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September 27, 2010 at 4:22 PM

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Patty on Dino on Boeing

Posted by Bruce Ramsey

In a new ad, Sen. Patty Murray has charged Dino Rossi with not caring about Boeing jobs, which is ridiculous. The ad goes like this:

Announcer: Illegal foreign subsidies are threatening Boeing jobs, putting the Air Force tanker contract in jeopardy. When Dino Rossi was asked if he thought Boeing workers should have a level playing field, he said…

Dino Rossi: No, not as far as I’m concerned.

Announcer: Dino doesn’t get it… He doesn’t care enough about our jobs going overseas. Dino Rossi - just not on our side.

Sen. Murray: I ’m Patty Murray and I sponsored this ad because the men and women who defend our country should be flying planes built in America.

This ad pulled a Rossi quote out of context. He said it in an editorial board at the Tacoma News Tribune. Here is how it went:

QUESTION: On the issue of trade, I wanted to ask Mr. Rossi about WTO rulings that have come out both against the EU and the US - and I realize we’re still sorting out the U.S. and how bad that may be. But if it does come out as it appears, at least from the US side, that Airbus got harder than Boeing did, do you believe that should have a factor - be a factor in the awarding of the tanker contract?

ROSSI: We need to fight for the tanker contract no matter what. The ruling, how it ever comes out - the reality is that the Boeing company since 1977 has lost 30,000 jobs in our state and we have to make sure we fight hard for that. You know, I’ve had a family member working continuously for the Boeing company since World War II and I - talk about a Boeing family, you want to talk about a Boeing family. And unfortunately there - this is, I think, where we - where I divert from Senator Murray on a number of different things. The Boeing company, they don’t want things like - that Senator Murray’s sponsoring such as card check, which is eliminating the secret ballot for unions. They don’t want the $150 million tax increase that they calculate as going to be coming from the health care bill. These are the sorts of things that are going to hurt the Boeing company.

I will be there. I will fight the, obviously fight for jobs. The reality is that we have to make sure that we have the right playing field to do that. And I will be, you know - strong on those issues.

Q: When you say “fight for it,” and “you want a level playing field” - I’m not still understanding if you’re saying that that WTO ruling should have a factor in the tanker bid?

ROSSI: No, not as far as I’m concerned, no.

Is the questioner asking about the WTO ruling against Airbus earlier this year or the WTO ruling against (and also for) Boeing just released? The question is not clear. The Boeing ruling is news; the Airbus ruling isn’t, so it’s more likely the questioner is talking about the Boeing ruling, and that Rossi is saying that it not be a reason to deny the contract to Boeing.

Rossi’s spokeswoman said that’s what he meant. The Murray campaign assumed otherwise, and issued a statement that began this way:

Seattle, WA , Sept. 20- Instead of standing up for Washington state Boeing workers as Senator Patty Murray has always done, constant candidate Dino Rossi today said that illegal, job-killing WTO subsidies given to Airbus should NOT be taken into account in awarding the next Air Force tanker contract.

The next day, a Rossi spokeswoman was asked whether Rossi would have the Air Force ignore the French subsidies to Airbus as well as the U.S. subsidies to Boeing. (The USAF has said it is ignoring both rulings, but nobody was asking them.) And the Rossi spokeswoman said she'd have to ask Rossi.

Which was reasonable. If the spokeswoman doesn't know, she shouldn't make stuff up. The Murray camp immediately put out a press release saying:

“Dino Rossi’s first instinct was to throw Washington workers under the bus and even upon reflection he’s not so sure whether job-killing subsidies should be considered in the tanker bids. He doesn’t understand or doesn’t care..."

And then the Murray camp went on the air with their ad accusing Rossi of not caring about Washington workers.

This is nonsense. Dino Rossi did not express an uncaring sentiment; he was for Boeing "no matter what." And further: as a senator from Washington he would have to be. No senator from Washington, Democrat or Republican, would put the interests of France, Spain and the U.K. ahead of the Boeing Company.

The senator's ad is dishonest. It is preposterous.

In slamming Murray's ads, I am not defending Rossi’s. He has one that blames Sen. Murray for Boeing setting up 787 assembly plant in South Carolina, and also for moving its headquarters from Seattle to Chicago, implying that it was her job to prevent those acts. They were corporate acts, and Murray cannot be blamed for them. Nor could any other senator. So those, in my view, are misleading. But they are not as grossly malicious as the Murray ads.

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