• WisPolitics

Saturday, June 12, 2010

 10:26 AM 

Obey not slowing down yet

U.S. Rep. Dave Obey signed copies of his books and cds until nearly 1:30 this morning in his hospitality suite.

"He didn't move. He sat there the whole entire time," said aide Doug Hill.

But he didn't show signs of wear this morning, taking in well-wishes from admiring Dems as he walked the hallways at his last state convention as a U.S. Representative.

One of his remaining priorities is to pass a package of funding, possibly as much as $23 billion though the number is still being negotiated, to avoid teacher layoffs, Obey, 71, said this morning during an interview. He admits the fight to get the legislation passed has been a "tough slog."

"A lot of people seem to think Herbert Hoover was right in the '30s," Obey said. "If you want to bring the deficit down, you have to attack unemployment and bring unemployment down."

Despite the stimulus, Obey said the economy still isn't out of the woods because the Bush administrations policies "were so damn stupid."

"The economy is like a patient just coming out of intensive care," Obey said. "It's slowly recovering. It's still weak, but at least it's not headed for the morgue like it was when Obama took over."

On state Sen. Julie Lassa, who is vying for his seat, Obey points out she has more experience as a legislator than he did when he first ran for Congress.

"She knows how to work a legislative body and get things done, and that's what it's all about," he said.

Obey has $1.4 million in his campaign account and said he is seeking a legal memo on what he can do with it.

"I assume in the end some of it will go to the DCCC, some if it will go to the state party, and some of it, I think, will have to be returned," he said.

Some Republicans have questioned if Lassa's selection as the Dem choice in the 7th CD was the product of collusion. Obey calls those accusations "nuts."

And he also took a rip at GOP frontrunner Sean Duffy.

"I think this guy wouldn't know much about job creation if you gave him an instruction manual," he said.

-- By Greg Bump


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