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Sen. Russ Feingold, in a close race, portrays himself as outsider

By Shailagh Murray
Add a new Democrat to the list of vulnerable incumbents: Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.).

As Republicans grow increasingly hopeful about knocking off the liberal lawmaker, Feingold released the first radio ad of his reelection campaign Tuesday, portraying himself as the same scrappy insurgent Wisconsin voters elected 18 years ago.

For months, political operatives have wondered whether Feingold would escape the wrath of an angry 2010 electorate that seems bent on running establishment figures out of office. He still breaks from his party with irritating regularity, most recently by opposing a financial regulatory overhaul bill he deemed insufficiently tough.

Yet after three Senate terms, Feingold hardly fits the outsider bill, and that may be sinking in back home.

Feingold's ad, entitled "Penny Pincher," reminds voters of his roots as a common-sense reformer. It portrays the senator as an "independent voice" who opposed the 2008 Wall Street bailout and has fought to eliminate automatic congressional pay raises. "In Wisconsin, we don't spend money we don't have," Feingold says in the ad.

A news release announcing the ad cites kudos from conservative groups that Feingold has earned over the years for seeking to ban earmarks and voting against pork-laden bills.

But the National Republican Senatorial Committee called the Feingold ad "desperate and misleading," noting that the senator also supported the health-care bill and the economic stimulus package, both among the most costly legislative initiatives Congress has approved in recent years.

"This November, Wisconsinites will hold Feingold accountable for his disastrous economic record when they elect a fiscally responsible Republican to the U.S. Senate," said Chris Bond, NRSC spokesman, in a statement.

This post has been updated since it was first published.

By Shailagh Murray  |  July 6, 2010; 7:30 PM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency  
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Comments

He is an honorable man who consistantly stands up for the small guy and looks to the constitution for the freedoms and responsibilities we have. He is a liberal, but takes far less money from corporate hacks than virtually any senator and always votes his conscience.

Posted by: cadam72 | July 12, 2010 4:43 PM | Report abuse

If you consider eliminating the bills were passed during the Obama administration "fiscal responsibility," then yes, Ron Johnson is for it. However, if you consider lowering the debt even though you'll go against party lines "fiscal responsibility," then I doubt that. Ron Johnson seems to have short-term goals; Once he meet his goals (eliminating Obamacare), he'll have no clue what to do.

On another note, did Ron Johnson won the Republican nominee yet? Wasn't it a few years back that Russ Darrow ran (and was a favorite to win) but someone named Tim Michels won the Republican nominee?

Finally, I believe the Tea Party will be mad if he tries to end Socialist Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

Posted by: diasn445 | July 11, 2010 12:21 AM | Report abuse

Russ Feingold is only half as bad as Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. However, his comment that we should not spend money we don't have pays lip service to fiscal responsibility. He voted in lock step for Obama care and the Porkulous bill. He only becomes a "Maverick" when there enough other Democrat votes that his is not needed. He is a liberal and his voting record shows it. Time to retire Russ. We have had enough song and dance and not enough fiscal leadership.

Ron Johnson actually would pursue fiscal responsibility.

Posted by: 1951dewey | July 8, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Russ Feingold is only half as bad as Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. However, his comment that we should not spend money we don't have pays lip service to fiscal responsibility. He voted in lock step for Obama care and the Porkulous bill. He only becomes a "Maverick" when there enough other Democrat votes that his is not needed. He is a liberal and his voting record shows it. Time to retire Russ. We have had enough song and dance and not enough fiscal leadership.

Ron Johnson actually would pursue fiscal responsibility.

Posted by: 1951dewey | July 8, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Feingold is as much of an outsider as is Barney Prank and Chris Dudd! Time for him to go!

Posted by: dmax1 | July 8, 2010 8:33 AM | Report abuse

"Scott Brown won the election by about seven points."

Scott Brown is going to one of the few two year senators.

See ya in November republicans.

Posted by: knjincvc | July 7, 2010 8:46 PM | Report abuse

If Fiengold actually did some work at his job maybe some people might vote for him. This guy has never answered any of the e mails that I sent to him and there were a lot of them!. He must have been to busy?

Posted by: randykree | July 7, 2010 7:16 PM | Report abuse

Holy cow! ( yes I'm from the great state of Wisconsin) if Feingolds not an outsider who is!? Was Bill Proxmire an "insider"? Feingold is never afraid to vote against his party. So perhaps someone should define the term "outsider" for me. Is it someone who has no experience in politics? Has never been to Washington? What does it really mean to vote out the insiders? Does that mean start over in all forms of government with people who have no experience? Someone who won't take any money from anyone? A free thinking ,courageous, fiscal conservative Democrat. A real rarity these days. We need more of this type of politician. I don't care if they're a Democrat or Republican. I vote for the best candidate, not along some silly party line.

Posted by: bluecollarbluejeans | July 7, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

I live in Wisconsin. People are sounding much redder here than ever before.

Russ and any other democrat or republican who has "served" that long should go, 18 years of theft and ineptitude is too long.

Posted by: deadmanwalking | July 6, 2010 9:52 PM | Report abuse

His opponent opposes Social Security and wants to abolish the IRS. Meet the new, ridiculous face of the GOP.

Posted by: jeffwacker | July 6, 2010 9:35 PM | Report abuse


Feingold has become just another Obama hand puppet. If you like Obama, vote for Feingold. If you love your country, vote for someone else.

Posted by: JCM-51 | July 6, 2010 8:36 PM | Report abuse


Three-term leftist establishment hack Feingold portrays himself as an "outsider". Hilarious.

Posted by: screwjob17 | July 6, 2010 7:23 PM | Report abuse


On the eve of the Scott Brown - Marsha Coakley senate election in Massachusetts, WaPo hacks also published an article calling the race "a dead heat". They also referenced a Daily Kos poll calling it "a tie" despite all the other polls showing a seven to nine point lead for Brown. Of course, WaPo omitted mentioning the names of those polls.

Scott Brown won the election by about seven points.

Posted by: screwjob17 | July 6, 2010 7:20 PM | Report abuse

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