A slew of Washington State stops by President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, former President Bill Clinton and today First Lady Michelle Obama are meant to help Sen. Patty Murray. “Her D.C. friends are coming to bail her out,” Dino Rossi says.
Rossi has D.C. friends of his own. Today, he and Sen. John McCain talked to reporters in separate conference calls organized by his campaign, which has been hitting Murray hard over the issue of earmarks.
There were technical difficulties not seen at the elaborate, stage-managed Murray rallies in Seattle and Tacoma, where Obama and Biden didn’t take questions from reporters.
First, another Rossi supporter, Sen. Tom Coburn, didn’t come onto the call as scheduled, prompting a frustrated expletive from someone on the line. I couldn’t tell for sure if it was McCain. Then, before the question-and-answer session ended, the Arizona senator was dropped from the call.
McCain talked tough about his fellow senator, Murray — tougher than the visiting Democrats have been in their mostly mild rebukes of Rossi.
“Sen. Murray has been one of the leaders in earmarking and pork barrel spending,” McCain said, “and it’s been an outrageous and disgraceful misuse of taxpayer dollars.”
Murray has become adept at steering money to Washington State, including through earmarks, or funding directed by Congressional appropriators like her to specific projects.
The practice of earmarking is corrupt, McCain charged. “That’s why we have former members of Congress residing in federal prison.”
He stopped short of calling Murray herself corrupt: “She engages in that corrupt practice,” he said. “Now whether she’s actually corrupt or not, I will let other people make (that) judgment.”