Bredesen ‘not running against Donald Trump,’ foresees $50M spending

Excerpt from a Tennessean story based on an interview with U.S. Senate candidate Phil Bredesen:

“I’m not running against Donald Trump. I’m running for getting some things done here in Tennessee,” Bredesen said. “The issues surrounding health care are real and they’ve got nothing to do with liking or not liking Donald Trump.

“I would say that was zero consideration,” he said when asked about a Democratic majority perhaps hinging on Tennessee. “I do not intend to be, if I’m elected, a loyal foot soldier who’s always voting for everything that the Democratic Party wants. If I’m No. 50 or No. 51, it doesn’t help much.”

Nevertheless, Bredesen said he won’t turn down money from national Democratic groups, including the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which is expected to pour money into Tennessee with Bredesen now the clear favorite to win the Democratic nomination. Nashville attorney James Mackler is also running in the Democratic primary.

When combining independent expenditures and campaign funds of candidates, Bredesen predicted he would need $50 million or more to compete. It would make the race easily the most expensive in Tennessee history, crushing the amount spent in the 2006 Senate race between now-GOP Sen. Bob Corker and Democrat Harold Ford Jr.

Perhaps surprisingly, Bredesen, a former Nashville mayor who has earned millions privately in the health care industry and helped bankroll some of his past campaigns, said he would not be contributing any personal money into his race. He said he doesn’t think it will be necessary.

… Bredesen said he plans to tap Bob Corney, former communications director in Bredesen’s governor’s office, as campaign manager. Corney currently works as senior vice president at Calvert Street Group, a lobbying and advocacy firm based in Nashville. He said former top aides as governor, Dave Cooley and Stuart Brunson, have also been “deeply involved” early on in the campaign.

Further  from an interview with the Times Free Press:

The normally reserved Bredesen said he also would be able to distinguish Trump’s policies from the president’s style, noting, “obviously, there are things about his style that are so dramatically different from mine that it’d be odd if I loved them.”

Still, the man who won a reputation as a pragmatic moderate Democrat during his two terms as Tennessee governor said “my basic attitude toward these things is, you know, whoever is president puts things on the table. I think anybody has got to separate the speaker from the content. I would treat him and [GOP] senators in the same way as I would have treated Obama.”

As governor during two terms stretching from 2003 to 2011, Bredesen famously criticized Obama and congressional Democrats’ mandatory expansion of state Medicaid programs such as TennCare in the federal Affordable Care Act, calling it the “mother of all unfunded mandates.”

“I was in the same party as Obama and made no bones about my feelings about the Affordable Care Act, which were not positive,” Bredesen said.

After Bredesen left office, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the provision unconstitutional and said it had to be voluntary. The former governor then became far more favorable toward the law and he said Thursday he hopes to work on a bipartisan basis with senators to fix it rather than repeal it as the GOP has so far unsuccessfully tried to do.

“People are going to judge for themselves during the course of the campaign if they think I’m alert and vigorous and up to do this. But I’m 74, I’m healthy, I go out and run, I work out, my mind is clear. I feel like I got a lot of good years left in me.”

He added: “I don’t think [age] is bothering anybody. You know, 74 is the new 54.”

With Blackburn positioning herself as a Trump loyalist, Bredesen said he has “a very different view of that the last thing the founders intended the Senate to be was foot soldiers for any administration, any president.”

Bredesen said “it’s about checks and balances, and the system was set up whereby you’re supposed to have people in the Senate who think for themselves and act not as a permanent supporter or permanent enemy but as a check and balance on what goes on in the executive branch.”

Still, he spoke of his ability to reach across party lines while governor.

One Response to Bredesen ‘not running against Donald Trump,’ foresees $50M spending

  • Michael Lottman says:

    Do you think Bredesen realizes that he is running for the U.S. Senator, not for another term as governor of Tennessee? It doesn’t seem so. And it is not necessarily true that even partial success as a state and local executive makes a candidate qualified for the totally different work of a U.S.Senator, performed on a national and even global scale. I don’t think Bredesen was ever considered a particularly profound, policy-oriented thinker–he was a doer, which is fine in its place but not really relevant to being a senator. We should also be very concerned about his snide remarks as to not being a Democratic “foot soldier,” since his primary perceived value as a candidate is putting another Democrat in the Senate. And “if I’m No. 50 or No. 51, that doesn’t help much”–what the hell does that mean? What he means is it doesn’t help HIM much in wanting to be what he was as mayor and governor–the alpha dog, who always got his way and always took the credit. He clearly doesn’t realize that those days are over. All in all, his statement that “I’m not running against Donald Trump. I’m running for getting things done here in Tennessee” is simply incredible, as is his grudging willingness to accept money from national Democratic groups, not that he needs it–but he is a Democrat, isn’t he?.

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