September 19th, 2010
10:25 AM ET
11 years ago

Murkowski: I was victim of 'smear' campaign

(CNN) – Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski is defending her choice to mount a write-in campaign in the wake of her defeat to a Tea Party-backed candidate, telling CNN’s Candy Crowley she was the victim of a “smear” campaign.

“What happened in my particular race, you had the Tea Party Express, this California-based group, come in at the last minute in a campaign, run a mudslinging, smear - just a terrible, terrible - campaign with lies and fabrications and mischaracterizations,” Murkowski told CNN’s Candy Crowley in an exclusive interview. “They came in, dumped $600,000 into a small market here in Alaska, and they absolutely clearly influenced the outcome.”

Murkowski lost her bid to political novice and Alaska attorney Joe Miller late last month in an upset that stunned national Republicans. But party leaders have since said they are supporting Miller, and have urged Murkowski not to mount a write-in bid. Murkowski herself resigned from her leadership post last week ahead of the write-in decision.

Speaking on CNN, the Alaska Republican said she is not concerned with making the Republican leadership happy.

“I am listening to my constituents. That's what it's all about,” she said. “It's not about trying to make the Republican Party happy … it's trying to respond to the people of the state of Alaska. I'm going to give them a choice.”

Since her announcement of a write-in bid Friday, Murkowski has faced fire from several members of her own party, including Sen. Jim DeMint, who called her a “hypocrite,” and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who said she was “cheating.”

“It's trying to respond to the people of the state of Alaska,” Murkowski told CNN in response. “I'm going to give them a choice. And if the people on November 2 say, we don't like her, that's fine. But that's part of what we're doing here. That's part of the process as well.”

Murkowski also suggested that DeMint – who has repeatedly supported Tea Party-backed candidates over establishment picks this election cycle – may be waging a civil war within the GOP.

“I think he has made people uncomfortable. I think that he has kind of rattled the cages, whether it advances to a full-on civil war, I don't know. What I’m looking at right now is what's going on in my state. I'm responding to that. And quite honestly, what's happening within the conference is - I’m not focused on that. I'm focused on what's going on here back home,” she said.

Filed under: Lisa Murkowski
soundoff (152 Responses)
  1. Jan

    It is amazing that these people are blind with hate that they don't realize that they are the ones destroying America.

    I would take Obamacare any day as President of the United States he has access to the best health care.

    Under his plan our brave men and women who sacrifice everything are getting the care they need.

    Do the Patriotic R party want to take that away?

    September 19, 2010 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  2. Brian

    The Tea Party worrie me! I see this movement as a far-right organization, with roots not totally dis-similar from the Nazi party of old. What's next....attaching churches of those you don't agree with!

    September 19, 2010 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  3. fatima

    We are in big trouble if O'Donnell gets into power. I hope she loses big.

    September 19, 2010 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  4. Buster

    Another progressive Republican.......The COMMON SENSE PARTY, the Tea Party, will be the only hope this nation has to stay away from socialism. When will the progressives stop asking for handouts from the government?

    September 19, 2010 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  5. jim

    She's been listening to the president, blame everone except yourself.

    September 19, 2010 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  6. Dan in FL

    The talking point that keeps getting repeated is, "the people have spoken'" In reality, only the individuals who voted in the Republican primary have spoken. If Senator Murkowski believes she can appeal to a broad, moderate constituency in November, then the more power to her. We need more elected officials in Washington who are not beholden to the extremes of our two largest political parties.

    September 19, 2010 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  7. BeanerECMO

    The smear was telling people what she did, and how she operated for herself. Additional evidence of her self-indulgence is her write-in effort.

    September 19, 2010 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  8. Snow

    The liberals seem to have a soft spot for this woman which just happens to match the soft spot in their heads. She was not a conservative but rather a moderate which is a demorat light. Next election maybe we can send snow and collins from Maine back home. The liberals sure are scared of the Tea Party, they made fun of them as astroturf like botox pelosi but now the realization of what they were mocking is now the tidal wave coming to clear them out. Oh I love it because the liberals hate it, so it must be right.

    September 19, 2010 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  9. Money from NY

    Crying whining sore losert!!! Now I'm sending money to her opponent just to spite her!

    September 19, 2010 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  10. John

    I call on all republicans who contributed to her campaign to ask for their money back! She was FIRED!

    September 19, 2010 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  11. Dave

    Just another example of the need for term limits. Even when these politicians get voted out they can't give it up.

    September 19, 2010 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  12. jeff

    Right on, tea party!

    First we go after the lefties in the GOP

    Then we go after the Democrats

    Then we go after the moral degenerates

    Then we go after the mental defectives

    Then we go after the un-Americans

    Then we come to get ... you

    September 19, 2010 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  13. Givemeabreak

    Lisa Murkowski is part of a political dynasty in Alaska. If she and her father, who was ousted by Sarah Palin for Governor, truly cared about their constituents, they wouldn't have lost those elections and primaries. So, Lisa, what you are saying is that the people of Alaska can't think for themselves and unknowingly voted for your opponent? Give me a break. The establishment is on the ropes.

    September 19, 2010 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  14. Richard

    Cut me a break! You lost, fair and square, now get the hell off the stage, and do it NOW! This is the way politics are, and you know it. You have played the game long enough to know that it can get down and dirty. At the end of the day, it does not matter. When you lose, you lose. Now, what makes your write-in campaign ESPECIALLY scummy, Ms. Murkowski, is you know you have a snow-ball's chance in Hell of actually winning, but you do stand a fairly good chance at hosing the true primary winner, Mr. Miller. Am I right? And you absolutely KNOW this, and this makes YOU a scumbag, sore loser. Rather than accept defeat graciously, you would rather hurt the Republican party and the citizens of the state of Alaska, and hand the November election over to the Dems. What an ego! You exemplify everything that is wrong with Washington and it's professional, life-long, entrenched politicians.

    September 19, 2010 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  15. Christopher

    A conservative smearing someone in a political campaign??? Why, I've never heard of such a thing.

    September 19, 2010 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  16. Bill

    That is what the tea party people do EVERYWHERE, Senator. Why do you denounce them only after they savaged you? Where were you a few months ago?

    The Republican Party better watch out. They have the proverbial tiger by the tail with these tea party extremists.

    September 19, 2010 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  17. Mark

    Regardless of what party they belong to, the Washington insiders cannot bare to leave!!

    September 19, 2010 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  18. Get over it, Lisa

    Your pappy smeared Palin back then . . . to get YOU into the Senate . . . so what's YOUR beef?

    Have some dignity, honor the voters' choice, and leave already!

    And then go to MD and stay with Marie - what a pair you'll make!

    September 19, 2010 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  19. 'Bama Grandma

    Fear and Smear is the Rethug mantra, I find it hard to believe Victim Murkowski hasn't played the same game in her political tenure.

    September 19, 2010 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  20. Former Republican - Now Independent

    Gee, who'd a thunk that Tea Partiers would use such smear tactics on a Republican? How ghastly!!!

    C'mon Lisa, from whom did they learn such things? Remember, as ye sow, so shall ye reap.

    Perhaps these people should try READING the bible instead of just thumping it and then opening their copies of the WSJ.

    September 19, 2010 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  21. ConstitutionalPatriot

    In answer to the fear mongering regarding the tea party. Are balanced budgets, anti-war policies, noninterventionist foreign policy, and respect for the constitution really radical ideas? Give me a break, radical is a congress spending the unborn into debt, passing several thousand page bill that have not been read, ignoring the Constitution and stepping on or erasing our freedoms at will with no judicial or amendment process. That is radical! You can paint it as whatever you like, but the tea party is not the problem, but rather a large part of the solution. It is the peaceful option, restoration of the republic at the ballot box. To those who hate these patriots you are no different than the Tories who were too cowardly to fight for freedom during our revolution. What do you want? To squash these peoples right to dissent and shut them up only assures violent revolution. The nanny staters will become irrelevant, change is coming, and it is good. Understand it before you oppose it!

    September 19, 2010 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  22. alex

    Republicans are sneaky liars. Dont trust them at all

    September 19, 2010 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  23. denise

    The voters are prob like me and want all sitting members of both houses out. You're suppose to be looking out for what is best for the country and NOT the Party. So bulid that bridge and get over lost.

    September 19, 2010 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  24. jakinak

    What do you know? The electoral process still works...

    September 19, 2010 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  25. will

    I remember you stopping legislation to more closely regulate Oil Rigs after Horizon. You said it would hurt the mom and pop owned oil rigs. What? How many of those exist? The GOP created a monster by fanning the racist driven flames of the well.... racist that just can't get over potus being black. "Take back our country?" from what? You mean you want to return to Runaway spending? Unfunded tax cuts? Outrageous medical cost? Lax enviromental regs? Or from a black Potus? Get real the GOP has been eaten and now cowers before race driven so called populist. Maybe we need a Dem type Limbaugh figure that has the nerve to say"The choice is clear vote for a Dem or a racist. The degeration of the gop is truly remarkable. I can't think of any group that me or my family trust less including the proverbial used car salesman.

    September 19, 2010 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
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