Starting with her 2012 campaign for the Senate, Heitkamp has long sought to distance herself from President Barack Obama (rhetorically if not in action), which is why it was surprising for many observers that Heitkamp chose to side with him on this deal even as she considers a 2016 campaign for governor.
[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#000000″]”There is certainly no signal from North Dakota that would cause Senator Heitkamp to feel more comfortable voting with the President on this deal,” Cramer said. “She doesn’t talk to the public nearly as often as I do…” [/mks_pullquote]
Cramer, for his part, said Heitkamp certainly wasn’t listening to her constituents when she made this decision.
Cramer was speaking about how he avoids injecting his personal biases into a decision like the Iran deal. “One of the best ways to do that during August of course is to go home and visit with your constituents,” he said.
And what did North Dakotans tell Cramer about Iran?
“There is certainly no signal from North Dakota that would cause Senator Heitkamp to feel more comfortable voting with the President on this deal,” Cramer said.
And after that he got in a shot at Heitkamp for not spending nearly enough time talking to her constituents.
“She doesn’t talk to the public nearly as often as I do nor does Senator Hoeven,” Cramer said. “I have the most town halls of any member of Congress last year.”
Cramer does hold lots and lots of town halls which are simple in their formulation in that he simply gets up front with a microphone and takes one question after another from whoever cares to attend the event, zingers and all. It’s won him a grudging sort of respect from even his most ardent critics.
As for Cramer’s reasoning for opposing the Iran deal? He says it’s a deal just to make a deal.
“I believe that the White House and the administration went into this with a bias that they wanted a to have a deal no matter what,” Cramer said. “The president himself said a bad deal is better than no deal. John Kerry, who a week before the deal was done said ‘we’re ready to walk away if we need to’ and now they say the only alternative is war. Were they thinking about a war alternative when they were making those statements or were they just intent on having a deal bad, good or otherwise?”
Heitkamp is expected to announce her 2016 intentions this week. Anything can happen, of course, but my bet based on the timing and the Iran deal vote I don’t think she’s running.