Bob Dole a Clown?
November 1, 2014

Washington Times:

Independent senate candidate Greg Orman, left, talks with a supporter before a campaign event in…
Did Greg Orman, the wealthy businessman running as an independent in the Kansas Senate race, really call Bob Dole, the 91 year-old Kansas Republican political legend, a “clown”? Orman’s remarks, just days before the midterm election, have set off a new round of sparring in his contentious race against incumbent Republican Sen. Pat Roberts.

It happened Friday, as Dole, along with fellow GOP luminaries Chris Christie and Haley Barbour, appeared at a Roberts campaign event. In recent days, other Republican bigwigs, including Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, Mike Pence, and Ted Cruz, have campaigned on Roberts’ behalf. So Orman was asked: What about the continuing series of national Republicans who have come to Kansas to campaign for the incumbent?

“It sort of seems like a Washington establishment clown car to me,” Orman answered, according to a transcript provided by his campaign. “You know, every day a new person comes out of that car. You know, ultimately we have gone out and we have brought our case to the voters of Kansas, and everywhere I go, I hear the same things. Kansans think Washington is broken.”

Not long after, Elahe Izadi, a Washington Post reporter covering Orman, tweeted: “Greg Orman referred to Clean Sweep GOP bus tour as a ‘Washington establishment clown car.'”

In the heat of a campaign, a Democrat, or even a self-styled independent like Orman, could probably get away with referring to Christie, et al, as occupants of a clown car. But Bob Dole? In Kansas? The Roberts campaign was quick to jump on Orman’s ill-chosen words. “If he wants to attack me, that’s fine because I’m used to being attacked by liberals,” Roberts said in a statement. “But Mr. Orman owes Sen. Dole an apology.”

Roberts campaign manager Corry Bliss called Orman’s words a “slimy attack” which revealed the independent candidate’s “true colors.” And then Dole himself reacted with a simple statement that bordered on bewilderment. “I don’t think I’ve ever been called a ‘clown’ before,” the World War II hero turned lawmaker and presidential candidate said. “I’m disappointed by Mr. Orman’s statement.”

Asked for reaction, the Orman campaign said Orman has said many favorable things about Dole and would never refer to the former Kansas senator as a clown. “Greg Orman has the utmost respect for Sen. Dole, and he obviously did not call him, or any other person, a ‘clown,'” said Orman campaign manager Jim Jonas in a statement. ”
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Roberts Up in One New Poll, Orman in the Other
October 27, 2014

CBS News/ NYT:
Pat Roberts 42%
Greg Orman 38%

NBC News/ Marist
Orman 45%
Roberts 44%

Orman & Roberts Clash in Debate III
October 16, 2014

(AP) – Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts called independent candidate Greg Orman’s support of abortion rights “unconscionable” during their last debate Wednesday and suggested that helping fellow Republicans recapture a Senate majority was the top issue in their race.

Orman countered by saying he trusts women to make decisions about their reproductive health care and accused the three-term GOP incumbent of spreading “falsehoods” about him in his campaign as a centrist. Orman said that if voters believe Washington is working well, “I’m not your guy.”

Republicans have won every U.S. Senate race in the state since 1932, but this year’s race has received national attention since Democrat Chad Taylor dropped out last month, making Roberts more vulnerable and jeopardizing the GOP’s drive to win a Senate majority.

Roberts continued his attempts to unify the party by portraying Orman as a close ally of President Barack Obama and U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, both Democrats.

“What this boils down to is: A vote for Pat Roberts is a vote for a Republican majority in the Senate,” Roberts said in his opening statement. “The No. 1 thing is to get a Republican majority in the United States Senate to end the gridlock and stop the Obama-Reid agenda.”

Orman responded that Roberts’ campaign is “making up facts” in tying him to Obama and Reid and said “numerous Republicans” have endorsed his campaign.

“I think we need to look past those falsehoods and pay attention to what the truth is,” Orman said.

The candidates sparred on numerous issues, including immigration and the economy, but one of their sharpest exchanges came over abortion.

Orman noted the decades of debate over abortion and said, “It prevents us from talking about other important issues, and what I’d like to see us do is start focusing on some of the big problems that we absolutely need to get our arms around if we’re going to preserve the American dream and our financial futures.”

Roberts, a strong abortion opponent, took issue with Orman’s remarks. “Get past the rights of the unborn?” Roberts said.

Later, he told Orman, “I think that’s unconscionable, Greg, I really do.”

In reply, Orman acknowledged abortion is an important issue. “I just think we’ve spent a lot of time as a country debating it, and it’s time to start debating other important issues as well,” he said.

At one point during the debate, Roberts lost his place. He also stumbled on several responses and appeared fixated on touting his endorsements.

On the issue of immigration, Orman said the country needs a policy that secures the border but is practical. He noted that many industries rely on immigrant labor and said the U.S. can’t just deport 11 million people.

Roberts, who has accused Orman of supporting amnesty for people living in the U.S. illegally, seemed to nonetheless agree with Orman, saying he never suggested the country deport 11 million people.

The two candidates had their third joint appearance in the studio at Wichita station KSN.

Afterward, Orman told reporters he hopes to send the message to other independents that they should run for public office.

Republicans need a net gain of six seats to regain control of the Senate, and it has always counted on the 78-year-old Roberts winning re-election. Orman is a wealthy 45-year-old Olathe businessman and co-founder of a private equity firm who touts his business experience.

Politco: Big Dollar PACS for Orman
October 10, 2014


A small group of free-spending wildcard donors, including investment tycoons Peter Ackerman and John Burbank, are rallying to support Greg Orman’s independent Senate campaign in Kansas. Michael Bloomberg and a Jonathan Soros-backed group are also considering entering the campaign on Orman’s behalf, POLITICO has learned.

It’s a dramatic twist for a candidate who staunchly opposes big money in politics but has been badly outspent on the airwaves after surging to a surprise lead over Republican Sen. Pat Roberts. The Roberts campaign and allied conservative groups including the Ending Spending Action Fund, the Koch-brothers-backed Freedom Partners Action Fund, the National Rifle Association and the National Republican Senatorial Committee combined to reserve $3.3 million in airtime between Labor Day and Election Day.

Orman’s campaign, by contrast, reserved $1.3 million for television and radio ads during that time period, according to ad tracking sources.

It appeared as if Orman might lack a natural big money constituency. The Democratic Party and its allied super PACs have mostly sat on the sidelines of the Kansas race, apparently unsure whether it’s worth investing in an independent candidate who has criticized both parties, and is not guaranteed to caucus with Democrats. That created the prospect that Orman, a wealthy private equity investor who has decried the role of big money in politics, might be dramatically outspent down the stretch.

Into the breach this week stepped a mysterious super PAC called the Committee to Elect an Independent Senate, which appears to have been created specifically to support Orman. It quickly reserved $220,000 in airtime, and began airing an ad praising Orman as a “bold, independent problem-solver,” who is “a businessman, not a career politician,” while blasting Roberts as “part of the Washington partisan mess.”

Felicia Knight, a spokeswoman for the super PAC, said it hasn’t determined its total budget because it’s still raising money. But she said it has received donations from Ackerman and Burbank, a pair who in 2012 combined to spend more than $1 million through the nonprofit group Americans Elect supporting Maine Independent Angus King’s successful Senate campaign.

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Roberts Spot Takes Advantage of Obama’s Speech
October 9, 2014