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Blunt, Carnahan make campaign appearances as attention turns to US Senate race

By Rachel Lippmann, St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis – Missouri Republican Roy Blunt says he shares his party's optimism about the 2010 elections.

Blunt was the guest Tuesday at the St. Louis Regional Chamber and Growth Association's public policy lunch. His likely challenger, Democratic Secretary of State Robin Carnahan will be the guest next month.

Blunt has been ahead in the polls since January, wiping out a slim early lead for Carnahan. The most recent survey showed him up by seven points. The two are competing to fill the seat currently held by Republican Kit Bond, who is retiring.

Blunt vowed to run a campaign on the issues, but told a friendly crowd at the luncheon that he expects Carnahan to run a campaign "on the little things."

"If they can get you on Election Day thinking you know, I think Roy Blunt often wears mismatching socks, they might win that fight," he said to laughter. "But if it's about tax policy, protecting the country, health care policy that would really make sense, energy policy that would make sense, I think I win that." He said the nation is having a "hot stove" moment; as people realize what Democratic control of the White House and Congress means, they want to change it quickly, the same way someone who touches a hot stove pulls his or her hand back immediately.

Carnahan used an appearance at a farm near Springfield to question Blunt's fiscal conservatism. Blunt, she reminded a crowd of about 30, was a member of the House leadership team that passed federal budgets with escalating deficits.

"Congressman Blunt can look pretty good and sound pretty good when he puts on his plaid shirt and comes back home, and tells us he's a fiscal conservative who wants to rein in spending," she said. "The problem is, of course, his 14 year record in Congress tells a very different story." She also criticized Blunt's record of earmarks.

The appearance was one of three Tuesday on Carnahan's "Stop the Bull" tour. Blunt did not respond directly to her criticism in St. Louis, but his campaign has launched a Web site featuring Carnahan as the super hero "Rubber Stamp Robin" who will vote as instructed by Democratic leadership.

(Chasity Mays of KSMU contributed to this report)


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