Chamber of Commerce praises Lincoln for bill it opposed

The group's ad for Sen. Blanche Lincoln notes her support for "buy American" proposals -- which the group opposes

Published April 27, 2010 10:28PM (EDT)

An official at the AFL-CIO, which heavily favors Bill Halter in the Arkansas Democratic Senate primary, just e-mailed a note about Salon's earlier report that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce -- the massive business lobbying group -- is running ads supporting Sen. Blanche Lincoln there.

The ad specifically praises Lincoln for supporting bonuses for companies that manufacture their products in the United States. But the official, Eddie Vale, pointed out that the Chamber actually vehemently opposed "buy American" provisions in the stimulus bill last year -- and issued a report just a few months ago on the same theme.

"Unfortunately, our concerns with the Buy American provisions have been realized," the report says. "They are stunting job growth, slowing the initiation of projects, causing mass confusion, and creating an atmosphere of potential retaliation abroad."

Still, it's not clear whether Halter's campaign will be able to make much political hay out of the ad, which is, on the face of it, pretty inoffensive. One neutral Arkansas Democratic consultant told me Tuesday most voters there aren't paying close enough attention to politics to realize that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce isn't the same thing as the local folks who represent the businesses up the street. But the chamber's involvement probably will guarantee more help for Halter from unions, who battle the chamber constantly.

By Mike Madden

Mike Madden is Salon's Washington correspondent. A complete listing of his articles is here. Follow him on Twitter here.

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2010 Elections Bill Halter Blanche L. Lincoln D-ark. Blanche Lincoln Vs. Bill Halter