published Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

Weston Wamp's aggressiveness gives him debate edge

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    Weston Wamp talks directly to U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Tenn., during a one-on-one debate Wednesday inside the WTCI television studio. The taped show was televised at 8 p.m. on Wednesday.
    Photo by Tim Barber.
    enlarge photo

Weston Wamp is banking the American people are tired of gridlock. U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann is betting they're not.

Wednesday's debate between the two candidates for Congress in Tennessee's 3rd Congressional District Republican primary -- sponsored by host WTCI and the Times Free Press -- offered a starkly different look at how one conducts business en route to and in Washington, D.C., in 2014.

Fleischmann, the two-term incumbent, declared firmly that he represents a conservative district whose voters liked him saying "no" to President Barack Obama at every turn, did not want anything to do with "amnesty" for illegal immigrants and wanted the federal government out of education "as much as possible."

He said there is no point in reaching out to "ultra liberal leftists" and said his version of crossing the aisle was to "show [Democrats] what I do" and get them to "join us on Republican principles."

Wamp, a partner in the Lamp Post Group who is in his second primary run for the seat once held by his father, Zach Wamp, said the 3rd District is not as conservative as "you may think it is," claimed its voters are tired of "worn-out, partisan rhetoric," and asserted it is important for Republicans to "reach out" to minorities, young people and the less wealthy because "our party needs to grow."

The world, he said, is not just "evil versus good" and "not all black and white. I want us to move into an arena where we work together." People are "fed up with Democrats versus Republican politics."

The debate itself proved not to be a wonkish look at how each candidate would vote on individual issues but a pre-Fourth of July fireworks display of charges and countercharges.

Wamp, on the offensive from the outset, charged that Fleischmann was a part of a do-nothing Congress, had not done anything substantive to help address the federal debt, twice said the incumbent has an "asinine mentality" on not being willing to reach across the aisle, and charged the many lawyers in Congress -- of which Fleischmann is one -- want to "draw out the problems" before they take care of business. The incumbent, he insisted, is one of a brand of legislators "consumed by politics."

The congressman's answers, he said, made him "feel like he was sitting across from an angry Republican congressman," one to whom Democrats were the "boogeyman" and who as a group have "cooties."

Fleischmann, in an effort to parry the challenger's thrusts, mocked Wamp's naivete because you have to "be [in Washington] to know what it's like," suggested he sounded like 3rd District Democratic congressional candidate Mary Headrick, twice chided his opponent that he should "run as a Democrat," and suggested that "your president" signed a recent water bill that he had helped shepherd through the House.

He is "working hard" trying to fix various "broken systems" he inherited, he said, and defending the district from the "executive pen" of Obama and legislation proposed by the Democrats "my opponent wants to kiss up to."

The two Republican contenders differed less on solutions to issues, though, as on how to achieve them.

Neither thought Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker's recent revenue-neutral gas-tax proposal was a good one, neither wanted to commit further troops to Iraq to halt a burgeoning civil war there, both thought securing the country's southern border was essential to dealing with illegal immigration, both thought education control should be in local as opposed to federal hands and both thought there are free-market solutions to replace the Affordable Care Act.

The two disagreed to a point on funding for the Chickamauga Dam lock, with Wamp saying Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander led the way in trying to repair the broken funding formula and Fleischmann contending he had to lead the fight in the House before the Senate approved the bill.

Wamp said he "absolutely" would push for a rise in the diesel fuel tax that barge owners say they would gladly foot to speed more lock work, while Fleischmann continued not to commit on the tax rise but said he was "open to anything possible to move the system forward."

Both candidates seemed to meet their agendas for the head-to-head meeting.

Fleischmann wanted to portray himself as a hard worker, a rock-ribbed conservative and not apologetic for saying "no" in Washington, and did just that. However, his depictions of Wamp as a Democrat -- or at best Republican lite -- fell flat.

Wamp wanted to paint himself as informed, aggressive and willing to work across the aisle, and he did that. By firmly getting those points across against an incumbent, he could legitimately claim a win in the debate.

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aae1049 said...

Weston Wamp was using sign language during the debate? The hands flailing about did give an appearance of aggression. I guess he is mad that someone is occupying the 3rd district seat that the Wamps think is a family heirloom.

July 3, 2014 at 12:37 a.m.
GaussianInteger said...

April says, "Tea Party for establishment Republicans". I can see it now, if Chuckie wins, the Chattanooga Tea Party will have a rally proclaiming a victory against establishment Republicans.

First, it's Wamp's age. Now, it's because who his father is. Spoken like a political hack.

July 3, 2014 at 7:30 a.m.
aae1049 said...

I see a divided R and Tea Party between these candidates. I don't see the Tea Party rallying for either one. There is a hold your nose attitude.

July 3, 2014 at 8:30 a.m.
sagoyewatha said...

Wamp is a Democrat. Aggressive is not the way to go,assertive is.

July 3, 2014 at 8:53 a.m.
Stewwie said...

Weston won the debate? Clint, you're kidding, right? Chuck did a great job defending his record and gave great answers to the questions asked of him. Weston looked like a nervous high school freshman (and sounded like one too) and seemed to go in circles in a lot of his responses.

Weston is trying to win this election by trolling the Fleischmann camp and making outlandish statements. He continues to ridiculously associate Chuck's presence in Washington with the dysfunction that exists there. Even after hearing the facts from Chuck about how he's been part of the solution, not the problem, Weston still stubbornly refuses to acknowledge them.

The only reason that Weston has any chance at all in this race is because of what his last name is. But the kid still has some growing up to do. Maybe when Fleischmann retires from Congress, Weston should try again. Hopefully by then, he'll be mature enough to be able to do the job well. Until then, it's clear that Fleischmann is the right man for this job and he deserves re-election.

July 3, 2014 at 9:37 a.m.
bret said...

Weston clearly won the debate and didn't have to really say anything to do it. He simply allowed Chuck Fleischmann to show exactly who he is ... an angry Tea Party idiot who can only repeat debunked GOP talking points from 2008, and who refuses to even talk with anyone who doesn't drink his Kool-Aid. Chuck forgets that many in his district, including the majority of Chattanooga and Hamilton County residents, are Democrats and that he is supposed to represent them as well. Also, as a US Representative he writes laws for the entire nation and the last time I checked there were more Democrats than Republicans.

For his part Weston did little to counter Chuck's lies. They are Republican lies, after all. Like when Chuck claimed that many states are going bankrupt because of Obamacare. Weston should have said "Name one," rather than agreeing with the lie. When Chuck amazingly claimed that everything in the US has gotten worse since he's been in office Wamp could have pounced on that as well by saying,"Maybe it's time we get someone else in office." I guess Chuck doesn't have any investments since the stock market has more than doubled since Obama took over, easily disproving his lie.

I'll give Chuck Fleischmann credit for one thing ... he had an answer for every question. Unfortunately, that answer was, "Open up more oil wells."

July 3, 2014 at 10:52 a.m.
bret said...

Clearly, last night's debate winner was Mary Headrick.

July 3, 2014 at 10:54 a.m.
bret said...

Is it true that Rhonda Thurman just entered her name as a write-in candidate?

July 3, 2014 at 10:54 a.m.
timbo said...

bret...she did it a month ago. She will win by 1000 votes. Fairbanks used Geno Shipley and democrats to beat Skillern. Skillern had lost his son and had medical issues and a big part of the Republican establishment pounced. They don't like Fred's rock ribbed conservative influence.

Write-in is on every ballot and is just as legitimate a way to run for office as going through a primary. The Write-in option was designed for just this kind of situation. If District 1 wants Fairbanks he will win. The point is they don't and Rhonda will win big.

July 3, 2014 at 11:04 a.m.
timbo said...

Who won the debate is in the eye of the beholder. As far as I am concerned, Little Wamp is the Barack Obama of the 3rd district. A know-nothing, no experience, arrogant, twit who is an embarrassment to serious people.

Fleischman won because I really didn't listen to that 26 year-old that thinks because his daddy had the job that he is supposed to inherit it just like royalty. It really doesn't matter to me what he says. He will do anything to get elected, including getting in bed with democrats.

July 3, 2014 at 11:09 a.m.
timbo said...

The main point is a so-called conservative, Clint Cooper, always agrees with a liberal Pam Sohn. I guess this is the "bipartisanship" that little Wamp wants....or could it be just one voice.

July 3, 2014 at 11:10 a.m.
GaussianInteger said...

Timbo, you are delusional. Does the Tea Party give you guys talking points to continuously regurgitate? Because you basically gave us the exact same thing April did.

And while Rhonda may win, you are a moron if you think "Rhonda will win by 1000 votes".

"that thinks because his daddy had the job that he is supposed to inherit it just like royalty."

And yet you think it's okay that "Rhonda is supposed to inherit it just like royalty" from Skillern? You are a hypocrite.

"Fleischman won because I really didn't listen..."

Even more reason why you TeaBaggers are becoming extinct. You claim to be against "Establishment Republican", yet you won't even listen to the challenger of the "Establishment Republican"? Amazing.

July 3, 2014 at 11:22 a.m.


Words must result in actions, or, there is no change.

Malleus Deum

July 3, 2014 at 11:22 a.m.
GaussianInteger said...

I also like how Chuck said "education was bad when I was voted into office, now it's worse"...

July 3, 2014 at 11:41 a.m.
timbo said...

GaussianInterger..blah, blah, blah...the only people who get talking points are you libs. Do you actually think your drivel is "original." Dream on...

Wamp is just as much "establishment" as Fleischman. His dad was up the wahzoo of the Republican establishment. The difference is that Chuck is an adult, with business and life experience, and little Wamp is a Republican version of Barack Obama. Fleischman is the exact opposite from an experience point of view as little Wamp. You are so politically ignorant you don't know enough about the history of this situation to comment.

As far as Rhonda goes, to make that comparison was stupid. Anyone that knows Rhonda, ANYONE...knows that this fantasy about her being told what to do is crazy.

Fred and Rhonda were friends, Fred and Rhonda are both die-hard conservatives, Fred and Rhonda worked together because that is what a school board member and commissioner in the same district is supposed to do. Rhonda would never run against her friend while he was in office. What real friend would? Obviously you are as stupid about friendship as you are politics. Also, Fred's "friends" in the Republican party should have discouraged Fairbanks from running since Fred has been a stalwart conservative on the Commission.

I think you had "royalty" mix up with "LOYALTY." That is something that someone like you knows nothing about.

Also, the numbers don't lie. Fairbanks has maxed out. He will only get the percent increase that occurs from the May versus August election. That would get him basically a total of 1500 to 1800 votes. Rhonda Thurman has gotten 4000 votes the last 2 times she has run. Fred got 3000 votes. If Rhonda loses 1000 votes because someone can't write her name. She still wins by 1000-1500 votes.

She is working harder than I have ever seen her...she will win.

July 3, 2014 at 11:42 a.m.
timbo said...

Pam Sohn...Clint Cooper..Tweetle dumber and tweetle even more dumber.

July 3, 2014 at 11:56 a.m.
Plato said...

This debate reminds me of a Beavis and ButtHead episode. Beavis is totally illiterate but ButtHead can read a little bit though he frequently mispronounces words and struggles with more than 2 symbols.

In the end if I only had the two choices I would take ButtHead, whoops I mean Wamp, but thank goodness there will be a third option. :)

July 3, 2014 at 12:01 p.m.
timbo said...

Plato...pretty much accurate except I thought Fleischman was ButtHead.

July 3, 2014 at 12:02 p.m.
GaussianInteger said...

"His dad was up the wahzoo of the Republican establishment. The difference is that Chuck is an adult, with business and life experience, and little Wamp is a Republican version of Barack Obama."

Dude, Chuckie is an attorney. What "business" experience does he have other then suing people? Do you honestly think employing an office clerk and a couple of paralegals is difficult? And what "life" experience does Chuck have that Weston doesn't? His dad has no more to do with Weston's life anymore then George Bush had with W. My dad, while I love and respect him, had no impact on the decisions I made after I graduated high school and joined the Navy. You are deranged.

Your analysis of the Thurman situation is laughable.

July 3, 2014 at 12:14 p.m.


Agreement: Often difficult, but, ultimately possible.

Malleus Deum

July 3, 2014 at 1:07 p.m.
timbo said...

GaussianInterger...Laugh all you want...let's see who has the last laugh. You have no facts whatsoever to base you "opinion" on. At least I did some research.

The fact that you think there is no difference in Chuck and Little Wamp's experience is absurd and immature. Turn off Nickelodeon for a day or two.

Let's do a little comparison:

Age: Chuck 51 Little Wamp 26 Children: Chuck 2 Little Wamp 0 Education: Chuck - Chuck received his undergraduate degree in political science from the University of Illinois in 3 years. He received both Phi Beta Kappa and Magna Cum Laude honors. He then went to the University of Tennessee law school where he received his Doctor of Jurisprudence. (Pretty impressive)

Little Wamp - Graduated from UT with a business communications degree. (Ranked right up there with under-water basket weaving.)

Business experience:

Chuck ran a small collections business. Little Wamp - is a "founding member of the Lamp Post Group" whatever that is.

Now, I would think that someone who was about the age of Wamp when Wamp was born would have more life experience since he HAS LIVED 25 MORE YEARS. Raising a family and running a business is a little more experience than being a frat boy, party animal. How dumb could you be...

One more thing, I will tell you what Zack Wamp has to do with Little Wamp's life....without his name and donor list, Little Wamp would not even be a fart in the wind politically. The fact he thinks he is a big deal is reason enough not to elect him.

You are ignorant.

Now go ahead and call me a name...

July 3, 2014 at 1:12 p.m.
timbo said...

GaussianInterger...What? No snappy comback.....

July 3, 2014 at 1:39 p.m.
GaussianInteger said...

So older makes better candidate? That is the craziest thing I have ever heard. There are plenty of 20-somethings that are putting their lives on the line everyday for your freedom. They fly million-dollar aircraft, they pilot billion-dollar warships, they make life and death decisions. A 10-year-old could go to Washington and vote Yea for everything Boehner and Co. propose. It requires no thinking or "life experience". How funny that you give points to a candidate because they are older. Your post proved nothing except you know little when it comes to politics or life in general. Carry on old codger, your breed is dying out.

P.S. A "Political Science Degree" is as useful as a "Business Communications Degree" (or "basket weaving degree" as you called it) and I would suspect the Political Science degree would be easier to obtain. Actually, I would suspect one would easily find employment in their field with the Business Communications Degree.

July 3, 2014 at 3:05 p.m.
GaussianInteger said...

Snappy enough for you???

July 3, 2014 at 3:05 p.m.
sagoyewatha said...

Since light travels faster than sound, some people appear bright until you hear them speak.

July 4, 2014 at 12:38 p.m.
GaussianInteger said...

^And some people (like Chuck) disprove the whole "can't judge a book by it's cover". Dude looks like a putz and every word from his mouth is confirmation. I just want to know who directs his campaign commercials and feels Chuck wearing all of that lipstick is a good thing.

July 5, 2014 at 12:31 a.m.
fairmon said...

Wamp is a wimp, Chuck is a imp. None of the above is the best vote. The 11% approval rating of congress is too high and will not improve with any of the 3rd district candidates being there.

July 5, 2014 at 3:58 a.m.
fairmon said...

It is sad that no intelligent capable business person is willing to run for political office and be subject to all the BS that is part of the current political process. Voters respond to a name and politically generated news sound bites with little knowledge of what the issues or possible solutions are. News journalist are selecting who is elected with their opinion pieces and generally biased reporting.

July 5, 2014 at 4:04 a.m.
angieburton said...

I learned a lot from both candidates from encounters each of my teenage children had with each candidate during the previous election. My son was volunteering at a golf tournament to earn community service hours at school and Wamp came up and spoke to both my son and his friend for 15-20 minutes without once mentioning his name. My son had no idea who he was until he walked away and his friend told him. He just said he was extremely nice and friendly. (And clearly no motive to suck up to a couple 16-year olds who can't vote.)

Contrast that to Chuck who was a customer at my daughter's place of employment. When she was ringing him up, she asked his name so she could credit his reward points. He was totally appalled and taken aback that she didn't know who he was and said in a very condescending tone, "Fleischmann CHUCK FLEISCHMANN!" (Probably with much the same arrogant, angry demeanor he had in the debate. ) How do all you fans of our Congressman defend that type of disrespectful and narcissitic behavior?

July 5, 2014 at 9:46 p.m.


Both Candidates must seek the Holy Spirit of The Living God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel. Then, and, only then, will their vision for serving the people be clear.

Malleus Deum

July 6, 2014 at 7:07 p.m.
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