Corker defends 'silly' remark, slams other U.S. Senators
Aug 6, 2013 05:05 PM
Reported By Chris Bundgaard, Reporter - bio | email
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. -
Republican U.S. Senator Bob Corker received an earful Tuesday as he began a three-day, eight-stop visit around Middle Tennessee, and he gave right back, including some unflattering portraits of fellow Washington lawmakers
As the senator shook hands at the noontime Rotary Club meeting in Murfreesboro Tuesday, a few of the members were not shy about telling Mr. Corker their opinion of him.
"I am a Republican and I am disappointed in you," said 69-year old Larry Kirk.
Another Rotarian at the table who said he was a Democrat told the senator, "Welcome to the party."
The senator suggested the criticism was because of his immigration reform support.
"I have a feeling that was the genesis of one of the comments I got coming in," he told the crowd of about 100-Rotarians. "I put together a border security amendment that Jan Brewer, the governor of Arizona, when it passed the Senate declared a victory in Arizona saying 'we finally have something in place.'"
While repeating opposition to the new health care law, Mr. Corker was also asked by radio talk show host Ralph Bristol to expand recent comments calling efforts to defund Obamacare by not funding government as "silly."
Corker said the program is mostly hinged to mandatory spending.
"So even if you shut down government next year over this issue, you would still have the program continuing on, a few components of it would not be funded, so yes, I think it's a very self defeating effort," added the senator.
Corker's office billed his appearance as a speech about his 150-page bill that would wind down the federal housing finance agencies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in five years by replacing it with a privately funded agency.
"But you do keep the 30-year mortgage, the liquidity around mortgages in place, but I do think we have hit the sweet spot as a starting place," Corker told reporters after the Murfreesboro speech.
The senator's first question from reporters dealt with his closing comments during the speech.
An audience member asked him about term limits, but during the answer Mr. Corker took a shot at unnamed Washington lawmakers.
"A lot of the people that you view from here as principled, by gosh they are out there, some of the new names that you see, I see them as the biggest politicians that ever landed in Washington." the senator said while adding that he sees speeches made from a highly visible place on the Senate floor.
"I get to watch people come down in the well, I watch these people who perhaps may be running for president, look around and see what everyone else is doing, and then decide."
After that closing comment at the Rotarian gathering, reporters pressed the senator to name names.
Mr. Corker laughed at one reporter asking at least for the initials of the presumed senators he targeted.
"I am not that smart, but I am not that stupid," chuckled the senator.
As for that original term limit question, the former Chattanooga mayor fled to that proverbial middle ground between term limited politicians and those around a lot longer.
"It's nice, if you want to know the truth, to have a senator around who was around when we were de-escalating from nuclear weapons if you understand what I mean, so I think a mix of the two is good," said Corker.
The senator finished by saying voters themselves impose term limits because "they decide, and I abide."
The senator also had stops in Columbia and Brentwood planned for Tuesday.
He is scheduled to be in Springfield, Hendersonville and Lebanon on Wednesday and wraps up his tour with speaking engagements in Nashville and Franklin on Thursday.