Oberstar’s outbursts during debate highlight his reckless record

DULUTH — At a debate today, 18-term incumbent Congressman Jim Oberstar boastfully defended his record of wasteful run-away spending which has caused our nation’s debt to skyrocket. Conversely, Chip Cravaack laid out his vision for a better Minnesota and more prosperous America. In front of an energized crowd of more than 1,800 at the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center, Cravaack explained his plan to create jobs, stop tax hikes, and eliminate pork-barrel spending in Washington.

“It’s disappointing that Congressman Oberstar once again showed how out of touch he is with Minnesotans in the eighth district,” said Cravaack, a 24-year Navy veteran. “His behavior today is what’s wrong with Washington and why Minnesotans believe Congressman Oberstar has lost his way.”

Throughout the debate, Congressman Oberstar repeatedly scolded those in attendance. In fact, he shouted to audience members who disagreed with him and arrogantly called them “members of the Flat Earth Society.” When asked about the stimulus, Congressman Oberstar repeatedly said “the federal government creates jobs.” When asked about ObamaCare, he angrily pointed at the audience claiming their health care is better after this law. When asked about his steadfast support for the cap-and-trade national energy tax and America’s Commitment to Clean Water Act, Congressman Oberstar replied: “If you want clean water, join the Supreme Court.”

During the spirited debate, Cravaack explained to a standing ovation that the federal government does not create jobs, the private sector does. Regarding ObamaCare, Cravaack said repealing this fatally-flawed law would be one of his top priorities in Congress. And Cravaack assured the audience he would oppose the job-killing cap-and-trade national energy tax.

When asked about his vote in September to adjourn for the year – which failed to allow a vote to stop a massive $3.9 trillion job-killing tax increase on all Americans on Jan. 1, 2011 – Congressman Oberstar erroneously denied it.

“Congressional Republicans and more than 30 House Democrats were calling for a vote to extend the tax cuts for working families and small businesses yet Congressman Oberstar voted to adjourn, which left the $3.9 trillion tax increase on the table,” Cravaack said. “The tax hikes Congressman Oberstar voted for would adversely impact 75 percent of small business owners that file taxes and individual rates – the same small business owners responsible for nearly two-thirds of private sector job creation.”

Cravaack looks forward to debating Congressman Oberstar again on Friday, Oct. 22 at 7:00 p.m. at Itasca Community College in Grand Rapids.

For weeks, Congressman Oberstar refused to confirm to participate in Tuesday’s debate in Duluth. But after the Duluth News Tribune published an editorial highlighting his refusal to explain his record to voters, the 18-term Congressman reneged and participated in the debate. His decision preceded a poll that showed Cravaack within 3 points of Oberstar, a strong position for a challenger going into the final stretch of the race. The poll was conducted by Public Opinion Strategies, a national firm who polls for the Wall Street Journal and NBC News.

Cravaack is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy and served in the U.S. Navy and Naval Reserve for 24 years during which he served at the Pentagon and NATO. After retiring from the Navy, he flew commercially for Northwest Airlines and served as a union representative for the Air Line Pilots Association. Cravaack lives with his wife and two young sons in Lindstrom and was president of the local Parent Teacher Organization.

11 Responses

Debbie Nelson

Your Comments I watched the debate tonight on MY9. It confirmed what I already knew, that Oberstar believes he knows what is best and our opinion doesn’t matter. I lost any faith I had in him when he voted for the health care reform bill. Most people I knew were against it, and called to voice their opinion. I also called and sent an email pleading with him not to vote for it, it all fell on deaf ears, never even got a response. Watching him tonight makes me wonder why I even bothered to try, he obviously thinks he knows whats best for me and my family, and doesn’t need to hear it from us. I will be at the voting booth this November and I hope he hears me loud and clear! Thank you for giving your time and talent to make a difference in our lives. Keep it up! You’ve got a lot of people on your side.

Debbie Nelson
Embarrass, MN

Kristina Anderson

So, (according to Oberstar) I’m a “member of the Flat Earth Society” ? Wow, that’s news to me ! Well, at least now I have a name for the world I live in — a world ruled from above by Prince Jimmy, where he makes the rules but he doesn’t have to live by them. Guess what, “Prince James”? There’s no more blood in this turnip! More & more, the private sector has to struggle against the government sector just to keep going. When Prince Jimmy first went to DC it wasn’t like that. But since then, the Federal leech has grown large & fat, while the private sector it lives off of, grows smaller & weaker. We cannot sustain this federal government. It’s a financial impossibility. If Prince Jimmy wants to help his constituents, let him put his money where his mouth is: he should donate his swollen pension — in the form of grants, not loans — to the small businesses of the 8th CD of MN. For many of them, a micro-grant of $1,000 or less would make a big difference, and Prince James wouldn’t even notice it was gone. He doesn’t live here, anyway.

& especially:


Most newspapers seem to say that it was an evenly split crowd. I was there; it was 2/3 for Cravaack and 1/3 for Oberstar.

Joshua Nuckols
Pine City, MN

Peggy Albert

Your Comments- Dear Mr Cravaack – Thank you being willing to represent us in Congress. You have given me hope that there still may be some level headed people willing to pursue public office. I live on the Iron Range and have been married to my husband for 30 years. We own our home and I run a small business from there. We pay our taxes and our bills and are tired of carrying our share while those we send to Washington seem awful quick to not pay theirs or ensure that others do too.

I believe you can make a real difference in the policy decisions in our state and hopefully in Congress as a whole. Your tone of respectful disagreement and a clear direction for change will make a difference on election day. You can count on our two votes and I am sure the votes of many or our neighbors.

Looking forward… with hope.


Capt. Cravaack: The tide has turned. I am convinced you are going to come out ahead in November, and here’s why:

My mother, a dyed in the wool DFL’r, who would would have voted for Stalin himself if he ran on the DFL ticket, had nothing but great things to say about you! (She met you at an event, and talked to you, but since her hearing aid wasn’t working very well, she didn’t hear your name until afterwards!) She said you were so polite and considerate, and was gushing about you!

After I picked myself up off the floor (all 6 of her children lean to the right…) I walked away with the belief that she is actually going to vote for you! And, if she does, Oberstar is going to join the (soon to be shrinking) ranks of the unemployed, because if you won her over, you’ve won the district over!

Looking forward to changing the “Capt” Cravaack to “Congressman” Cravaack!

Beat Army!

Hermantown, MN

Kim Eisenhuth

I am so fired up for this election and you Mr. Cravaack are one of the reasons. Mr. Oberstar looked like such an angry, defensive man during the debate, while you presented your ideas in a very calm and logical manner. Mr. Oberstar faced the voters’ anger he had been avoiding for 2 years while avoidling any public contact except for union meetings and picnics and I think he was shocked. Keep up the good work–your message is resonating–even here on the Iron Range. Hope to make it to Grand Rapids on Fri.


I believe that there were ‘two’ debates in Duluth on Monday morning: the one described by the news media and bloggers as being an Oberstar dominated debate, rudely jeered at by the Cravaack crowd as the incumbent was demeaned; the other one in which Oberstar himself insulted the early morning crowd who had traveled very early to reinforce their disallusionment with the status quo and government-dominated future of America.
Isn’t it ironic that the senator who had initially refused to participate, perhaps foreseeing the handwriting on the wall that he might be challenged, determined in the heat of the moment to shout down the crowd of dissenters, insult their intelligence, and uphold the status quo?
News reporting can skew reality. I suggest we all tune in for a debate ‘replay’ on the local stations at 7 pm Friday night, October 22.
Then decide for yourself.

Lynn Legas

Your Comments
To everyone in the 8th district of Minnesota. I write this to you from Virginia,
where all these “lifetime” politicians, who “know what’s best for us”, live right up the road. You are sending a clear message with Chip Cavaack! We need more like him! I can’t vote in your district but even I’m OVER OBER(STAR) and politicians like him!

Lynn Legas
Richmond, VA

Barrney Peet

The Duluth debate made the national news. I have been calling the Oberstar office for months about the neg impacts of the healthcare bill, cap and tax, and all the other spending plans. One staffer called me un-American and I should move out of the USA. I THOUGHT Oberstar had just lost touch… Or his mind but the news clips show the Truth he is one of Congressmen that thinks he is right and we the voters are wrong. It was very sad. TIME FOR CHANGE!!!

Shirley Hanson

Your Comments I’m listening to the Duluth debate as it is being shown tonight. I listened to your comment about trying to set up a town meeting with Mr. Oberstar to discuss the health care bill and being told he was too busy. In September 2005 while walking the picket line with my husband, a Northwest mechanic for 25 years, I contacted Mr. Oberstar’s Duluth office. I told them I was aware that he was going to be in town for the Labor Day picnic and asked if he could possibly come to the picket line and meet with the mechanics. I was also told that he was too busy and didn’t have time. Things haven’t changed, I see.

Rich Harri

I listened to the debate on MY9 and my opinion of Oberstar’s arrogance was reinforced. I have emailed his office about excessive Haitian aid over tending to the financial needs in his own district was disregarded. I have emailed his office as well about other issues that concern me to get a very terse response or no response at all. He is ready to be put out to pasture as he has been too entrenched in the “Good Old Boys Club” of Washington DC for much, much too long. He has out-lived his usefullness to the 8th Congressional District and needs to step aside.

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