Election Central

Idaho CD2: Smith campaign trying to push 2008 bailout as an issue

In its continuing attempt to paint incumbent Republican Mike Simpson as less conservative than challenger Bryan Smith, the Smith campaign is reminding voters that Simpson voted in favor of the 2008 Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) —better known as the federal bailout.

“It’s clear Mike Simpson would vote to bailout Wall Street all over again if he had the chance, but at this point that’s sadly what we expect from Mike Simpson’s liberal record,” Carrie Brown, Smith’s campaign manager, said in a news release Wednesday.

Smith isn’t the first challenger to make a run at a Republican’s right flank using the incumbent’s pro-bailout vote. Simpson, for his part, doesn’t try to hide the fact that he was one of 91 House Republicans who voted in favor of the $700 million bailout, which President George W. Bush signed into law in October 2008.

At the time, Simpson said he was trying to avoid huge numbers of layoffs nationwide.

Simpson’s campaign also points out that he voted in early 2009 to cut the bailout in half and repay money already spent. That vote failed in a Democrat-controlled House.

The bailout’s original scope was narrowed significantly by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act of 2010.

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