Most people have now seen this video of Democratic Congressman Bob Etheridge going nuts and attacking a college student for asking him a question.
Etheridge’s opponent, in the Republican leaning district that he’s represented for more than a decade, is Renee Ellmers. Ellmers is a credible candidate and a solid conservative. Since this incident occurred, things have been looking up for Renee’s campaign. She raised $24,000 in the first 24 hours after the video went live and a Civitas flash poll now shows her ahead of Etheridge with registered voters, 39% to 38%.
So, since this race is very competitive and is getting a lot of attention, I requested an interview with Renee. What follows is the slightly edited transcript of our conversation.
Let me ask you to answer the question Bob Etheridge did not answer in his infamous video. Do you think Bob Etheridge fully supports the Obama agenda?
I know he supports the agenda and I know that based on his voting record. He votes with President Obama 97 percent of the time. He is definitely onboard.
That sounds like he supports the Obama agenda. If someone in your district said, ”Renee, why should I vote for you instead of Bob Etheridge?” – what would you tell him?
Well, we are very different from each other as far as philosophy. He believes the more government in our lives, the better. He wants government to be as big as possible.
I think the exact opposite. I believe that the less government in our lives, the more prosperous we’re going to be, the more money we’re going to have in our pockets, and the more we are going to be able to run our businesses and hire employees. He himself will say that jobs are the issue, but yet he votes every way that harms job creation.
I totally disagree with his votes that he has taken on cap and trade, the health care bill, and stimulus package. We’re completely opposite.
Well, let’s talk about one of those issues specifically. This is something I’m asking every candidate I talk to this year who’s running for office. Let’s say theoretically there’s a vote to repeal the health care reform package that passed through Congress next time around. How would you vote?
I would vote to repeal it, absolutely. There is no doubt in my mind that bill is going to be detrimental to our economy and certainly, most certainly to health care. …What we need is to decrease the amount of government in health care and we need to put in place reforms that are in the free market system.
Let me ask you another question that people running for Congress all across the country are being regularly asked at the moment – the Arizona immigration law, what do you think of that? Would you like to see something like that in North Carolina?
I would and I applaud Arizona for doing what they did. Of course, the law largely mimics the actual federal immigration laws that we don’t adhere to and I applaud Arizona for standing up as a state after they have asked for help. When they asked for help to enforce the borders because of all the crime and narcotics that comes in on a daily basis, the government has just absolutely ignored them. So, they stood up and did what was right for their state. I think it’s wonderful.
I am also not for amnesty. We have got to get a stronger border for national defense purposes. We do need those workers coming here. They are an essential part of our economy. However, it has to be through legal means and if we would simply adhere to the laws that are already in place, we’d make a big difference.
Last question, Renee. There are going to be a lot of conservatives reading this interview nationally who are not in your district and they’re going to be wondering, “Why should I chip in a few bucks to Renee Ellmers’ campaign?” What would you tell them if they said, ”Hey, why do we want you in Congress?” What would you say to them?
What I’d like to say is that I am a conservative and I believe in our country. I think we live in the best country in the world and we have got to turn this country back around. We have got to turn the Obama agenda around. The only way we’re going to do it is if we get more conservative Republicans elected in November. …We can put political correctness aside and do what is right for the American people and certainly for my district, too.