Voters in Michigan are responding favorably to Rep. Pete Hoekstra’s “positive” campaign for governor in Michigan, while his major opponent for the Republican nomination is seeking to “trash” his opponents, Hoekstra says in an exclusive Newsmax interview.
Hoekstra also says he’d like to join President Barack Obama for a “beer summit” after Obama recently took a swipe at the congressman over his opposition to the stimulus plan.
Some polls have Hoekstra running neck and neck with Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox for the GOP nod. Asked how his campaign differs from those of Cox and other candidates, he tells Newsmax: “One thing that is a clear differentiator is, I believe in the people of Michigan.
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“I’m all about giving them more freedom, less solutions from government. Cut red tape. Cut bureaucracy. Cut spending and cut taxes. Give the people of Michigan freedom back and we’ll be amazed at what they can do to bring our economy back.
“The second thing that really separates me from I think all the other campaigns is the type of campaign we’re running. We’re running a grassroots campaign. It’s very, very positive. The attorney general yesterday launched another negative attack on my campaign. He appears to believe that the best way for him to get ahead is for him to trash the rest of the people in the race. It’s totally uncalled for and unnecessary and the people of Michigan haven’t been responding to it.
“But we’re finding great success. When we say that as governor I’m going to serve, I’m going to focus on the people of Michigan, people are responding.”
With Michigan suffering from high unemployment and a depressed economy, Hoekstra says he has a plan to improve conditions there.
“My plan is very simple,” he says.
“Streamline bureaucracy, cut government spending, reform perhaps the worst tax code in the country for business, and reduce our taxes. Make Michigan a magnet for capital investment. Make it easier to do business in Michigan and make it less expensive to do business, and I think we will be amazed at what the people of Michigan will be able to do.”
President Obama took a shot at Hoekstra during a July 14 event in Holland, Mich., subtly taunting the Republican - who was seated in the front row - for opposing the federal stimulus package but showing up at a groundbreaking ceremony funded by it.
"Some made the political calculation that it's better to obstruct than lend a hand,” Obama said. “They said no to the tax cuts, they said no to small business loans, they said no to clean energy projects. It doesn't stop them from coming to ribbon cuttings — but that's O.K."
Hoekstra was asked if he agrees with those who have called for an apology from the president.
“I don’t know if the president needs to apologize, but one of the articles I saw said maybe he ought to invite me over for a beer summit.
“I’d be more than open to going over to the White House, sitting on the back lawn and having a beer with the president, and just saying, hey, let bygones be bygones. Let’s move forward.”
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