Monday, February 04, 2008

"I Offer A Fresh Perspective"

U.S. Representative Kenny Hulshof introduced himself to Springfield Republicans Monday as a bipartisan lawmaker who could cut through the political gridlock in Jefferson City.

Campaigning the day before Super Tuesday, Hulshof and his campaign staff must've also believed they could cut into the crowded media cycle. That may not work as well. This is inside baseball, but I'm baffled that Hulshof would do his media lap the day before the biggest national presidential primary in our history. He didn't make it into any KY3 newscast due to time constraints (that's why we have the blog), and a prominent place in Tuesday newspapers will be tough. On a regular day he would have gotten considerable time in every KY3 newscast. Not the day before Super Tuesday. (I note all this not out of disrespect, but because I wanted time to cover his visit.)

"I'd stay away from this entire week," said one local political operative, equally stunned at Hulshof's timing.

Still, Hulshof is now up and running -- and blog readers are rewarded now with highlights of what he said.

"I think my record is based upon my ability to work across the aisle and build consensus. I think unfortunately we see in Jefferson City, we see a miniature version of Washington," Hulshof said.

Hulshof steered away from any direct criticism of Governor Matt Blunt, but his ambiguous comments signaled he doesn't agree with everything the current Governor has done.

"I look back at what Governor Blunt inherited though. I look at the jobs that were being lost to other states, 70,000 jobs . . . that we were leading the nation in job loss. That's been turned around," Hulshof said.

"I'm not running for or against anyone," Hulshof said, adding that he did not agree with all of the decisions made by leadership in Jefferson City.

Hulshof also seemed to take a thinly veiled shot at all three of his rivals, Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder, State Treasurer Sarah Steelman and Attorney General Jay Nixon. "Those who have spent an inordinate amount of time, decades in Jefferson City, it's difficult to be an agent of change," Hulshof said. "I offer a fresh perspective."

On a question about the Medicaid cuts, Hulshof did not rule out future changes. He said he would monitor the changes in healthcare and then "make adjustments accordingly." "Changes that have been made in the past, we've got to continue to look at," Hulshof said.

Hulshof touted his Missouri roots and upbringing. He said he has the "flame, passion and fire" to lead the state. "I think it's time to come home," he said. "I am a product of the Missouri dream."

One comment though, did seem to surprise. Hulshof suggested that the departure of Gov. Blunt from the race meaned that Missourians would be treated to a more positive campaign about ideas and issues. "I think we were all bracing for a negative campaign with not a lot of positive vision, but a lot of finger-pointing. That has changed," Hulshof said.

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