published Sunday, September 19th, 2010

Fleischmann camp silent on Wolfe’s tea party charges


by Dan Whisenhunt

Three days after his Democratic opponent attacked him for his alleged tea party connections, Republican 3rd Congressional District candidate Chuck Fleischmann has yet to respond to the statements.

Democrat John Wolfe made his comments Tuesday while speaking to the Greater Chattanooga Democratic Women’s Club.

Neither Fleischmann, a Chattanooga-based attorney, nor his spokesman Jordan Powell returned repeated calls and e-mails last week seeking comment. His campaign office in Chattanooga was closed Friday morning.

Delores Vinson, the Hamilton County Republican Party chairwoman, said she has not heard about anything that would prevent Fleisch-mann or his staff from responding to questions.

“I am puzzled by that,” she said. “I just don’t have any explanation.”

Wolfe believes Fleischmann will remain silent while he looks for the political middle ground because he went too far to the right in the primary.

“He’s got to reconcile the tough talk in the primary with the necessity of trying to appear to be somebody who can govern,” Wolfe said.

But the Fleischmann campaign continues to roll along. Fleischmann updated his Twitter and Facebook accounts Friday, telling people the U.S. Constitution means limited federal government.

The same day, he posted an article on his website on the same topic. Earlier Friday, Fleischmann tweeted about attending a meeting of the East Tennessee Economic Council in Oak Ridge.

On Wednesday, the campaign sent out a news release announcing that Fleischmann picked up the endorsement of the National Right to Life Committee.

Whether Fleischmann has ties with the tea party is open to interpretation.

On April 15, Fleischmann announced on his website that he would attend the Tax Day Tea Party.

Chattanooga Tea Party President Mark West said he was amused by discussion of Fleischmann’s allegiance to his group’s ideas. He said Fleischmann treated his attendance at tea party events as “campaign stops.”

“Attending one or two meetings to which a person was directly invited does not make one a member of an organization any more than walking into a garage makes one a car,” West said in an e-mail.

Two political science professors, Richard Wilson at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and Bruce Oppenheimer at Vanderbilt University, were equally confused by Fleischmann’s media strategy.

“There is the strategy that if you’re well ahead sometimes you ignore and don’t give any attention to what your opponent is saying,” Oppenheimer said.

Wilson speculated that Fleischmann may feel so far ahead of his opponent, he doesn’t feel he needs to respond to accusations or questions.

“That is stretching his good will a bit to not answer phone calls,” Wilson said.



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about Dan Whisenhunt...

Dan Whisenhunt covers Hamilton County government for the Times Free Press. A native of Mobile, Ala., Dan earned a degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Alabama. He won first place for best in-depth news coverage in the 2010 Alabama Press Association contest; the FOI-First Amendment Award in the 2007 Alabama Press Association contest; first place for best public service story in the Alabama AP Managing Editors contest in 2009 for economic coverage; and ...

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fairmon said...

What is John Wolfe's issue with the tea party? I have seen nothing on the national news that appears to cast those coming together under the heading of tea party in a bad light. It appears they are getting involved in their local political process. It is my understanding the tea party is not a third party but will collectively support a candidate from either party or an independent with the principles and agenda they prefer a candidate to have.

I assume those attending tea party activities would support John Wolfe if they agreed with his agenda and trusted him to pursue his campaign promises.

I would prefer to hear John Wolfe and his opponents emphasize the reasons they are the best candidate instead of trying to cast a negative light on their opponents.

I would like to hear specifics of how candidates would improve employment, reduce the national debt, avoid increased taxes instead of philosophical sound bites for the media regarding what is needed in government.

I would like to hear each of them to state yes or no regarding their support of senate bill SB-25, the fair tax proposal.

September 19, 2010 at 8:56 a.m.
acerigger said...

harp sez;"I have seen nothing on the national news that appears to cast those coming together under the heading of tea party in a bad light.",,,,,"It is my understanding the tea party is not a third party but will collectively support a candidate from either party or an independent with the principles and agenda they prefer a candidate to have.".Are we talking about the same Tea Party? The "Obama is a fascist/nazi/commie/kenyan party? They won't even support mainstream,middle of the road repubs,much less a progressive,"what's best for our country",candidate like John Wolfe.

September 19, 2010 at 9:23 a.m.
fairmon said...

I have seen tirades of adjective riddled descriptions of others from individuals in all groups but did not conclude their radical view reflected the views of the entirety of the party or organization.

My point is; if John Wolfe thinks he is what is best for our country then spend his time describing why that is true. His opponents should do the same with their agenda. Voters can then weigh his agenda and his initiatives opposite his opponents and vote for the candidate they most agree with. If he thinks the local tea party is radical and it is terrible for a candidate to even share his views with them then tell me why the local group is so bad instead of assuming they are like some nut on TV from Maine.

I have and will continue listening to John Wolfe but he can't seem to get away from spending more time criticizing than he spends describing what should be done and what he would try to bring about to correct what he views as wrong.

I have no party affiliation or loyalty and admit I have regretted voting for both parties. I avoid primaries and assume party loyalist will put forth their best candidate and I can select from those.

I do not subscribe to the theory that democrats are for the little man. That description fits neither party but some individual candidates are less dangerous to them than others.

Obama, I don't agree with but I certainly wish him no harm, things could get worse. look at who would replace him, Biden then Pelosi. I would have the same concern if it were McCain or the soccer mom next in line.

September 19, 2010 at 11:31 a.m.
acerigger said...

Thanx harp,point taken.

September 19, 2010 at 12:03 p.m.
whatever said...

If you have seen nothing to make you doubt the tea party activists in anyway, then well, we must not be watching the same news.

I could understand trying to separate the bad elements of the tea part and not blame the main for it, but nothing?

Bit much.

And yes, the tea party is not a third party like the Reform Party under Perot was, I would say they're more a movement within the Republican base. Some Republican leaders are concerned about that, some supportive. Democrats just don't seem to have any within their ranks, though some of them are probably letting themselves be influenced by it. Possibly to the negative, maybe to the positive. Still I haven't seen a primary candidate claiming to be the "Tea Party" one.

Obama, I don't agree with but I certainly wish him no harm, things could get worse

Well, a lot of the Tea Party thinks he is the Ultimate Evil Demon of Nazi Communist Fascist Ant-Christian Pro-Muslim Space Invader Clone!

Or something.

September 19, 2010 at 12:08 p.m.
fairmon said...

I haven't seen that opinion of Obama endorsed by any group. I have seen news clips and written opinions by individuals.

I probably failed to make my point by getting too wordy. I prefer candidates describe their objectives and agenda. What they would try to bring about as my representative. I have documented the experience and qualifications I would like a candidate to have. I have an agenda that I would like to compare to theirs.

Their attacks on other candidates, the other party, the present administration or any group does not encourage me to support or vote for them.

At this point Fleischmann has lock jaw and Wolfe has diarrhea of the mouth. Independents are under funded and essentially ignored by the media with little chance of wide dissemination of their message.

By November the 2ND I will decide none are acceptable and I don't care who wins or select, support and vote for the candidate of my choice. The risk of "losing" my vote is not a criteria.

September 19, 2010 at 2:02 p.m.
whatever said...

I prefer candidates describe their objectives and agenda.

That's no way to get elected! Stop dreaming!

By November the 2ND I will decide none are acceptable and I don't care who wins or select, support and vote for the candidate of my choice. The risk of "losing" my vote is not a criteria.

Sadly we don't live in a state where None of the Above has any teeth...or even a token presence on the ballot.

September 19, 2010 at 2:28 p.m.
fairmon said...

Whatever.

Good point but it is hard to say that's no way to get elected since it has never been tested...

If I have no preference rather than trying to select the least bad I will leave the selection to party loyalist and those influenced by them. I will still complain and gripe to no end about things I think are wrong. It would be interesting to have none of the above as an option even though the candidate with adequate votes would still win.

September 19, 2010 at 6:53 p.m.
FM_33 said...

Well as a friend of John he did a great job in putting the fear factor on to his enemy.

Wooooo.......go get'em Johnny Wolfy !

September 21, 2010 at 6:34 p.m.
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