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Blunt the brunt of new ad attacking his votes on energy issues

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 27, 2009 - U.S. Rep. Roy Blunt, R-Strafford and a candidate for the U.S. Senate, is complaining about a new TV attack ad produced by several national groups upset over his energy-related votes.

The ad began running Tuesday in Blunt's southwest Missouri congressional district. The groups who produced and paid for the campaigns are VoteVets.org, the League of Conservation Voters and America’s Building Trades Unions.

A spokesman for the League of Conservation Voters said today that Blunt is among three members of the U.S. House targeted. The other two are Reps. John Barrow (D-Ga.) and Mike Ross (D-Ark.).

All three are members of the House Energy & Commerce Committee, and cast votes last week against the American Clean Energy & Security Act (H.R. 2454). The measure was still approved by the panel, and now heads for a floor vote.

The League says, "The legislation was voted out of the committee by a bipartisan group of 33 House members. Additionally, the bill has received unprecedented support from a broad range of corporations, utilities, labor unions, veterans, environmentalists and sportsmen, including Duke Energy, American Electric Power, GE, Johnson & Johnson and the AFL-CIO."

“Billions in Middle East oil profits have gone to the same terrorists we’re fighting, and it makes no sense from a military or national security standpoint,” said VoteVets.org. chairman Jon Soltz in a statement. “By investing in new, clean energy sources we can cut our dependence on foreign oil – yet Representatives Barrow, Blunt and Ross have voted against making the United States energy independent.”

Blunt campaign spokesman Rich Chrismer asserted that the groups are "liberal Washington supporters'' of the only announced Missouri Democrat for the U.S. Senate in 2010, Secretary of State Robin Carnahan.

The ad, said Chrismer "is false and misleading to voters about the Carnahan-backed plan to raise every Missouri family's bill for electricity with a backdoor energy
tax called 'cap and trade.'..

"The ad says wrongly that Roy opposes things that he supports,'' Chrismer continued. "Roy Blunt says 'yes' to cleaner, more affordable American energy and more production here at home, and 'yes' to more renewables and more conservation, but 'no' to Robin Carnahan's big new energy tax that could increase Missourians' household electric bills by 40 percent by 2015. Roy Blunt opposes this backdoor energy tax, and even offered amendments to suspend it if rates were to increase by 10 or 20 percent, in addition to suspending the tax if rates increased by 100 percent. The Democrats were nearly unanimously opposed to these amendments...."

Carnahan previously has said she has no involvement in any anti-Blunt TV ad campaigns, and a spokesman reaffirmed that again today. This is the second attack ad against Blunt that the League of Conservation Voters and its allies have launched in recent months.

A League spokesman said today that the ad campaign had nothing to do with Carnahan or the Senate contest, and everything to do with Blunt's stances on energy issues. "This ad is solely based on the legislation,'' the spokesman said.

A spokesman for Carnahan said, "On energy legislation, Robin is hopeful that the Congress will get this finished and get it right this year. She hopes they can work together to find a commonsense solution to promote alternative energy and help decrease dependence on foreign oil, create jobs, and curb pollution - without sticking consumers with the bill. "

Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.

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