U.S. Senate candidate Thom Tillis stepped up his attacks on incumbent Sen. Kay Hagan at a rally in Fayetteville on Thursday night, flanked by North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley.
Tillis recited his standard list of complaints about the Democratic senator, then threw in a few new zingers.
Referring to the televised debate earlier this month, Tillis said Hagan had failed to point to anything she had accomplished during her first term in office.
“She would pivot and spin like a top on any question she was asked,” Tillis said.
Saying that proposed new Environmental Protection Agency regulations limiting carbon emissions from power plants are an “overreach” that would substantially increase utility bills, Tillis criticized Hagan for doing nothing more than writing a letter to the EPA asking to extend the public comment period.
“Folks, we need a senator not a pen pal,” he said.
His remarks were made to a receptive crowd of more than 200 at an event for GOP candidates at a venue in downtown Fayetteville, dubbed “Bluegrass, Blue Jeans and Boots on the Ground.”
McCrory was a surprise guest at the event. Both governors joined Tillis earlier in the day at a private fundraising event.
Haley said she came because McCrory asked her to, saying it was the only campaigning she was doing outside the state, noting she has her own re-election effort underway. On Tuesday, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie campaigned with Tillis in Wilmington.
Afterward, talking with reporters, Tillis said Thursday’s U.S. Senate vote to support President Barack Obama’s plan to train and equip moderate Syrian rebels was insufficient. Many Senate Democrats anticipate further discussion after the mid-term elections. The vote to give the president the authority to train and arm the rebels was tied to a measure to keep the federal government funded through mid-December.
“That’s a half measure to give President Obama and Kay Hagan cover while they kick the can down the road,” Tillis said. “There’s more comprehensive strategy that’s come out of the House that they should be considering.”
The House on Wednesday approved the president’s plan with the majority of the support coming from Republicans. The Senate approved it Thursday.
Asked if he would support arming Syrian rebels, Tillis said: “We’ve got to know who these people are, and if they [the weapons] go anywhere they don’t get into unfriendly hands.”
Update: Hagan’s campaign spokesman Chris Hayden issued this response Friday morning:
“Speaker Tillis has done nothing but play politics and spit talking points when it comes to recent issues of national security, and North Carolinians deserve to know how he would have voted on the bipartisan bill. Kay has made it clear that we need to take action to root out ISIS, but Speaker Tillis’ non-answers have been described as ‘vague’ and ‘waffling.’ It’s past time that Speaker Tillis give a straight answer on what he would do to combat ISIS.”