Bill Clinton Doesn't Worry Arkansas GOP Senate Hopeful
HOT SPRINGS VILLAGE, Ark. - Tom Cotton grew up watching the political rise of Bill Clinton. Today, as one of the country's top Republican prospects to take a Senate seat away from the Democrats, Cotton will be in Clinton's crosshairs.
But you won't hear Cotton say an ill word about Clinton. He needs some of those former Clinton supporters to vote for him if he's going to defeat Sen. Mark Pryor, a two-term Democrat.
Cotton is reserving his fire for President Obama.
"I'm not worried about Bill Clinton's support for Mark Pryor. I'm worried about Mark Pryor's support for Barack Obama," Cotton told ABC News. "And in the end, it's Mark Pryor who's on the ballot, not Bill Clinton. And it's Mark Pryor's support for Barack Obama's policies that Arkansans are going to be voting on."
Pryor faces a challenging political environment in Arkansas, a state where Obama lost by 25 points and has increasingly turned Republican. Six years ago, Pryor had no opposition, but now is one of the top Democratic targets in the country.
With the midterm elections one month away, Clinton is kicking off an aggressive campaign schedule back home in Arkansas. He is trying to persuade voters in Arkansas to send Pryor back to Washington, rather than electing Cotton.
Cotton grew up in a Democratic household, but today he's the new face of conservatism in Arkansas. His parents voted for Clinton, he said, so he uses them as an example for other voters he hopes to reach.
"My parents, you know, were Democrats for most of their lives. Voted for Bill Clinton on numerous occasions," Cotton said. "There are a lot of Arkansans who used to vote Democratic, but they realize now that the Obama Democrats simply don't represent Arkansas' conservative values."
Cotton is trying to link Pryor to Obama, mentioning him again and again at campaign stops and in television ads.
"Barack Obama said last week, I may not be on the ballot, but every single one of my policy's on the ballot and he's right about that," Cotton told a Republican audience here. "And if you want to find his name on the ballot this year, it's called Mark Pryor. And if you're happy with Barack Obama's policies, then Mark Pryor's your guy."