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McCain Campaigns For Roberts, Labels Orman a Democrat

(Cody Newill/KCUR)

U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts went on the defense with the D-word Wednesday, labeling Independent Greg Orman a Democrat and calling on voters to look at Orman’s Democratic donations.

Playing to party faithful at the Johnson County Republican headquarters, Sen. John McCain, a Republican from Arizona, railed against Orman, who ran as a Democrat in 2006, as a President Obama-loving Democrat.

"He's a Democrat,” McCain said. “He walks like a duck, and he quacks like a duck, and he is a duck.”

Roberts, who is trailing Orman in the polls, also came out swinging with a new anti-Orman website, entitled “The Real Orman,” headlining his donations to Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Hillary Clinton.

Orman has donated to both parties, with the majority going to Democrats. He has given to U.S. Sen. Scott Brown, a Republican from Massachusetts, and U.S. Rep. Todd Akin, a Missouri Republican, the Kansas City Star reported.

Meanwhile, Orman continued his campaign against Congressional gridlock. In a taped interview with KTWU in Topeka, Orman said if elected, he would caucus with the party that is making progress.

"To say to both parties, we need you to focus on a pro-problem-solving agenda. We need you to address issues that matter to the American people and not hide from those issues. So things like healthcare and higher education affordability. We need you to address those issues," Orman said in the interview set to air Thursday.

McCain was the second heavy-hitter Roberts brought to Kansas this week. He campaigned in the outer parts of the state with former Sen. Bob Dole, a Kansas Republican who remains popular with Democrats and Republicans. Sarah Palin, the former McCain vice presidential candidate, is expected to appear in Independence, Kan., on Thursday, and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush will headline a rally in Wichita next week, according to The Hill.

Patrick Miller, a University of Kansas assistant political science professor, said it looks like Roberts is trying to appeal to every kind of GOP voter.

“It’s almost like throwing the kitchen sink at the problem,” Miller said. “That hopefully, from the Roberts perspective, one of these big names will appeal to an undecided moderate Republican there or an undecided conservative over here."

But if the speeches were aimed at rallying the party faithful, the event served to disappoint many of the folks who waited outside the front doors of the building. Roberts and McCain slipped in the back and later left out the back door.

David Baehr of Overland Park said he was a longtime Republican who loved to see Dole when he came to town. Baehr, 87, said he last saw Dole in an appearance at the Black & Veatch campus and he pulled up in a big van, waving and talking to the crowd.

"Those stinkers," Baehr said when he heard Roberts and McCain went in the back. "I guess it's different now. Good heavens."

I’m a veteran investigative reporter who came up through newspapers and moved to public media. I want to give people a better understanding of the criminal justice system by focusing on its deeper issues, like institutional racism, the poverty-to-prison pipeline and police accountability. Today this beat is much different from how reporters worked it in the past. I’m telling stories about people who are building significant civil rights movements and redefining public safety. Email me at lowep@kcur.org.
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