will represent the middle class. We want a Democrat to represent us, not a Republican-Lite.

    May 6, 2010 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  11. George of the jungle

    as long as it is a democrat who cares. I think the president knows who will work with him to get things done.

    May 6, 2010 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  12. Thanks SEIU......

    One more Dem. out of the Senate.....will help end Obama's socialist agenda.......

    Like socialism? Check out Greece,

    May 6, 2010 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  13. JP

    Its a sure bet that if you vote the candidate who is opposed by the SEIU thugs you voting for the right person.

    May 6, 2010 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  14. Daniel

    Just sent Halter my 10 bucks. Lincoln has become too arrogant and is showing her Delta planter mentality. She's a closet Republican.

    May 6, 2010 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |