Chandler says Blue Dogs won't be extinct; He and Barr differ about how to add jobs

05/25/2012 03:47 PM

Democratic U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler said the ranks of centrists might be shrinking, but he expects conservative Blue Dog Democrats to remain a key force in Congress.

“Moderates are absolutely critical to the process if you ever want to get anything done in our governmental system,” Chandler said in an interview recorded Monday.

The Blue Dogs in the U.S. House have shrunk from 54 to 25. And with retirements and members who lost in Democratic primaries — plus potential losses in November — they appear to be an endanger species.

The 6th District Kentucky congressman who is up for re-election this year says the presidential election provides a good opportunity for moderates in Washington to benefit from the political divide.

Chandler said federal investment in infrastructure could spur short term job growth.

“If you create jobs you will actually effect the deficit in a positive way,” Chandler said (at 2:15).

The congressman argued that President Barack Obama’s approach to creating jobs has been right – but perhaps haven’t worked as quickly as he’d like. He said those policies are preferable to the Republicans’ approach.

“They’re trying to burn everything down to a large extent. Cuts and tax cuts for big oil companies for big businesses and cutting other programs. That’s very similar to what the Bush people did,“Chandler said (5:20).

Chandler also explained his position on gay marriage after Obama announced he favored allowing gay couples to marry (10:25).

Lexington Attorney Andy Barr — who handily won the Republican primary race on Tuesday earning him the rematch with Chandler — said the economy and jobs are a top concern for Republicans in this election year too. But he said he prefers an approach that involves shrinking government.

“The policies of Barack Obama and Ben Chandler in Washington are not working. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Republican or a Democrat – what matters is that they don’t have jobs and we’ve got to get the American people back to work,” Barr said.

The 2012 election will be a rematch of 2010 where Chandler won that race by less than 650 votes. The 6th district has since been redrawn and in our analysis the 6th now favors Democrats by at least one percentage point.

Barr says his strategy in this election has not changed, and looking ahead he points to job growth as a platform for his campaign.

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Pure Politics airs Monday through Friday at 7 p.m. ET and again at 11:30 p.m. ET in all of cn|2's Kentucky markets. The program features political analysis and news, as well as interviews with officials, candidates, policy makers and political observers.


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