U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, isn't pleased a political action committee has put him on a list of tea party targets to remove from the U.S. House, but said he expects big money will funneled into the Iowa 4th congressional district race in 2012.
"I've been convinced for a long time that there would be millions of dollars of SuperPacs that would come into this race," King said.
"This will be the most expensive congressional race, and probably the dirtiest one, this state has ever seen. I will learn things about me that I don't yet know, from watching the ads."
King has been elected five times in the current Iowa 5th congressional district, and his 2012 opponent in the redrawn 4th district is Democrat Christie Vilsack, a former Iowa first lady.
After he spoke at the Sioux City Downtown Rotary Club noon meeting, I spoke with King about an email that arrived in the morning from the CREDO SuperPac, a new progressive entity that is vowing to take down a Tea Party Ten (although only six are targeted at this point). King read through my printout, and lengthily went through a paragraph of CREDO reasons "King may be the most open bigot in Congress."
King rebutted many of the lines in the press release, beginning with the statement that he'd called former U.S. Sen. Joe McCarthy, who in the 1950s had investigated communist ties in the government, "a great American hero."
Said King, "That is false, right there. I didn't call Joe McCarthy a great American hero, I called him a hero for America. But that has been regurgitated through the left-wing websites with the wrong quote, and so they just lift it off there."
Another CREDO line was that during discussion of immigration policy, King compared immigrants to "livestock."
Said King, "See, that I did not do, that's their embellishment, that is not true. That is false, if you watch the tape, you know it is. They made that one up."
Another CREDO assertion was that King said requiring health insurers to cover birth control could make America a "dying civilization."
Retorted King: "What happens when people don't have babies anymore? You're a dying civilization, right? So they must be writing to people that can't think."
King looked with interest at the list of the other five congressmen targeted by the SuperPac.
"Sean Duffy (R-Wis.), good guy. Chip Cravaack (R-Minn.), good guy. Both of them bold and they will stand right in there. Allen West (R-Fla.), no doubt. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.), he is probably the boldest of them all. I've been over to help in his race in Chicago. He is the kind of person you want to send to Washington. Frank Guinta -- yeah, a good, solid conservative out of New Hampshire," King summarized.
"Why would leftists -- well, you know why leftists would want to beat this list of people."
CREDO announced money will be directed to mobilize people to "target the most extreme Tea Party Republicans in districts where grassroots organizing by progressive activists both online and in the field can narrow the gap between victory and defeat and retire some of the worst members of Congress." A Bleeding Heartland post summarizes that CREDO isn't planning broadcast ads, but hiring organizers to work in the districts of those targeted.
King said he was unsure if Republican-affiliated SuperPacs would come to his aid in the 4th district race.
"I wouldn't have any idea what, if anything, would come from any SuperPac on the Republican side. I don't have any communications with them, I can't even name them," he said.
King said "the baseless name-calling... makes it harder to do your job," since it steals time responding to political barbs at a time he's trying to push forward public policy pieces like reducing spending, passing a new Farm Bill and repealing federal health care reform.
"It just takes time away from doing things that are important," King said.