Barth vs. Capito debate: Anne made us proud

Anne Barth made her supporters proud at the debate tonight with Bush Republican Rep. Shelley Moore Capito.

For those of us who’ve seen Capito in debates before, it was the usual say one thing here, do something else in Washington D.C.

WEPM broadcast the debate and there will probably be a link later.

WEPM has a story up about the debate with a line in need of clarification:

More than 250 people were in attendance when the candidates for West Virginia’s Second Congressional District faced off last night at Musselman High School in the final of the WEPM and Journal candidate forums for 2008.  Incumbent Congresswoman Shelly Moore Capito (R) and challenger Anne Barth (D) sat down to answer questions from the panel and from the audience.  The debate was moderated by Blue Ridge Community and Technical College President Peter Checkovich.  Crowds lined the streets with signs supporting their candidates prior to the debate and supporters cheered and yelled during the debate itself, a sign of the excitement that has been created as this heated campaign nears a finish.

There were more than 30 people outside of Musselman High School lining the road for Anne Barth.

Six supporters of Capito waved signs about a half mile away at Centra Bank.

It was very telling that Barth’s supporters were at the debate and Capito’s were at a bank where executives have helped fund her campaign.

The ohter tellng thing was before the debate. Before the debate, Anne Barth walked through the auditorium, greeting people, whether wearing her buttons or Capito’s stickers and thanking them for attending while Shelley Moore Capito was huddled with her staff behind the stage hiding from her constituents.

For those of us disappointed by the lack of representation from Capito and why we want to replace her with Anne Barth, the symbolism between the two could not be more apparent.

Capito even mentioned how she meets with people of the district in town halls and then corrected herself and referred to her notorious town hall teleconferences where only pre-selected people are invited to join and where questions are screened as opposed to meeting with all of her constituents.

Capito also claimed she was in the Eastern Panhandle so often that we were probably sick of seeing her. She’s only half right there and it wasn’t the seeing her part. Unless you belong to the country club in Charleston, you probably don’t see Capito.

Capito claimed an ad by the DCCC (not Anne Barth as the WEPM questioner mistakenly said) was a negative attack for pointing out she took campaign contributions from Big Oil. “The insinuation is my vote is for sale,” Capito said. Tom Delay, Mark Foley, Jack Abramoff, and Ted Stevens could argue that Capito should remove the first three words from the preceeding sentence.

Barth, meanwhile, pointed out that the ad is truthful as to Capito’s contributors from Big Oil and that she’s criticized Capito’s votes and not Capito herself, unlike Capito who falsely claims Anne Barth hasn’t paid her taxes. While Anne Barth has focused on the issues and Capito’s voting record, Capito resorts to personal attacks.

“This is the kind of personal attacks people are tired of,” Anne Barth said.

On the Iraq war, Capito also told the same lie she told in 2006.

“I’d like to get out of Iraq, like everyone else, as soon as possible,” Capito claimed, leaving out that every time it has come to a vote, she voted against resolutions to withdraw from Iraq. “I think we need to withdraw. I think we are withdrawing.”

Capito’s in Congress, has voted against withdrawal, and yet she’s uncertain if troops are withdrawing or not from Iraq? She also said timelines “hand our enemy a roadmap to victory” yet now the administration has agreed to a withdrawal timelines she’s for withdrawal? Under her twisted logic, does that now mean that Capito now believess in handing “our enemy a roadmap to victory”? Consistency isn’t something Capito practices because as we’ve seen too often, she says one thing in the district and does another thing in Washington.

Anne Barth had a terrific answer on Iraq, saying that we never should have gone into Iraq that had nothing to do with Sept. 11th and instead should have finished the job in Afghanistan in getting Osama bin Laden.

On taxes, Capito defended her support for tax cuts for the wealthy, saying that the middleclass benefited when the largest cuts went to the rich since they create the jobs. She even conflated the average tax cut, ignoring much of the tax cuts went to the wealthiest 2 percent while the rest of us didn’t see anywhere close to the $2,200 tax cut she claimed. The middleclass didn’t come anywhere close to that. Meanwhile, Anne Barth said it was time for the middleclass to get the larger portion of a tax cut.

After the debate, Capito’s staffers surrounded her to screen her from constituents from coming up to talk to her. Meanwhile Anne Barth worked through the crowd, even taking a question from a man covered in Capito stickers, who asked her about abortion. Anne Barth said she was pro-choice just like Capito. The man was taken aback. “I didn’t know Capito was pro-choice,” he said.

Telling. Voters who don’t know Capito’s record support her. Informed voters love Anne Barth.

WV-02 Fired up for Anne Barth and the Democratic team

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Former Gov. Gaston Caperton explains why Anne Barth would be a tremendous representative for the people of West Virginia.

I attended the Campaign for Change event in Martinsburg, West Virginia today. It was rainy, autumnal day. We had a boisterous, fired up and ready to go crowd in attendance. Most of those who arrived early did visibility for our candidates outside the headquarters. We let our voices be loud enough so even those across the street at the Shelley Moore Capito headquarters could hear us even though she’s tried to not listen to her constituents for years.

Today’s event featured former Gov. Gaston Caperton, former Gov. Bob Wise, who also had served as the Congressional representative for the district, and West Virginia native son and U.S. Sen. Thomas Carper of Delaware, currently the junior senator of his state and soon to be the senior senator once Sen. Joe Biden is elected our vice president.

More on the event and additional photos below.

Ywatta “Nessy” Mitchell is making her second bid for magistrate judge. She was out doing visibility in front of the headquarters. The Campaign for Change is not just about the presidential race, but also the down ticket races. I really hope she wins. I don’t like putting stickers on my vehicle, but I’ve got three this year: Anne Barth, Barack Obama and Ywatta “Nessy” Mitchell’s. There’s other candidates I really want to see win, but too many bumper stickers and they become less effective in my opinion.

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Many of our Democrats arrived early so they joined Mitchell in a sign wave (early voting was on King Street just around the corner from our Queen Street office).

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And then more…

People held up other candidate signs and began chants: “Anne Barth Anne Barth Anne Barth” and “Barack – Obama – Barack – Obama” and also the names of our other candidates as they arrived and joined us. This is earlier but eventually the area out of the rain was jammed with people with signs.

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Across the street, not so much enthusiasm for their candidates.

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“I’ve never seen anyone better prepared running for this seat than Anne Barth and that includes me when I ran the first time,” said former governor and U.S. representative Bob Wise. He vacated the seat in 2000 to run for governor. Barth was Sen. Robert C. Byrd’s state director before she left to run for this seat.

“Think of that team – Robert C. Byrd in the Senate, his most trusted confidant in the HOuse,” Wise said.

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Former Gov. Bob Wise

Wise introduced Sen. Thomas Carper, the junior senator from Delaware and soon to be senior senator when Sen. Joe Biden is elected vice president.

Carper is a West Virginia native son, born in Beckley. “We grow them here and send them to other parts of the country,” Wise said.

Carper said he was happy to be in his native state to campaign for Anne Barth and Barack Obama and Joe Biden. When he was elected to the Senate, his mentor was Senator Byrd. He once offered to do anything to help Senator Byrd and Byrd said he needed him to go represent him at an event at Stonewall Jackson State Park that he was unable to attend. There he was to look up Byrd’s state director, Anne Barth.

He was impressed by her intelligence and her deep knowledge of the people of West Virginia.

“Anne Barth gives politics a good name,” Carper said.

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Anne Barth, Sen. Thomas Carper, former Gov. Bob Wise, former Gov. Gaston Caperton.

Anne Barth spoke next, describing how many people are being hurt by the current economy except for the people who “don’t know how many houses they own, then they probably think the economy is doing well.”

That got a good laugh. She pointed out how Capito voted for Bush four out of five times over the past eight years.

“It’s not about us, it’s really about the future of our country,” Anne Barth said.

Former Gov. Gaston Caperton went next, who defeated former Gov. Arch Moore (Moore is Capito’s father).

“Now Anne I ran against a Moore,” Caperton said. “They said I couldn’t beat him. I did pretty good.”

The same group had been in Morgan County earlier and left Martinsburg to go to Jefferson County. It was a good event.

You can see the entire set of photos here, including Bobby the Obama dog.

Crossposted from West Virginia Blue.

WV-02: Capito likes when Bush plays politics with soldiers’ lives

Over and over again we’ve seen a pattern from Republican Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-Big Oil). When Democrats in Congress tried to take steps to do what the American people want and bring the troops home from Iraq, Capito called it “playing politics.” But when George W. Bush and his administration plays politics with the lives of troops, we hear only silence from her. So much for her “independence.” The only conclusion that can be reached: Capito likes it when Bush plays politics with the lives of soldiers.

Capito on March 23, 2007 regarding a Congressional bill in support of timelines:

“By giving our enemy a date-certain timeline for withdrawal, we are simply asking them to duck into the shadows and wait for us to leave.  Such timelines hog-tie the hands of our commanders in the field and essentially hand our enemy a roadmap to victory.

Yet the Bush administration reached a timeline agreement with the Iraqi government as reported on Aug. 22, 2008 that sets specific dates.

A deal between American and Iraqi officials was given fresh impetus by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s surprise visit to Baghdad on Thursday. Ms. Rice met with Mr. Maliki and other Iraqi leaders and confirmed that both sides saw the value in “aspirational timetables” to govern the continuing role, mission and size of American forces in Iraq.

She declined to discuss the timing, saying that to go into details of the talks “would be inappropriate at this time.” Instead, she reiterated the consistent American position that decisions must be based on events, not timetables.

Iraqi officials were more forthcoming with their interpretation of the draft agreement. In an interview by telephone in Baghdad, Mohammad Hamoud, the chief Iraqi negotiator, said that the draft contained two dates: June 30, 2009, for the withdrawal of American forces from “cities and villages” and Dec. 31, 2011, for combat troops to leave the country altogether.

But we heard nothing from Capito after Bush and the Iraqis agreed, in Capito’s own words, to giving the enemy “a roadmap to victory.”

Capito also on March 23, 2007 expressed her “belief” that decisions should be left to the commanders on the ground:

“Congress has the power of the purse, but it should not micromanage this war or any war by making decisions best left for those on the battlefield.  I want our troops to come home, but I want that decision to be made by our commanders who are basing their decisions on the conditions on the ground and in what is best for the security of our nation.”

Yet we find out today from Bob Woodward’s interviews with Bush and those very same commanders on the ground and in the Pentagon that Bush made decisions for political reasons. He took the decisions out of the hands of the commanders and made the country less safe.

At the Joint Chiefs of Staff in late November 2006, Gen. Peter Pace was facing every chairman’s nightmare: a potential revolt of the other chiefs. Two months earlier, the JCS had convened a special team of colonels to recommend options for reversing the deteriorating situation in Iraq. Now, it appeared that the chiefs’ and colonels’ advice was being marginalized, if not ignored, by the White House.

During a JCS meeting with the colonels Nov. 20, Chairman Pace dropped a bomb: The White House was considering a “surge” of additional troops to quell the violence in Iraq. “Would it be a good idea?” Pace asked the group. “If so, what would you do with five more brigades?” That amounted to 20,000 to 30,000 more troops, depending on the number of support personnel.

Pace’s question caught the chiefs and colonels off guard. The JCS hadn’t recommended a surge, and Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the Iraq commander, was opposed to one of that magnitude. Where had this come from? Was it a serious option? Was it already a done deal?

Pace said he had another White House meeting in two days. “I want to be able to give the president a recommendation on what’s doable,” he said.

A rift had been growing between the country’s military and civilian leadership, and in several JCS meetings that November, the chiefs’ frustrations burst into the open. They had all but dismissed the surge option, worried that the armed forces were already stretched to the breaking point.

Where is Capito’s criticism that she made before of politicians making decisions instead of the “commanders on the ground”?

It was so important to her that Capito made that point the basis of another statement on Nov. 14, 2007:

“This is yet another politically motivated resolution by the Majority that would undercut the decision-making power of commanders on the ground in Iraq,” said Capito.

And yet that is what top Pentagon officials told Bob Woodward Bush did. Bush was motivated by politics at home to take away their decision to withdraw troops in order to have his escalation, his “surge” that they thought stretched the military to the breaking point and left the country with out a strategic reserve in the event of another crisis elsewhere:

The president was not listening to Casey’s boss, Gen. John P. Abizaid at Central Command, anymore, either.

“Yeah, I know,” the president said to Abizaid at a National Security Council session in December, “you’re going to tell me you’re against the surge.”

Yes, Abizaid replied, and then presented his argument that U.S. forces needed to get out of Iraq in order to win.

“The U.S. presence helps to keep a lid on,” Bush responded. There were other benefits. A surge would “also help here at home, since for many the measure of success is reduction in violence,” Bush said. “And it’ll help [Iraq Prime Minister Nouri al-] Maliki to get control of the situation. A heavier presence will buy time for his government.”

The rest of Iraq wasn’t as tenuous as Baghdad, Abizaid said. “But it’s the capital city that looks chaotic,” Bush said. “And when your capital city looks chaotic, it’s hard to sustain your position, whether at home or abroad.”

Clearly Bush was motivated by political reasons. Think that’s just my interpretation:

Pace, Schoomaker and Casey found themselves badly out of sync with the White House in the fall of 2006, finally losing control of the war strategy altogether after the midterm elections. Schoomaker was outraged when he saw news coverage that retired Gen. Jack Keane, the former Army vice chief of staff, had briefed the president Dec. 11 about a new Iraq strategy being proposed by the American Enterprise Institute, the conservative think tank.

“When does AEI start trumping the Joint Chiefs of Staff on this stuff?” Schoomaker asked at the next chiefs’ meeting.

Yet where is Capito’s criticism of Bush making “politically motivated” decisions that tied the hands of the commanders on the ground?

She made that criticism to justify her roadblocking of legislation to do EXACTLY what the generals were wanting to do – to pull the troops out to let the Iraqis take over. Yet we hear only silence from her now.

She’s not independent. She’s a coward who only does what Bush and the Republican leaders tell her to do. Capito knew the surge would not work. She said as much:

However, I have grave concerns regarding the call for increased American troop numbers in Iraq and am skeptical of this new plan’s success.  I believe the escalating sectarian violence in Iraq requires a political solution, not a military solution rooted in increased numbers of American troops.

Never forget this. Despite expressing those “concerns,” Capito backed it anyway. She made the politically motivated decision to back Bush’s politically motivated surge and then she accused Democrats and Republicans who opposed the surge and sought to bring the troops home of tying the hands of the commanders in the field, when that is exactly what she supported George W. Bush in doing.

How many died since she made the decision to back the president playing politics with the lives of soldiers instead of standing up and representing the American people?

Capito shouldn’t be running for reelection. She should be hanging her head in shame.

We have a chance to elect a Congressional representative who wants to end the war in Iraq quickly and responsibly.

Here’s Anne Barth’s position:

We must focus on training the Iraqis to take responsibility for their own security soon, set benchmarks for the Iraqi military, and give more emphasis to diplomatic strategies.  

The war in Iraq has had a serious impact on our military, and our brave men and women are stretched thin by extended deployments. In Congress, I will work to strengthen America’s national security and refocus on the terrorist threats around the globe that are currently ignored.

Look how closely it mirrors the exact view held by the commanders on the ground – the same ones whose views Capito said were so important and for years she ignored as Bush played politics and others paid the ultimate price.

More on Anne Barth here. More on Capito here.

Our West Virginia Blue Act Blue page for Anne Barth here.

WV-02 Barth vs. Capito across the street

Anne Barth had a long-scheduled event at Martinsburg headquarters before she and about 30 volunteers went off to canvass. By sheer coincidence ineffective Bush Republican Shelley Moore Capito held the opening of her campaign headquarters in Martinsburg across the street.  

Here’s some union and Democratic activists doing a sign wave on the four corners of King and Queen streets.

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Here’s some of the hundreds dozens handful of enthused excited people who thought Capito was passing out free Lottery tickets at her event.

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Here’s Barth talking to a couple of supporters before her speech.

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Barth addresses some of the folks at the Berkeley County Democratic HQ.

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Barth described how Cook, Rothenberg and Congressional Quarterly have steadly moved the race in her direction and she expects it’ll be listed as a toss up next quarter.

Barth and the volunteers went out in teams to canvass several precincts in Martinsburg.

WV-02 – Key House races shifting in Democrats’ favor

Now in addition to Cook’s Political Report and others, Congressional Quarterly is jumping on that band wagon.

CQ Politics today is changing the race ratings in 14 congressional districts in 10 states to reflect changing political circumstances that mean brighter prospects for the Democrats, who are expected to augment their 236-199 majority in the U.S. House in the November elections.

Twelve of the 14 race rating changes favor the Democrats, compared to two that favor Republicans, who are trying to limit their losses this year after suffering a net loss of 30 House seats in the 2006 election.

CQ Politics bases its race ratings changes on a variety of factors, including polling and fundraising figures, demographic and political data and conversations with political analysts and party officials. The race ratings are better described as snapshots than as election predictions, and they are subject to change at any time.


• West Virginia’s 2nd(New Rating: Leans Republican. Previous Rating: Republican Favored). Four-term Republican Rep. Shelley Moore Capito is well-liked and has some centrist leanings, but her election victories also have been aided by underfunded or flawed Democratic opponents. She may face her toughest challenge yet from Anne Barth, a longtime West Virginia-based aide to Democratic Sen. Robert C. Byrd who entered the race after Democratic state Sen. John Unger withdrew just before the January candidate filing deadline. With $636,000 in campaign receipts through the end of June, Barth has already raised more than 2006 Democratic nominee Mike Callaghan raised for the duration of a campaign in which he won 43 percent of the vote against Capito.

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Double-talking Shelley Moore Capito

Republicans are dropping money on Capito that was raised to expand the Republican majority and in their desperation are using it to protect an incumbent.

My guess is Capito has seen internal polling that is panicking her. She’s been too afraid to meet with constituents to answer their questions because she’s so out of touch with the people of WV-02 she doesn’t know what to say to them.

Capito has painted herself into a corner. She clearly wants to distance herself from the wildly unpopular George W. Bush so that she doesn’t lose “independents” yet at the same time she can’t distance herself too publicly without alienating the mouth-breathing part of her base that still supports him. The same with the Iraq war. At the end of the 2006 campaign, she signalled she was for withdrawing the troops from Iraq just as she expected the Iraq Study Group report to recommend, but then she reversed herself again on the issue, proving she’s no independent. Her “centrist” leanings fail to show on key votes that matter.

Meanwhile Barth is one of the most attractive – in many ways – candidates we’ve ever had run for WV-02. Her experience at getting the job done for Byrd in West Virginia would be a great asset in the House of Representatives, particularly in a district where Capito has consistently been in the the bottom half of the power rankings at the nonpartisan Even when the Republicans held the majority, Democrats Nick Rahall and Alan Mollohan had much higher ratings for effectiveness than Capito.

This election is simple if we want to put someone in to get the job done for us. Anne can. Capito can’t.

Capito hides from Bush on July 4th (WV-02)

Is ineffective Bush Republican Rep. Shelley Moore Capito afraid to be seen with her good friend of the past 7 years, George W. Bush? Did she ask him to stay away as she runs against a tough challenger, Anne Barth, and Capito tries to distance herself from her past rubberstamp support of Bush’s extreme rightwing agenda?

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In what has become something of a Fourth of July tradition, President Bush traveled to West Virginia – the fourth time in his presidency he has gone there on Independence Day.

Mr. Bush marked the occasion by promoting something he had lately stopped talking about – victory in Iraq.

Despite being saddled with the lowest approval ratings of his presidency, President Bush got a warm welcome today in Martinsburg. It was an invitation-only crowd, mainly West Virginia Air National Guardsmen and their families.

Mr. Bush made no mention of the fact that he served in the Texas Air National Guard at a time when the nation was mired in the Vietnam War.

2007 (Martinsburg):

I appreciate being here today with a really fine United States Congresswoman, Shelly Moore Capito, and her husband, Charlie. (Applause.)

2005 (Charleston):

I appreciate Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito. I appreciate her service; I appreciate her love for the great state of West Virginia. Thank you, Shelley Moore. (Applause.)

2004 (Morgantown):

Today is the day we gather with our friends and family and give thanks to the United States of America; give thanks to the fact that we are citizens in a free land. (Applause.) I give thanks to Shelley Moore Capito for serving the people of West Virginia so well in the United States Congress. (Applause.)

I was greeted by your Mayor today — I’m honored the Mayor, Mayor Danny Jones took time to say hello. Mr. Mayor, thanks for having me here, and thanks for serving your community. (Applause.) I know, you want me to tell him to fill the potholes. (Laughter.) I appreciate the President of the Charleston City Council, Councilman Tom Lane for being here, as well. Thank you, Councilman. All those who work hard for the people of Charleston. (Applause.)

We’ve got a lot of state and local officials. I’m honored you all are here. Thanks for inviting me to this beautiful capitol. I appreciate the planning committee for this independence weekend celebration. You know, it takes a lot of effort to put one of these deals together, and a lot of people have been working hard to do so, starting with Spike Maynard, who is the co-chairman and the Chief Justice of the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals. (Applause.) I told the judge I liked being in the presence with somebody who doesn’t try to re-write the Constitution. (Applause.)

I appreciate Mr. Sam Hindman, who is the retired publisher of your newspaper. He’s a leader in your community. He’s been a community leader for a long time. Thanks, Sam, for your hospitality. I want to thank my friend, Bill Raney, President of the West Virginia Coal Association, for being here, as well. (Applause.)

2002 (Jackson County):

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all very much. (Applause.) Thank you. Well, thank you, Shelly*, and thanks for that warm welcome. I’m really proud to be in Jackson County, West Virginia. (Applause.)

Today we mark the 226th birthday of the United States of America. Last year I spent my first Independence Day as your President in Philadelphia. This year I get to spend it in Ripley, West Virginia. (Applause.)

Shelly told me about the 4th of July celebration. She said I needed to come and meet the town. It looks like most of you showed up. (Laughter.) I appreciate your hospitality. I appreciate all the hard work that went into making this 4th of July celebration such a fantastic gathering of our fellow Americans. And thanks for having me. (Applause.)

I want to thank Shelly Moore Capito for her friendship and her leadership in the halls of Congress.

But no Bush for Capito this year on July 4th. With his popularity around 25 percent, she doesn’t want voters to remember she’s been supportive of his unpopular programs every step of the way.

Soon we’ll be able to celebrate our independence from both of them. Capito came in with Bush, she needs to go with him.

Cook upgrades two dozen races

In 2006, ineffective Bush Republican Rep. Shelley Moore Capito won re-election with 57 percent of the vote in a year that saw Democrats take over the House nationally.  

George Bush won in a landslide in the district. You’d think there couldn’t be a more “Solid Republican” seat.

Today Cook Political Report (subscription required) has upgraded the race in Barth’s direction once again. As I’ve understood it, the Cook Political Report only moves a race up one notch at a time. WV-02 has gone from “Solid Republican” to “Likely Republican” to “Lean Republican.”

That doesn’t mean Barth doesn’t have a lot of ground to make up and a lot of work to do. With her Big Oil fat cats, coal barons, Wall Street, mortgage lenders and banks helping to keep her in office as a reliable rubberstamp for their interests, Capito has three times the money in the bank.

But it’s no wonder Republicans are having to spend money from [a fund to assist challengers to help try to save Capito.

Barth is taking Capito to the mats and Capito’s spokesman already is crying about it.

The more people learn of Capito’s record and not the faux moderate image the media has let her create, the less they like her. By contrast, the more people who meet Barth, the more they like her.

Capito can’t. Anne can. It’s that simple.

Here’s the 27 races upgraded in our direction

AL-03    Mike Rogers    Solid Republican to Likely Republican

CA-46    Dana Rohrabacher    Solid Republican to Likely Republican

FL-08    Ric Keller    Likely Republican to Lean Republican

FL-09    Gus Bilirakis    Solid Republican to Likely Republican

FL-18    Ileana Ros-Lehtinen    Solid Republican to Likely Republican

FL-21    Lincoln Diaz-Balart    Likely Republican to Lean Republican

ID-01    Bill Sali    Solid Republican to Likely Republican

IN-03    Mark Souder    Solid Republican to Likely Republican

IA-04    Tom Latham    Solid Republican to Likely Republican

KY-02    OPEN (Lewis)    Solid Republican to Likely Republican

MN-02    John Kline    Solid Republican to Likely Republican

NE-02    Lee Terry    Solid Republican to Likely Republican

NV-02    Dean Heller    Solid Republican to Likely Republican

NJ-05    Scott Garrett    Solid Republican to Likely Republican

NY-13    OPEN (Fossella)    Toss Up to Lean Democratic

NY-25    OPEN (Walsh)    Toss Up to Lean Democratic

NC-10    Patrick McHenry    Solid Republican to Likely Republican

OH-07    OPEN (Hobson)    Solid Republican to Likely Republican

PA-03    Phil English    Likely Republican to Lean Republican

PA-05    OPEN (Peterson)    Solid Republican to Likely Republican

PA-11    Paul Kanjorksi    Likely Democratic to Lean Democratic

PA-15    Charlie Dent    Solid Republican to Likely Republican

TX-07    John Culberson    Solid Republican to Likely Republican

TX-10    Michael McCaul    Solid Republican to Likely Republican

VA-05    Virgil Goode    Solid Republican to Likely Republican

VA-10    Frank Wolf    Solid Republican to Likely Republican

WV-02    Shelley Moore Capito    Likely Republican to Lean Republican

WY-AL    OPEN (Cubin)    Solid Republican to Likely Republican

‘Anne can’ (WV-02)

Ineffective Republican Rep. Shelley Moore Capito came in to office with her good friend George W. Bush and she needs to leave with him. For the past 7 and a half years what has she accomplished for WV-02? Nothing. She has little to show for her four terms in office for the WV-02 District.

As Clem pointed out the right wing bloggers don’t even write anything positive about her because there’s nothing there.

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For the past 21 years, Anne Barth has worked with Sen. Robert C. Byrd to serve West Virginians. There’s been no one better at constituent service in Congress than Senator Byrd and he doesn’t do it alone. He’s relied on staffers like Anne Barth.

Like her political idol George W. Bush, Shelley Moore Capito grew up as the child of privilege. Her father former Gov. Arch Moore made sure when she wanted to run for office she was elected. She was born on 3rd base and acts like she hit a triple. And throughout her long years in Congress, she’s voted consistently on issues that have helped people like her – wealthy and born into privilege – over people who know what it’s like to earn a paycheck through the sweat of our brows. She’s voted against bills supported by the unions and she’s voted on bills that put a greater burden on the middleclass to give bigger tax cuts to the rich.

Anne Barth was born the daughter of a minister, who served different parishes throughout the state. Then she served as the right hand of Senator Byrd as he served the people of the state.

When it comes to getting the job done, Anne can.

In other WV-02 news, the DCCC picked the race as one of 13 to highlight Republicans tied to Big Oil.

spruceshoe pointed out that Capito is one of 8 Republicans receiving funds from a national Republican funnel group at the NRCC called ROMP (Regain Our Majority Program).

How are they going to gain seats spending money to defend an incumbent?

Clem had a nice Barth fundraiser diary.

Celebrate July 4th with Anne Barth.

Chris Van Hollen will be on the state’s most influential radio call in show Wednesday to talk up Barth.

Vic Sprouse and his jealousy of Joe Manchin (WV)

Vic Sprouse was once touted as having a political future, until he found he liked talking more about family values than practicing them. He was a rising star of the West Virginia GOP, which may say more about the weakness of their bench than about Sprouse’s qualities as a candidate. Nevertheless, the soon to be irrelevant former Minority State Senate leader has decided to mock Gov. Joe Manchin (D), for – well, if you read Sprouse closely – for being successful.

In a post titled: “I want to live in Joe Manchin’s little world,” Sprouse writes:

For like five minutes, I would love to live in the world that Joe Manchin dwells in…  at first and when I first started listening to Joe speak, I really thought he was just spouting platitiudes and he was just a strong cheerleader of our state.

If Sprouse had ever advanced farther in politics or traveled outside of his overpriced gyms, he’d know that one of the things governors of all states do is talk about the positive attributes of their state and the job they’re doing. One of the biggest problems with the West Virginia GOP, and why I believe the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce often is not supportive of their efforts, is the Republicans love to tear down West Virginia. They’re so partisan in their effort to score political points they don’t care if they hurt economic development efforts. States compete for employers and often political and business leaders of a state work together to attract companies. The West Virginia GOP has made a decision – a bad strategy for the state and for politicking – that they will constantly be negative about West Virginia’s economy and government. They badmouth the state in an effort to convince voters they should be given the chance to run it.

Last year, WV GOP Chairman Doug McKinney decreed the party would throw the evangelicals and gun owners under the bus and focus on the economy this election cycle.

“‘Unleashing capitalism’ will be our party platform next year,” McKinney said. “Our philosophy will be, ‘It’s the economy, Stupid.’

“We’ve spent too much time in recent years on gun control and abortion.”

Then John Raese, part time West Virginia resident and occasional darling of the WV GOP, wandered off his party’s script:

“My family has been doing business in West Virginia since 1905. A lot of people have done business and done very well in West Virginia,” he said.

“We have more natural resources in West Virginia than all but two other states, Texas and Louisiana. We have the finest work force of anywhere in the United States.”

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That knocked McKinney and his “Unleashing Capitalism” campaign for a loop, the real goal of which is to return to the days when coal barons could exploit workers and break unions, and not be hindered by safety or environmental regulations of any sort.

West Virginia experienced the days McKinney and Sprouse want to return to. They were the bad old days.

In his post, Sprouse is just continuing the WV GOP’s smear of the state’s economic development work with his snide comments about Manchin meeting with business executives. But I think there’s also something personal as well as political about it with Sprouse. It doesn’t take much reading between the lines to see Sprouse can’t stand that Manchin is popular with voters and fairly successful at running the state government.

Unlike many other governors across the country who’ve overspent, Manchin’s administration has a budget surplus.

“We’ll miss the downturn of the economy, because of the energy surge and the demand for coal,” Manchin told The Herald-Dispatch’s editorial board. “But if we don’t diversify our economy during the surge, we’ll have problems.”

Manchin said the state’s commitment to pay down debts during his first three years in office was a primary reason why the state will have a $290 million surplus in this year’s budget. But rather than use that money on one-time expenditures, the best option was to use it as an investment in education and diversifying the work force, Manchin said.

“It was a monumental task getting everyone to agree that we should invest $100 million in education,” Manchin said of his Bucks for Jobs initiative. “I can say it was one of the hardest things I have ever done, because everyone had their own ideas for how to spend this money.”

Under the Bucks for Jobs program, West Virginia University will get $35 million and Marshall University will get $15 million, provided both schools can match the funds with private donations within five years.

That’s called investing in West Virginia’s future.

Now I’ve done plenty of criticizing of the governor’s policies at times, but criticizing Manchin for “cheerleading” for the state as Sprouse does is like criticizing a minister for preaching or an artist for painting or a gym owner for folding the towels and clean the sweat off the equipment. It’s part of a governor’s job.

A job, by the way, that Sprouse will never have though it’s a certain bet he once dreamed he would.

That’s the real reason, for five minutes, Sprouse would love to live in Manchin’s world.

WV-02 Capito faces a wave

DemocracyCorps has an exciting survey (pdf) of 46 Congressional races of seats currently held by Republicans.

In Tier 1 races, which Democrat Anne Barth’s challenge of Bush Republican Rep. Shelley Moore Capito falls under, the Democratic candidates lead the Republican candidates 51-42.

On issues, from Iraq to the economy, the Democratic stance is favored over the Republican.

For example on the Iraq war, here’s the results for the Democratic position similar to Barth’s versus The Republican position identical to Capito’s.

Here’s Barth’s position:

“We are in our fifth year of the Iraq war with no strategy to win the peace and bring our brave soldiers home.  There have been over 4,000 American lives lost, more than a trillion dollars spent, with no end in sight.  While I support our troops, I oppose an open-ended commitment to the war in Iraq.

I will work toward a responsible plan to bring our brave men and women home with honor.  

We must focus on training the Iraqis to take responsibility for their own security soon, set benchmarks for the Iraqi military, and give more emphasis to diplomatic strategies.  

The war in Iraq has had a serious impact on our military, and our brave men and women are stretched thin by extended deployments. In Congress, I will work to strengthen America’s national security and refocus on the terrorist threats around the globe that are currently ignored.”

Here’s Capito’s last public statement

“In recent months we’ve seen hopeful signs of progress on security and localized political reconciliation in Iraq.  We want Iraqis to take control and we must continue to apply pressure to Iraq’s national leaders, but now is not the time to pull the rug out from under our troops who are performing admirably and achieving results.”

I point those out to show the similarity between the way the question was asked in the survey.

[800 Respondents]

Q.61 (SPLIT D) Now I’m going to read you what the candidates for Congress are saying on Iraq. Regardless of who you would vote for, please tell me whether the Democratic statement or the Republican statement comes closer to your own view, even if neither is exactly right.

The Democratic candidate says the war in Iraq has cost us trillions of dollars while our economy has weakened, and has made America less secure. We must strengthen America’s security by starting to reduce our troops in Iraq in a responsible way, force the Iraqi government to use its oil money to pay for reconstruction and work with other nations to bring stability. We need to invest the money we are currently spending in Iraq to restore our military, deal with Afghanistan and strengthen America’s own economy and security. But the Republican candidate for Congress wants to keep our troops in Iraq for at least another 5 years.


The Republican candidate says there has been military and political progress in Iraq, and that to withdraw now would cost more in lives and create more instability in the Middle East. If we follow John McCain’s lead to see our commitment through until the end of his first term, by 2013 America will have welcomed most of our troops home and the Iraq war will have been won. Though some violence will still occur, Iraq will be a functioning democracy with al Qaeda defeated and the U.S. maintaining just a small military presence that does not play a direct combat role. But the Democratic candidate for Congress wants to pull our troops out precipitously and give al Qaeda a big victory.


Democratic statement strongly – 44

Democratic statement somewhat – 15

Republican statement somewhat – 13

Republican statement strongly – 26

(Don’t know/refused) – 3

With the numbers rounded that gives 59 percent supporting the Democratic statement and 39 percent supporting the Republic view. Note too how favorably the question was even worded to tilt support for the GOP position.

And keep in mind this was a poll done in Republican held districts.

Hat tip to RandySF for first tipping me to the Democracy Corps poll.