Curtis Coleman and the Small-Business Case vs. Democrats — ‘Top Line’ Candidate Corner

Feb 2, 2010 1:53pm

ABC News’ Rick Klein reports: Senate candidate Curtis Coleman, R-Ark., is seeking the Republican nomination to take on one of the most vulnerable Democrats up for reelection this year: Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark. On a day that President Obama is outlining new initiatives to boost lending to small businesses, Coleman visited us on the set of ABC’s “Top Line” to outline his case, from the perspective of the co-founder and former president of a small business:  “New loans will help, you know. But I think this is a double standard here because the administration has been talking about lending money to small businesses for a long time, but I can tell you that at the same time, federal regulators are going into banks and requiring such steep new reserves and resources to have on hand that they can’t lend money to small businesses,” Coleman told us. “I’d like to see the government withdraw and retract itself from being in our face and our pocketbooks and our offices. I think small businesses will thrive if we can get government out of our business and out of our face.” “We’ve got to redefine the role of government,” Coleman added. While Sen. Lincoln yesterday blasted the proposed cuts to agriculture programs in the president’s budget, saying they would hurt Arkansas farmers and rural communities, Coleman said such cuts are necessary — and said they’d be welcomed even by farmers. “I can tell you in Arkansas, the number one issue is the deficit and the debt. People are more concerned about the debt than any single issue in the state of Arkansas, because Arkansans understand that we are mortgaging our children’s future, and they understand that we’ve got to get this deficit spending under control. And the fact is its going to require discipline from every sector and every segment of government and society.” He added: “I gotta tell you, I think most farmers in Arkansas will agree that we’ve got to reduce the country’s debt, and we’ve got to stop this deficit spending, and I believe — in fact I know they’re the kind of people that have that kind of concern above all. They also need to repeal the death tax.” Coleman also said the National Republican Senatorial Committee is staying out of his primary, suggesting that national Republicans were stung by picking favorites in other contests. “I think they’re staying out of it completely. I think they understand — I think the Republican Party made some mistakes in Florida, and I think definitely in New York [in a special election for a House seat last year] and a few years ago in New Mexico, and I think they’re staying out of it. I think local voters like in Arkansas have a tendency to resent what they consider to be the interference of a national party, and I think they’re staying out of it completely.” Watch the full discussion with Coleman HERE.

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