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Feingold Rips Johnson On TPP Trade Deal Stance

Pro-Johnson Super PAC Plans Ads Attacking Feingold On National Security

Russ Feingold
Gage Skidmore (CC-BY-SA)

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Russ Feingold used a speech at a union gathering Monday to attack Republican incumbent Ron Johnson on trade, saying Johnson knows where he stands on the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal but he’s keeping it secret from voters.

“He just doesn’t want to accept the fact that people have figured out these are raw deals,” Feingold told American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations leaders in Madison, saying Johnson had supported other trade agreements in the U.S. Senate and would vote for this one if given the chance.

Feingold said trade deals had “betrayed” the people of Wisconsin and created a “dark spiral” in communities where businesses shipped jobs overseas.

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“I really believe it doesn’t have to be that way and frankly it must not be that way,” Feingold said. “And in my view, it doesn’t matter if it’s a Democrat president or a Republican president. They want to shove through one of these deals, I’m going to oppose it if it’s another corporate handshake.”

Johnson spokesman Brian Reisenger said Johnson was basing his review of the TPP on discussions with Wisconsin families, farmers and small businesses.

“Sen. Feingold is a career politician who has never created a job, and now he’s jumping to conclusions based on incomplete information – without allowing anyone to give him input on the thousands of pages of this complex deal,” said Reisinger.

Feingold also highlighted his support for a bill to allow student loan borrowers to refinance their debt, saying it was the issue he heard most about on the campaign.

“This to me is a denial of the American dream,” Feingold said, calling student loan debt a drag on the U.S. economy.

Pro-Johnson super PAC to begin airing attack ad

Meanwhile, a super PAC supporting Johnson announced it’s planning a $500,000 TV ad buy this week attacking Feingold’s record on national security, saying Feingold had made himself vulnerable on the issue.

Speaking to reporters on a conference call Monday, Curt Anderson with the group Let America Work said Feingold sounded like a “phony” when he touted his own national security record in a recent TV ad.

“He’s got the record of a peacenik or a ’60s campus protester, and I don’t think that’s what the voters are looking for right now,” Anderson said.

Feingold disputed the claim Monday, telling reporters he’s talking about national security because he has a plan to deal with it.

“Sen. Johnson talks about this issue when there’s a tragedy and goes on Fox News, but he has no plan to deal with it,” Feingold said. “I do.”

Feingold said his plan calls for attacking Islamic State group leaders with special forces and for cutting off the terrorist group’s oil supplies. He also said he wants to put pressure on countries like Saudi Arabia, which he said have enabled an “extreme philosophy” in the Middle East.

Anderson said Let America Work would unveil its ad later this week.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated with additional reporting, including statements from Brian Reisenger and Curt Anderson.

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