I hear there was another debate last night. Couple of guys talking in Tennessee – I hear it was important.
But in Oklahoma, I was focused on the debate in Tulsa. On one side was an extremist lifetime politician handcuffed by an ideology that offers no solutions to the problems middle class Oklahomans are facing today. On the other side was our guy: a bright, energetic man with the political courage to work across party lines and find solutions for Oklahomans.
And guess what – our guy won. It wasn’t even close.
(Details and our guy's new ad below the fold.)
[ Miss the debate? Watch it here or here ]
For 45 minutes, Andrew Rice proved himself to be cool, collected, capable, and, unlike his opponent, up to the job. A group watching the debate in Stigler, OK, phoned in to tell us that their consensus was that Andrew Rice looked more like the incumbent than Jim Inhofe.
As for Inhofe – he had to play defense. He agreed with Andrew Rice twice, admitted Oklahomans weren't better off than they were six years ago, said he'd never heard of the IAVA (Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America – who gave him a "C" rating), and stated he "didn't try" when it comes to securing our borders and fixing our immigration system.
And then he started go get uncomfortable.
When asked to respond to Sen. Rice about new energy solutions, Inhofe instead complained that he was cut off when he was quoted saying the economic crisis was "not really a problem."
Inhofe referred to what is supposedly one of his proudest legislative accomplishments – when, after years of vowing a buyout for home owners at Tar Creek, an Oklahoma Superfund site, would never happen, he grudgingly caved and stopped blocking the buyout – as "the Tar Creek thing."
He tried really hard to distance himself from President Bush, but couldn't do it. Inhofe claimed that he's "taken on" Bush "more than any other Republican." But that's a difficult claim to make when he's voted with Bush 92% of the time over the last eight years.
But back to our guy.
Besides sticking it to Inhofe on immigration, bipartisanship, and supporting our troops and veterans, Andrew Rice spoke about his own record and laid out a vision of what he wants to do for Oklahoma:
"[F]or me, it's not about going to Washington and scoring political points and trying to make your political base happy when you get home, or getting great headlines in the press. I don't care about any accolades. I want to be able to do something so my children, my two boys, have a better life here in Oklahoma, and I'm worried about their future. And so that's going to require us being humble, and working across party lines, and finding common ground, and doing our business and going home – and not always looking for the spotlight."
Sounds like the Senator I want – and that's why Andrew Rice is our guy.
Over the last few weeks, Sen. Rice has closed the gap on Jim Inhofe, narrowing the gap by 15 points according to one tracking poll (an outfit whose work tends to favor Republicans and incumbents). We are within striking distance, and last night's debate helped prove that Sen. Rice speaks for Oklahoma's values. Andrew Rice did, in fact, rise to the occasion, while Inhofe slipped.
Oh, and did I mention we have this new ad up?
Help us keep this on the air – and help us get to victory!
- Karina Henderson, Rice for US Senate