Blackburn mistakenly blames Bredesen for illegal alien driver licenses; Democrats bash Blackburn

In a speech to Carter County Republicans, U.S.  Senate candidate Marsha Blackburn erroneously declared that her presumptive Democratic opponent, Phil Bredesen, “gave driver licenses to illegal aliens” when he was governor, reports the Johnson City Press. Democrats are using the remark to bash Blackburn.

In fact, it was Republican Gov. Don Sundquist who signed House Bill 983 into law on May 3, 2001, which allowed illegal immigrants to get actual driver’s licenses in Tennessee. Gubernatorial candidates Beth Harwell and Diane Black were among the 69 House members who voted in support of the measure. Blackburn was among the nine senators who voted no.

Tennessee had been issuing driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants for two years before Bredesen entered office as governor in 2003.

… In July 2004, Bredesen actually proposed legislation that ended the practice of issuing state driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants for public safety and homeland security reasons.

Under the legislation, immigrants who could not establish a legal presence in the U.S. could obtain a new “certificate for driving,” which could be used for driving but not for identification purposes, such as boarding a plane or purchasing a gun.

House Bill 3486 passed overwhelmingly 92-2-1 in the House and 32-0 in the Senate, with Black, Harwell, former Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey and current Lt. Gov. Randy McNally voting in support. Blackburn was serving in the U.S. House of Representatives at that time.

However, in 2006, Tennessee ended its policy of issuing “driving certificates” after the governor’s office was informed that immigrants were traveling from other states to get the certificates using forged documents.

“At this point it just seems that we’ve got this very … serious problem, and we really felt that the appropriate thing to do was to suspend this program,” Bob Corney, then-spokesman for Gov. Bredesen, told the Los Angeles Times. (Note: Corney is currently manager of Bredesen’s Senate campaign.)

The Press article was posted Saturday – the Blackburn speech at Elizabethton was on Thursday — and includes this emailed comment Friday from Alyssa Hansen, the Bredesen campaign press secretary.

“It’s clear that Governor Bredesen’s message of working together to get things done is resonating with voters throughout the state who are tired of the hyper-partisan yelling and finger-pointing… The contrast between the Senate candidates is increasingly clear — Tennessee voters can pick someone who’s used to causing gridlock as a Congresswoman for over the past 15 years she’s been in Washington — or they can hire someone who has a proven track record of working across the aisle to get things done for all Tennesseans.”

After the article appeared, Tennessee Democratic Party spokesman Mark Brown emailed a commentary to media including this line:

“Marsha Blackburn’s ham-handed attacks on Phil Bredesen, over an issue that Don Sundquist created and Diane Black supported at every step of the way, ring hollow to voters. All the “Blackburn Boomerang” does is hurt her own friends — and in the process muddies the Republican gubernatorial primary and gives ammunition to Black’s opponents. We love the Blackburn Boomerang and hope she keeps throwing it.”

Note: The Elizabethton Star report on Blackburn’s speech doesn’t mention the drivers’ license remark. It does include this:

During her campaign, Blackburn said many people have asked her why she would want to run for the Senate when it is in the shape it’s in.

“That is exactly why,” Blackburn said is her response to that question. “It is totally dysfunctional and it is definitely in need of some conservative change.”

10 Responses to Blackburn mistakenly blames Bredesen for illegal alien driver licenses; Democrats bash Blackburn

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    Stuart I. Anderson says:

    Yesireee the U. S. Senate is just lacking the presence of Phil Bredesen, that’s why we see all of that “. . .hyper-partisan yelling and finger-pointing. . . .” The minute pacific Phil makes his presence felt Charming Chuck Schumer will forget he is leader of what is now a far-left political party whose base demands Never-Trump struggles 24/7. All we have to do is send a 75 year-old one term backbencher to the Senate and suddenly the other 99 Senators will say “Hey, look at that Phil Bredesen from Tennessee, what are we all fighting about anyway, come on Phil show us how to settle this stuff.”

    I know all too many voters are not as well informed as they should be, but surely they are not as stupid as the Bredesen campaign hopes.

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    James White says:

    Marsha is FOR Big Government:
    Funding the REAL ID Act (National ID).
    During consideration of the Homeland Security appropriations bill, Representative Brian Bilbray (R-Calif.) offered an amendment to reallocate $150 million of the bill’s funding to provide grant money for assisting states in conforming to the REAL ID Act of 2005. The REAL ID Act requires all states to issue standardized driver’s licenses that would serve as national ID cards. It was supposed to go into effect three years after the enactment of the act, but because of resistance from the states, the deadline has been extended to 2010 for states that request an extension. Once enacted, a federal agency would not be allowed to accept for any official purpose a driver’s license or ID card issued by a state that fails to meet the act’s requirements. The House rejected the Bilbray amendment by a vote of 155-268 (Roll Call 479) on June 15, 2007. The act would effectively create a national ID card.
    Marsha Blackburn voted FOR this bill.

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    Tommy Ray McAnally says:


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    Donna Locke says:

    Bredesen’s driving certificates were driver’s licenses and gateway documents that made illegal aliens look legal. The whole thing had to be repealed because of the massive fraud and security problems. Bredesen fell over himself trying to keep Tennessee a magnet for illegal aliens. Marsha Blackburn, Mae Beavers, and Diane Black were leading the repeal effort in the legislature ever since Sundquist.

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    Donna Locke says:

    Forgot to add that because Democrats controlled the legislature then, we had to support voting for the driving certificates, as a slightly lesser evil, in order to get the regular driver’s licenses stopped for illegal aliens. I am a hardliner on immigration control, but even I advised legislators then to vote for Bredesen’s driving certificates and we’d come back next time and stop it entirely. We all were working to get a Republican majority, we knew we could get it, so things like that could be done.

    As it happened, Bredesen put an end to the driving certificates himself. Tennessee was being embarrassed by national coverage of the massive fraud associated with the DLs and driving certificates.

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    Jim Fisk says:

    Everyone in with insider knowledge knows that Blackburn is not the “brightest bulb in the bin”.

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      Stuart I. Anderson says:

      Whether she is or not is terribly irrelevant. A number of years ago William F. Buckley remarked that he would rather be governed by the first 100 people in the Cambridge phone directory than the faculty of Harvard University. It’s not the IQ of an office holder that is important, it’s the office holder’s political ideology and whether as a voter that ideology agrees with your own.

      BOTTOM LINE: If you’re not a liberal why the heck would you ever vote Democratic?

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      Jennifer Johnson says:

      Yep 100000000%

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    Donna Locke says:

    By the way, Rob Briley, brother of David Briley, sponsored more than one bill to give Tennessee driver’s licenses to illegal aliens.

  • Avatar
    Haskel Meadows says:

    Why do politicians have to deal inhalf truths

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