Cochran says record brings state credit

Published 10:45 am Tuesday, May 27, 2014

By The Associated Press

BATESVILLE – U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran says he wants to continue using his status as a top member of the Appropriations Committee to support federal projects such as military bases, university research and agriculture projects in Mississippi.

Cochran, who was first elected to the Senate in 1978 after six years in the House, is being challenged by second-term state Sen. Chris McDaniel in the June 3 Republican primary.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The contest has been dominated recently with news about a Mississippi blogger photographing Cochran’s wife in the nursing home where she has lived the past 13 years with dementia. However, both candidates have said repeatedly that they want to discuss issues.



The Associated Press recently interviewed both candidates. Here are excerpts from the interview with Cochran, which was done April 25 outside a tire warehouse he toured in Batesville:

AP: Your opponent, Chris McDaniel says you are responsible for creating a huge debt in this country. What is your response?

Cochran: “There is a large federal debt, and I think that is a danger to continued economic growth and prosperity. So, we have to be cautious and careful how we deal with it. A certain amount of debt is acceptable, I think. And the experts provide testimony at hearings every year when we’re reviewing federal requests from the federal government for spending funds to continue to operate their departments. And it’s always a question about how much money do they really need, and are there ways to economize in government – like families have to economize when times get tough. And the answer is, they should be required to live within their means and within the limits of funding that are prescribed by Congress.”

AP: McDaniel and several other people spoke at a Tea Party Express event outside the state Capitol. They said you are too liberal and are out of touch with Mississippi. How do you respond?

Cochran:“I disagree with the criticism that my opponent is making of my service in the Senate. But I think I’ve acquitted myself with due diligence and have performed in a way that reflects credit on our state. I’ve been elected to leadership positions in the United States Senate by others who serve in the Senate from other states. I’ve been honored to have senior positions on committees like Appropriations…. I’ve actually chaired the committee when the Republicans were in the majority, and I look forward to that opportunity again. In being in a position like that, I can certainly use my influence to help maintain an appropriate level of funding for federal agencies and departments while still making sure that we’re getting what we pay for at the federal level and really don’t have wasteful, ineffective use of taxpayer dollars.”

AP: The day you announced for re-election, you told the AP that you do intend to serve a full six-year term, if re-elected. Is that still the case?

Cochran:“I sure hope, if I am alive and well, I’ll be serving. Yes, I think that’s something the people have a right to expect, and I intend to serve a full term.”

AP:How is your health?

Cochran: “I’m doing fine. I’m real lucky.”

AP: Do you intend to debate Sen. McDaniel?

Cochran: “I don’t know what there is to debate. He obviously is going to criticize my record of service. We disagree on some of the issues. And there are probably some things that we can agree on. But he’s obviously, you know, trying to make me look bad by things he’s saying about my performance in the Senate. That’s part of the process. He’s wrong.”