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SEIU ad contradicts Obama on Blanche Lincoln

The SEIU and others on the left have vowed open war on Dems who didn't fully back core progressive priorities on health reform, putting them on the wrong side of the White House and the Dem establishment, and here's the latest:

The SEIU is going up with an ad on black radio in Arkansas that directly contradicts President Obama's claims about Blanche Lincoln on health care and Wall Street reform.

The SEIU, of course, is backing Lincoln's primary foe, Lieutenant Governor Bill Halter, and a labor official sends over audio of the spot, which I'll post shortly. The script features a number of ordinary Arkansans in succession:

"I'm a strong supporter of President Obama."

"But I'm voting for Bill Halter for Senate."

"I love President Obama. But I can't vote for Blanche Lincoln again."

"She voted to bail out Wall Street."

"Senator Lincoln says she supported health reform."

"But we all know she refused to take on the big insurance companies."

And so on. The spot flies in the face of Obama's recent claims that Lincoln is "leading the fight to hold Wall Street accountable" and that she "took on big insurance companies by voting to end discrimination against Arkansans with preexisting conditions." As Chris Good notes, SEIU is one of Obama's most powerful backers, and now the union's support for Halter has them on opposite sides.

It's a reminder that while threats to primary unreliable Dems have mostly fizzled, the Arkansas race is a huge exception, with labor and the left staking a massive amount on knocking off Lincoln, which would be a big, prestige-enhancing victory, both symbolic and real. Audio soon.

UPDATE, 2:21 p.m.: I was unable to post the audio for technical reasons, but you can listen to it right here.

By Greg Sargent  |  May 6, 2010; 9:40 AM ET
Categories:  2010 elections , Financial reform , Health reform , Senate Dems  
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Next: Poll deflates "Obama's Katrina" meme


Since this is a primary in what is not a majority-Democratic state, turnout is going to be crucial. Activist Dems will break Halter's way if Lincoln's record has anything to do with it. But her push with the DNC's help is going to make a difference.

But since AR has open primaries, it's possible there may be other folks voting for her: from the center she looks pretty good, and people on the right might vote for her to keep Halter out of the general.

Posted by: BGinCHI | May 6, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Frankly, I thought it was odd that Obama was making nice noises about Blanche and HCR. All she really did was try to play the role of "Rock in the Road."

Posted by: suekzoo1 | May 6, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Lincoln must have really ticked them off.

On an unrelated note, if anything else, this failed attack in times square has brought close to home our efforts to rid the Waziristan region of extremists willing to fight to the very end. Up until now, an argument has been they are isolated out there and pose no threat to us. If the reports are true and the failed bomber did receive his training and inspiration from people from that region, then they are most definitely a threat to us.

The reason why he became radicalized is another discussion.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | May 6, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

I sort of like it when Dems in the trenches push back on Dem establishment. It works in this case especially because Lincoln proved to be such an opponent of real HCR. Everyone likes to pretend that the push for a public option was a radical progressive idea when all the polling suggested otherwise. I really hope Halter pulls this one off. It doesn't happen very often and would really energize those of us who fight for more progressive candidates.

Posted by: lmsinca | May 6, 2010 10:54 AM | Report abuse

This is fantastic. I did a diary yesterday on dkos about the ad by Obama:

Got 1500 comments. The majority were upset with Obama and support Halter.

Glad to see the SEIU step up.

Posted by: TomP4 | May 6, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Mike, I heard somewhere yesterday that if the Pakistani Taliban has moved from attacking Afghanistan into the realm of attacking other foreign countries, they are indeed a threat to us. A lot of people ridicule the crudeness of his bombing skills but if he is indeed connected to training camps in Waziristan then we do have a problem.

Also I read your link yesterday re the BP oil spill, as a worst case scenario it was truly frightening. Let's hope things aren't as bad as he suggests. I know the dome has arrived in the Gulf, now they have to lower is over the leak. What a mess.

Posted by: lmsinca | May 6, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Another OT:

Even McDonnell is realizing "Cooch" is a raving maniac and won't even begin to try and justify his witch hunt of the UVA climatologist.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | May 6, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

I am with the SEIU on this one and completely opposed to O. I understand his pragmatism but sometimes principle has to matter.

It would have been one thing for Lincoln to not support real HCR but she was worse...she was with other bluedogs who threatened to filibuster with the R's...she not only didn't support the D agenda...she was BLOCKING IT. Blanche is the typical "good ole girl" pol...I hope she get's her butt kicked by Halter!!!
And I hope O takes notice that he is Prez and not King of the Dems, it's time to stop ignoring the base completely. Yes he always has the "who else you gonna vote for card" but P.O. even though popular support was solidly for it...more muddled involvement in an unwinnable war in Afghanistan, and suspicions of weakening the progressive Sens attempts at a very strong financial reform bill.
I get it, he is a centrist not a progressive, but at some point progressives might cast about for an alternative vision, especially on the P.O. which had STRONG public support and died only because of the W.H.

Posted by: rukidding7 | May 6, 2010 11:31 AM | Report abuse

"I understand his pragmatism but sometimes principle has to matter."

Yeah....all things in moderation. And, I am with the SEIU on this, too. I wish Obama and Bill Clinton would back off a bit, and let nature take its course.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | May 6, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Anyone have any poll numbers for the AR Senate race?

Nate Silver has it a pretty safe GOP victory, but I assume that's with Lincoln winning the primary.

Posted by: BGinCHI | May 6, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

she not only didn't support the D agenda...she was BLOCKING IT.

This is the key. Voting against the substantive bill is one thing. While I think that was the wrong bill on HCR, I respect her need to vote her conscience and represent her state.

Voting or threatening to oppose her own leadership on PROCEDURAL VOTES, is simply unforgivable.

Any dem that threatened to or voted with the repiglicans to throw sand in the gears of govt by not allowing votes to proceed etc. do not deserve the support of national democrats, period.

How many times in the past 30 years have republicans voted against their leadership on a procedural vote? 0 times. Why can't the dems get the same kind of respect for its leadership?

Posted by: srw3 | May 6, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse

I think the SEIU is aware that, as an incumbent, Obama has to support Lincoln, regardless if he "wants" to or not.

That is why you are seeing Halter ad praising Obama.

Posted by: Quick2822 | May 6, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse


Two things on the oil spill:

Rachel Maddow had a most excellent report last night on the aftermath of Exxon Valdez spill of 21 years later. It's a very powerful statement on exactly how the "we'll clean it up" BS is just that. There is no such thing. Here's a link to the segment:

Second, Vote Vets is running some pretty potent ads lately linking Iran, the Middle East wars and our need to get off oil. You can watch them here, if you haven't seen them on the teevee:

Posted by: suekzoo1 | May 6, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Just curious.

Where does the SEIU stand on the recent Arizona re-establishment of the 287G law Napolitano pulled from the when singling the State to fall to Mexico?

Last night the Mexican Army Commander Al Sharpton marched with jubilant celebrations of Mexico's May 5 conquer of the 48th State and endorsed over take of it by Mexico . They followed Sharpton celebrating (who was clearly too stupid to know what the foreign language was saying behind him) Arizona's fall from the 50 State Union, by chanting " Where a Mexican is , Mexico is" and "YES WE CAN".

The La RAZA is calling loudly for all repeal of the Federal 287G law still in place in the 49 other States so that the Foreign National invasion can have free Reign to consume the other 49 States.

Obama formally presented the President of Mexico the 'once the 48th State's' Basketball team as a token of good will and surrender to Mexico by renaming the Phoenix Suns the LOS SUNS.

Arizona now = Iran
according to LaRaza , calling for Americans to turn on the 48th State and letting it fall quietly.

Meatime the Immigration officials are still rushing to place citizen stamps on Arabs as the US Military basks in their twilight in the "Valley of dead Empires"

Is this something that SEIU supports or is against, since current SEIU Arizona will be displaced by Mexicans overtaking their US Citizen jobs.

Posted by: dottydo | May 6, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Poll deflates meme that Gulf spill is Obama's Katrina:

Posted by: Greg Sargent | May 6, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

dottydo, congrats: stupidest comment of the day so far! Keep the xenophobia coming! And maybe turn down your radio: I can hear it from here.

Posted by: BGinCHI | May 6, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse


dottydo: Your post is nativist claptrap of the worst kind.

"surrender to Mexico by renaming the Phoenix Suns the LOS SUNS"

The name on the shirts of a bunch of tall millionaires is tantamount to surrendering to Mexico. Really??? Really??? BTW Obama had 0 to do with the jerseys.

"Meatime the Immigration officials are still rushing to place citizen stamps on Arabs as the US Military basks in their twilight in the "Valley of dead Empires""

This is outright false. In fact, the US has taken fewer Iraqi and Afghani refugees per capita than almost all other western democracies.

Whether the US military will succeed in Afghanistan is a separate issue. I personally don't think that occupying Afghanistan is a smart thing to do, but it doesn't reflect badly on our military, performance there. Its the policy that is flawed not those who carry it out.

Posted by: srw3 | May 6, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Dems can win in AR with solid support behind a candidate that also appeals to moderates and independants. That will never happen with a divisive primary fight. History tells you that core supporters of the losing contender stay home after campaign of the kind that is erupting right now. I predict a solid win for the Repubs.

Posted by: larbo | May 6, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

larbo:I predict a solid win for the Repubs.

Exactly how is this different from when Lincoln didn't have a primary opponent? Polls showed her losing badly to the possible republican candidates before Halter got into the race. At least a primary gets the base fired up and provides a contrast between the two parties. When given the choice between a real republican and a republican lite such as Lincoln, people will vote for the real thing most of the time.

Politicians that threaten to vote or vote against their own leadership ON PROCEDURAL VOTES THAT STALL LEGISLATION don't deserve the support of the party when election time comes around. The sooner the dem congresscritters understand this the better.

Again, when was the last time a republican voted to filibuster the republican leadership when the repulicans actually controlled the senate?

Posted by: srw3 | May 6, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Lincoln is going to lose the general for all the reasons srw gives. And rightly so.

Therefore a primary has all kinds of utility, especially as a long-term strategy to GET BETTER DEMS!

Posted by: BGinCHI | May 6, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

I'm glad you guys agree with me that the Repubs will win. I agree that it is a good idea for the Dems to use the primary as a tool for the future. Both sides need the best candidates thay can muster.

Posted by: larbo | May 6, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

With so many states going belly up due to public sector union pensions, Big Labor's endorsement of her opponent could be just what Lincoln needs.

Posted by: millionea81 | May 6, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

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