McCain Absent for Vote on Woodstock Earmark
The Arizona senator's presidential campaign has been making political hay over earmark, hammering Clinton for cosponsoring an effort to celebrate one of the crowning events of the 1960s counter-culture.
McCain, after hailing the Senate's Oct. 18 vote to kill the earmark during last Sunday night's GOP presidential debate, today launched an ad titled "Woodstock," using the earmark as a way to attack Clinton's "priorities."
Here's the script for the ad:
"It was a cultural event that defined a generation. Worthy of fond memories. But worthy of a million of your tax dollars to build a museum? $ 1 million tax dollars for a Woodstock museum? Hillary Clinton thinks so. John McCain disagrees.
"He's been cutting wasteful spending for more than 20 years. That's why Citizens Against Government Waste calls John McCain a Taxpayer Hero. It's a matter of priorities. John McCain says if you want to relive Woodstock ... buy the record."
It's worth noting that McCain was not the "taxpayer hero" for fiscal conservatives; that distinction, on this issue, belongs to Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), who offered the amendment to kill the Woodstock money.
Nor did McCain consider it enough of a priority to be on hand on the 18th to cast a vote against the earmark. The money for the Woodstock museum fell through when 52 senators opposed it, including five Democrats; only 42 votes were cast for earmark.
Even though he wasn't on hand for the vote, McCain did manage to issue a statement that day condemning the earmark, calling it "a shining example of what's wrong with Washington on pork-barrel, out-of-control spending."
This particular vote was also another shining example of how the senators-turned-presidential contenders have largely abandoned the chamber this fall.
In the past week, for example, McCain missed 14 out of 16 votes held in the chamber, a few of which were offered by conservative colleagues trying to strip earmarks from the federal spending bills.
For the year, McCain has missed 52 percent of all Senate roll calls, the most of any of the presidential candidates. Others are also missing a soaring number of votes. While Clinton was on hand to vote in favor of the Woodstock money, she's now missed more than 16 percent of all votes this year. For the month of October, Clinton has been on hand for just six of the 38 votes held in the Senate.
McCain's campaign said there was nothing wrong with missing the vote on Woodstock, since there was never "any doubt" how he would have voted. "John McCain has spent his entire congressional career crusading against wasteful, pork barrel spending. His record speaks for itself," campaign spokeswoman Jill Hazelbaker told Capitol Briefing.
Hazelbaker also noted that McCain cancelled events in New Hampshire this week to fly back to Washington for the vote on the judicial nomination of Leslie Southwick, who was confirmed after a close vote killed off a Democratic filibuster.
McCain's policy is, she said, "to be present when his vote would affect the outcome of the legislation."
October 26, 2007; 6:59 PM ET
Categories: Purse Strings , Senate
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