First on CNN: Welcome to Washington Mr. Walsh
February 11th, 2014
08:18 AM ET
2 months ago

First on CNN: Welcome to Washington Mr. Walsh

Washington (CNN) - Hours before Montana Democratic Lt. Gov. John Walsh gets sworn into the U.S. Senate, he's coming under attack by national Republican groups.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee went up early Tuesday with a website titled "Where's Walsh-o" that's critical of the new senator. And American Crossroads, the pro-GOP independent super PAC co-founded by Karl Rove, plans to welcome Walsh into the Senate with an attack ad that's set to run back in Montana.


Walsh will be sworn into the Senate by Vice President Joe Biden just a few days after Montana Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock Friday named Walsh to fill the remainder of the term of Sen. Max Baucus, who was overwhelmingly confirmed last week as U.S. ambassador to China.

Baucus, a six-term Democratic senator, announced last April that he would retire at the end of 2014 rather than run for re-election. In October, Walsh announced his bid to try to keep the seat in party hands.

Late last year the White House announced it would nominate Baucus as U.S. ambassador to China, spurring speculation that Bullock would name Walsh to serve as interim senator.

"John Walsh is Hard to Find These Days..."  says the NRSC's website, which goes onto claim "That's because he doesn't like to answer questions about his disastrous record, his ability to lead, and a management record dominated by a culture of poor morale, inappropriate relationships and horrific personnel problems."

Walsh, 53, served as an adjutant general in the Montana National Guard, spending time in Iraq. His first run for office was in 2012, when he won election for lieutenant governor on the same ticket as Bullock. The governor's naming of Walsh as interim Senator gives him the power of incumbency, which means better name recognition and an easier ability to raise campaign cash, all things that will come in handy as Walsh prepares to fend off a primary challenge from former Lt. Gov. John Bohlinger.

And it should also help in the general election. With Baucus gone, Republicans see Montana, a state that leans conservative, as a strong pickup possibility in the November midterms. The GOP needs to win back six Democratic held seats to reclaim control of the Senate. The Republicans have a strong candidate in Rep. Steve Daines, the likely GOP nominee.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee was quick to defend Walsh and criticize the NRSC.

"Only a Washington insider like Steve Daines would call on his NRSC handlers to smear John Walsh's distinguished 33-year record of service leading the Montana National Guard. John's courage to stand up for Montana's servicemen is one of the many reasons he will be a great Senator and Steve Daines should be ashamed of himself for allowing the NRSC to attack John's selfless military service," DSCC press secretary Justin Barasky told CNN.

"The NRSC's baseless attack, which comes while they encourageTerri Lynn Land to hide her views on access to birth control, Bill Cassidy to hide his on a fair tax, and Dan Sullivan to hide behind the Koch's while they fire nearly 100 Alaska workers, reeks of hypocrisy."

The NRSC's also up with an internet ad in Montana that ties Walsh to President Barack Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

"Harry Reid and President Obama have pulled all the strings they can to clear the way for their hand-picked, scandal-plagued choice John Walsh," said the narrator in the NRSC commercial, which the committee says will run on-line for 20 days.

Meanwhile, American Crossroads says it's spending six figures to run a TV commercial starting this week in Montana that takes on Walsh.

The Democrats currently have a 55-45 majority in the Senate (53 Democrats and two independents who caucus with the party), but are defending 21 of the 36 seats up for grabs in November's midterm elections. And half of those seats are located in red or purple states.


Filed under: 2014 • Max Baucus • Montana
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    Welcome, General. Maybe you can teach some of these Chickenhawks the real meaning of "SERVICE"!

    February 11, 2014 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  2. Al-NY,NY

    the GOP hates the military

    February 11, 2014 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  3. Rudy NYC

    Look at 'em go. This is your Repubilcan Party, your conservative movement, moving this country forward. If you've ever had any doubts that the conservative movements priorities are anything political, then these actions that they're taking against a Senator that has never set foot in DC before should put all of that to rest. This is Republican rebranding at work, folks.

    Conservatives are trying to destroy Walsh simply because the man is a Democrat. The next thing you know, the conservatives will be accusing Walsh of not reaching out across the aisle, unwilling to compromise, a big spender, etc, You all know the song's lyrics by now. Whatever happened to John McCain's 2008 "Country First"? It died, and was replaced by the Tea Party and hard line extremists. This is the real Republican rebranding. folks.

    February 11, 2014 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  4. Gurgyl

    Republicans don't have any kind of brain. They just HATE service men, middle-class America, poor, women etc. They want Wars, Halliburton contracts, Iran contra ammunition sales etc. Vary, very pathetic party of "no" to every damn thing.

    February 11, 2014 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  5. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Whatever happened to John McCain's 2008 "Country First"?
    -------------------------------------------------
    It never was Rudy.
    McCain gave us a sneak preview of the level of hipocrisy that Conservatives were willing to reach when he came up with that slogan.
    How dared he coin that slogan, "Country First", when he impaled us with the vitriol, divisiveness, and inbred hatred of that gold-digging, imbecilic strumpet known as Sarah Palin?
    We will be saddled with his so-called mistake for years to come.

    February 11, 2014 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  6. Lynda/Minnesota

    "The National Republican Senatorial Committee went up early Tuesday with a website titled "Where's Walsh-o" that's critical of the new senator. And American Crossroads, the pro-GOP independent super PAC co-founded by Karl Rove, plans to welcome Walsh into the Senate with an attack ad that's set to run back in Montana."

    I know. The GOP. Doom and gloom. Gloom and doom. Ad nauseum.

    Oh, btw: here we go again with Karl Rove being an pro GOP "independent" SuperPAC. This might be why so many new "independents" are such staunch Republicans. Any Independent who thinks Rove is "independent" would have to be confused.

    February 11, 2014 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  7. Rudy NYC

    DM4O wrote:

    "Whatever happened to John McCain's 2008 "Country First"?"

    It never was Rudy. McCain gave us a sneak preview of the level of hipocrisy that Conservatives were willing to reach when he came up with that slogan.

    How dare he coin that slogan, "Country First", when he impaled us with ... ... Sarah Palin?
    -----------------------------
    Oh, I don't know. I remember how McCain had taken the microphone away from a woman calling Obama a muslim. That was the "Country First", McCain back in 2008. You raise a good point, though. McCain was totally drowned out by Palin, which marked the birth of a ground roots movement that favored extending the Bush Tax Cuts.

    February 11, 2014 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  8. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Oh, I don't know. I remember how McCain had taken the microphone away from a woman calling Obama a muslim
    -------------------------------------------------
    Yes, I remember that too Rudy.
    I specifically remember feeling almost endebted to McCain and so grateful to him for doing the right thing.
    Can you imagine? And the reason I felt that way is because things were already picking up speed in regards to how THIS President was going to be treated if he won.
    And then somebody must've sent McCain a memo informing him that the way Sarah was rolling at her rallies, was the way that they expected him to roll.
    He was to be as disrespectful to candidate Obama as Sarah was being in her neck of the woods.
    Do you remember McCain referring to candidate Obama during that debate as THAT ONE?
    I wanted the earth to open up and swallow me whole I was so mortified.
    I won't EVER forget that.
    The prelude to "You lie!".
    And the rest, as they say, is history...

    February 11, 2014 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  9. Tony in Maine

    Under the leadership of Koch Industries, the GOP has become a pathetic shell of the party Lincoln helped found.

    February 11, 2014 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  10. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    If Karl Rove is attacking this man, he must be a great guy who deserves your vote!

    February 11, 2014 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  11. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Rudy NYC
    You raise a good point, though. McCain was totally drowned out by Palin, which marked the birth of a ground roots movement that favored extending the Bush Tax Cuts
    -------------------------------------------------
    I don't know about it being the birth of a movement that favored extending the Bush Tax Cuts Rudy.
    You've followed this mess longer than I have.
    But I do believe that it created/bought the only grassroots movements that conservatives can lay claim to: the Teabagging Birthers.

    February 11, 2014 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  12. Lynda/Minnesota

    "And American Crossroads, the pro-GOP independent super PAC co-founded by Karl Rove, plans to welcome Walsh into the Senate with an attack ad that's set to run back in Montana."

    Oh. Am I not allowed to mention that Karl Rove is not an "independent"? Or perhaps I am not allowed to suggest that the GOP might spend more of its time throwing in a positive message every now and again. Can't have the GOP be known simply for its ... well, those two words I can't use on the ticker. Hint: murky darkness.

    Too negative from me, but not from Karl and his super duper PAC, eh?

    February 11, 2014 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  13. Rudy NYC

    "I don't know about it being the birth of a movement that favored extending the Bush Tax Cuts Rudy.
    You've followed this mess longer than I have.
    But I do believe that it created/bought the only grassroots movements that conservatives can lay claim to: the Teabagging Birthers.
    -----------------------------–
    In 2008, the conservatives were organizing in support of extending the Bush Tax Cuts. It was a major issue because Obama and Democrats favored letting the cuts expire. People used to hold up signs at many McCain/Palin campaign stump stops that read "Taxed Enough Already". Obama's background was under scrutingy. He was "palling around with terrorists". He had been raised in a muslim country. All of which led to the questioning of where his birth took place. You know the rest.

    February 11, 2014 10:00 am at 10:00 am |