President Barack Obama squandered an opportunity to reach across the aisle and work with Republicans on the debt and deficit and instead was divisive and dishonest, former U.S. Sen. George LeMieux told Newsmax.TV.
LeMieux was referring to a speech Obama made last month that tore into GOP plans to cut the deficit. Obama called the plan, laid out by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., “deeply pessimistic” and said it would end “Medicare as we know it.”
“He had an opportunity to be big, to reach across the aisle and work with Republicans to solve the most pressing issue facing this country internally, I believe, since the Civil War, and he didn’t do that,” he said. “He was divisive, dishonest, and he demonized the Paul Ryan proposal.”
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LeMieux, who was appointed to serve out the term of Sen. Mel Martinez, R-Fla., has announced he will seek the GOP nomination to run against Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., in 2012. He said it was essential to make it clear to seniors that any changes in Medicare will not affect them.
“If you’re 55 or older, nothing is going to be changed,” he said. “But for those of us, like me, who are under that age, we’re going to have to make some changes or we are not going to have these programs in the future.”
He said the GOP must reach out to seniors and “talk to them” to deflect Democratic rhetoric.
“And that’s what I’m going in my campaign to return to the U.S. Senate in 2012 as I’m meeting every day with groups, and talking to them and arming them with the information. And if our people will get out and present the facts, the facts, as John Adams said, are stubborn things and we need to get those facts out because the facts will lead the right way and the right conclusions in the minds of voters.”
LeMieux said he does not look at the GOP field for the Senate seat, including Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos, as opponents but competitors. Nonetheless, he touted his own credentials for the seat.
“I’m the only major candidate in this race that has never voted for a tax increase and never requested an earmark,” he said. “And I’ve been in Washington, I’ve been there long enough to see the problem but not be part of the problem and I brought forth some real solutions some which were passed others which I’d like to get passed if I have the opportunity to go back.”
On other issues, LeMieux said:
- Newly elected Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., is doing a good job and taking the time to learn the job and understand what it means to be a U.S. senator.
- Gov. Rick Scott is focused on what is important, creating jobs, not doing a charm offensive to raise poll numbers.
- The country needs to do more oil drilling, build more nuclear power plants, and do more on alternative energy to make American energy independent.
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