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Cites advocacy for Fannie Mae, stock in AIG

By John C. Drake

Globe Staff / October 9, 2008

Republican Senate candidate Jeff Beatty tried to tie incumbent Democrat John Kerry to the economic crisis yesterday, saying Kerry failed the state in the 1990s by advocating for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to enter the subprime mortgage market.
Beatty also denounced Kerry for owning stock in the insurer AIG and for accepting campaign contributions from people employed on Wall Street and other sectors of the financial industry.
"He seems to be taking care of his political interest, and he seems to be taking care of special interests," Beatty, a national security consultant from Harwich, said at a press conference at the State House. "I don't see where he's taking care of the interests of the people of Massachusetts."
AIG received an $85 billion bailout from the Federal Reserve last month, and the government took over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to keep the mortgage giants from failing.
Beatty resurrected a 1999 article in a now-defunct journal called "Mortgage-Backed Securities Letter" about a letter Kerry wrote to regulators urging Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to expand their role in the subprime market, even though Kerry in the letter also called for safeguards and transparency in the industry.
Beatty also said Kerry was compromised when he blocked legislation in 2000 that would have stripped $150 million in Big Dig-related funding from AIG because disclosures show Kerry personally owns about $2 million in AIG stock.
"This to me is a serious conflict of interest," Beatty said, calling on Kerry to sell his AIG stock and donate some $44,000 in campaign contributions from employees of AIG, most of which was received in 2004 during his presidential campaign, to homeowners facing foreclosure. "He has certainly earned the title of Senator 'Cash and Kerry.' "
Kerry campaign spokeswoman Brigid O'Rourke dismissed the allegations. She said Kerry never did favors for AIG.
"In case Jeff Beatty hasn't noticed, that AIG stock he's talking about isn't looking so hot these days - sort of like his favorite baseball team, the New York Yankees," O'Rourke said. "Instead of playing phony political games with Jeff Beatty, John Kerry would rather concentrate on the work he's been doing for our state's troubled homeowners."
In his uphill battle to knock off the Bay State's 24-year incumbent junior senator, Beatty has recycled previous attacks on Kerry from his presidential run in 2004 and his just-finished primary campaign.
Beatty faces long odds. Recent polls conducted by the research firms Rasmussen Reports and SurveyUSA show Kerry holding more than a 30-point lead over his challenger. The two will face off in a pair of debates before the Nov. 4 election, one radio exchange on WTKK-FM and a televised debate on NECN.

· MassCops Angel
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Beatty hammers Kerry on Iraq vote

Allegations traded in first debate

Kerry attacks Beatty's record in first debate(NECN: John Moroney) - Incumbent Senator John Kerry and his challenger Republican businessman Jeff Beatty squared off in their only televised debate. Beatty criticized Senator John Kerry for backing a federal economic bailout bill that he said...


Republican Jeff Beatty used his first debate with US Senator John F. Kerry last night to mount a flurry of attacks, pointedly charging that the 24-year Democratic incumbent has "blood on his hands" because of his 2002 vote to authorize the Iraq war.

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More coverage of campaign '08

The comment, in the live debate on NECN, came as Beatty admonished Kerry for laughing off his suggestion that Kerry voted to authorize the war to bolster his 2004 run for president.
"I would not have gone into Iraq," Beatty said. "Don't laugh, It's not a joke . . . You knew when you voted for that war that we didn't have what we needed to go to war and you didn't care because it was all about getting elected president.
"You've got blood on your hands for 500 Massachusetts families who have had a loved one wounded or killed, over 80 killed, and you voted for that war because your advisers told you, vote for it. It will help you get elected president."
Kerry called the remark insulting.
"It's frankly really disgusting," he said. "I never would have voted for political purposes."
Kerry, who is seeking a fifth term, holds a commanding lead over Beatty, a former Army Delta Force officer, FBI counterterrorism consultant, and CIA agent who has never held public office. Polls released this month by Rasmussen and SurveyUSA show Kerry with a lead exceeding 30 points.
Kerry, a Vietnam veteran, did not let Beatty's assaults go unanswered.
At one point, he hammered Beatty to be specific about his healthcare proposals, asking him about half a dozen times in succession, "Do you have a plan? Do you have a plan?"
In another memorable exchange, Beatty yesterday said he favored a state ballot measure that would require the state to repeal the income tax, a move state and town leaders have said would slash 40 percent of the state's revenue and cripple state services.
"We'll be able to find other ways to make sure essential programs go forward," Beatty said. "I see this as a needed stimulus for every family. I also see it as a way to bring jobs."
Kerry said the measure would be calamitous for communities in the state and said the state has outlived its reputation for high taxation, saying it is now in the middle of the pack nationally.
"You know what they replace [the income tax] with? The property tax," Kerry said. "We're not the highest. The old 'Taxachusetts' thing does not apply to Massachusetts today."
Beatty was trounced by US Representative William D. Delahunt two years ago. He became the party's Senate nominee this year after the preferred candidate of top state Republicans, Jim Ogonowski, failed to collect enough signatures for the ballot.
The 56-year-old from Harwich previously ran a security consulting firm called Total Security Services International, which he launched in 1992 after retiring from the CIA. He has since stepped down from the firm to focus on his political run.
Beatty clearly relished the chance last night to go toe-to-toe with Kerry, whom he said he was meeting yesterday for the first time. Kerry several times mispronounced his opponent's name as BAY-tee. It's pronounced BEE-tee.
Beatty came out swinging, hitting Kerry in the hour-long debate's first segment over campaign contributions he has received from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac employees and his wife's one-time ownership of AIG stock. Beatty said he would have opposed the federal bailout of Wall Street, adding that because of Kerry's ties to firms responsible for the economic crisis, he had a conflict of interest in voting for it.
"People are incensed about this bailout," Beatty said. "You kick the can down the road just so you can get past the election so you can go out and campaign with Barack Obama just to be secretary of state."
Kerry did not respond yesterday to the charge he was seeking a Cabinet post, but in the past he has said he is only interested in being a senator.
"I know Jeff's been running all over the state talking about AIG," Kerry said. "He needs to get his facts straight. That's part of being a senator."
Kerry said a firm handling his wife's finances once held AIG stock but that the family no longer has a stake in the troubled insurance giant.
Kerry too seemed to enjoy the joust, saying at one point he didn't mind answering a question Beatty interrupted him to ask. "I'm more than happy to dance with him," he said.
A second debate is scheduled for Oct. 27 on radio station WTKK 96.9 FM.
Kerry knocked off Democratic primary challenger Ed O'Reilly in the September state primary, garnering nearly 70 percent of the vote in his first primary challenge in his 24 years in office. Beatty's accusation that Kerry's war vote was a political calculation also was lobbed by O'Reilly in the candidates' lone primary debate.
While Beatty has been on the offensive, Kerry has offered just a smattering of jabs in the campaign, accusing Beatty of overcharging taxpayers for bomb-resistant trash cans for the MBTA when he was serving as a counterterrorism consultant for the transit agency.
In a lighter vein, he has even accused Beatty of being a Yankees fan. That allegation stems from a picture of an injured Beatty following a hostage rescue mission in Grenada. Beatty says medical officers put the Yankees cap on his head to cover a suture. He says he is a proud member of Red Sox Nation.
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