Daniel Coats on Principles & Values
Republican Jr Senator (IN)
"I never left Indiana," Ellsworth, a former county sheriff from Evansville, said in contrast. The critique irritated Coats, who had brushed off Ellsworth's criticisms for most of the evening but now stood on stage shaking his head. "You can shake your head all day long," Ellsworth said. "You said it."
"Brad," Coats said, sounding exasperated, "it was a second home."
Coats said voters are unhappy with federal government, and he accuses Ellsworth of being lockstep with his party leaders. "Clearly, a lot of Hoosiers are not happy with what's come out of Washington these last two years. 90% of what's come out has been supported by my opponent," Coats said. "There's a lot of enthusiasm for change in Washington."
Ellsworth said Coats' claim that he has voted in line with Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi 90% of the time is misleading He said those votes could include anything from naming a post office to honoring a sports team. "I have one of the most independent voting records in Congress, and I had a more conservative voting record than four Republicans," Ellsworth said.
Coats battled back, saying that it was his law firm--not him personally--who represented clients on those issues. He pointed instead at Ellsworth, saying that the Democrat's votes for the bailout, health care law and stimulus bill put the country in almost insurmountable debt. "I can understand that someone who went to Washington talking like a conservative here at home--but followed the agenda of Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama nearly 90% of the time--would not want to come home and talk about that," Coats said.
Coats appeared to claim he accepted the lobbying job only after leaving office. "I said, 'Under the laws, I'm not able to negotiate anything.' In fact, I took a month off after I left because I didn't even want t think about what was next," Coats said.
What's clear is that on Oct. 17, 1998, press reported that the firm was "quite intrigued by Coats." Coats' Senate office announced that the deal was done on Dec. 3. On Jan. 3, Coats' Senate term ended. In Feb. 1999, Coats began working for the firm, earning a salary over $400,000.
Coats' campaign said the former senator simply misspoke. By "after I left," the campaign says he meant after Oct. 21, when the Senate adjourned and Coats was through casting votes.
The idea had been germinating well before Nixon offered his advice. Gingrich had spent four years seeing his fellow Republicans in the House react instead of act. Newt reached out first to Rep. Vin Weber of Minnesota. Together they recruited Robert Walker of Pennsylvania, Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, Dan Coats of Indiana, Connie Mack of Florida, Joe Barton of Texas, and Dan Lundgren and Duncan Hunter of California. The group met weekly and planned.
"Trent Lott was the godfather," Gingrich recalls. "He hosted a weekly luncheon. Dick Cheney came. I thought Cheney or Lott would be the Republican leader and I'd be the senior planner."
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