NRSC hits Lincoln for insurance industry contributions

Republican strategists on Saturday called on Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) to donate to local charities the more than $550,000 in campaign money she has received over the years from insurance companies.

In light of Lincoln's new healthcare amendment, which would cap the amount of money insurance company CEOs could claim as tax deductions in an attempt to rein in their profits, the National Republican Senatorial Committee said Lincoln ought to "apply that same standard to herself."

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“If Blanche Lincoln truly believes that health care insurance industry profits are too high and that they should be punished with higher taxes, why shouldn’t she reject using those same profits to prop-up her embattled re-election campaign?" said NRSC spokeswoman Amber Wilkerson Marchand.

"Is she telling her constituents in Arkansas that health care profits should not line executives’ pocketbooks, but it’s ok if they line her campaign war chest?”" Wilkerson Marchand added.  

Not so, Lincoln's office fired back later on Saturday, calling the NRSC's latest offensive as a "tactic of distraction." Spokeswoman Katie Laning Niebaum instead characterized the NRSC's argument as an example of the "Washington Republican trend of defending the status quo for health insurance companies."

“It’s not surprising to see Washington Republicans side with health insurance companies instead of taxpayers who have been subsidizing multimillion-dollar salaries for their executives," she said. "Sen. Lincoln has made it clear that campaign contributions aside, she is accountable only to the people of Arkansas and her first loyalty is to Arkansans."

Nevertheless, its particularly potent line of attack against Lincoln -- a vulnerable, moderate Democrat who has already fielded countless campaign attacks grounded in the healthcare debate.

The party has tried to offer her political cover -- even devoting a significant part of Saturday's debate to her amendment -- but the senator's performance in preliminary polls is hardly desirable.

Rasmussen's latest measure, conducted last week, depict Lincoln as still trailing her GOP opponent by six points.


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