Heidi “Work With Anyone” Heitkamp Attacks Cramer for Agreeing With Her on Legislation

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, Democrat from North Dakota, addresses a crowd at the F-M Labor Temple in Fargo on Monday, Aug. 15. Robin Huebner / The Forum

Senator Heidi Heitkamp’s latest attack ad targeting Congressman Kevin Cramer has to do with pension issues.

In the ad, a truck driver named Al Thomas says Cramer “did practically nothing” to help fix distressed pensions for Teamsters and other workers.

Heitkamp’s campaign has been echoing these attacks to the media as well, but in an interesting way. Heitkamp’s chief brag on the pension issue his her co-sponsor status on the Butch Lewis Act which would, among other things, allow federal loans to distressed pensions so that they don’t have to cut benefits to workers.

But when it’s pointed out that Cramer, too, supports this legislation Heitkamp’s campaign dismisses the support as “lip service.”

Cramer, too, supports Heitkamp’s legislation — he’s the second Republican to sign onto the House version of the bill. In a press release provided to CBS News, Heitkamp’s campaign said Cramer is just giving “election-year lip-service to the pension crisis.”

Heitkamp tells us over and over again in her campaign messaging that she’s above petty partisanship and will “work with anyone” to do the right thing. So why would her campaign attack Cramer in this area where they clearly agree on something?

Maybe Heitkamp means she’ll work with anyone as long as it doesn’t get in the way of her political ambitions?

Let’s not forget that earlier this year, on the same day Congressman Cramer announced his campaign for the U.S. Senate, Heitkamp’s allies at the Teamsters canceled an event they’d scheduled with him to discuss pension reform and his support for the Butch Lewis Act (the latter something the Teamsters had honored him for previously).

The event had been scheduled when Cramer was only going to run for re-election to the U.S. House. When he decided to take on Heitkamp, suddenly the event was no more.

When I spoke to leadership in the Teamsters they denied being pressured by Senator Heitkamp or anyone working for her to cancel the event.

Still, the timing sure is suspicious, and given the Heitkamp campaign’s acrimony towards Cramer for actually agreeing with them on something, is it so hard to suspect that partisan politics played a role?

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and the host of the Rob (Re)Port on Fargo-based WDAY AM970 from noon-2pm weekdays.

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