Why did Tommy Thompson support Obamacare? Why did Eric Hovde profit from banks that received bailout money? Why did Mark Neumann take stimulus money?

As new polls are released this week, the increasingly-negative and divisive Republican Senate primary campaign is spiraling out-of-control as the candidates attack each other and seek to curry favor with Washington Tea Party groups and a small group of extremists.

"As Secretary Thompson backpedals on his support for Obamacare, as Washington banker Eric Hovde continues to hide his bank bailout profits, and as Mark Neumann talks of turning back the clock on women’s health issues, it is clear that the candidates for the Republican Senate nomination will talk about anything BUT the bread-and-butter issues facing average Wisconsinites as they worry about their economic security," Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Mike Tate said Tuesday.
 
"As they lurch further and further to the right, and place themselves out of the mainstream and out of touch with the independent voters they need in a general election, the Republican Senate candidates are showing that they care more about the narrow agenda of a few Tea Party extremists than creating jobs, ensuring affordable health care and protecting Wisconsin from the greed of Wall Street."

BACKGROUND:

Club for Growth Versus Thompson

Club for growth on Thompson

Club For Growth Called Thompson’s Claim He Opposed The Individual Mandate “Just Dishonest.” In June 2012, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported: “The Club for Growth has released a video showing former Gov. Tommy G. Thompson saying he supports an individual mandate for health insurance and says Thompson’s claims that he never supported such an requirement is ‘just being dishonest.’ […]’Any time Tommy Thompson says he never supported an individual mandate for health insurance, he’s just being dishonest,’ said Club for Growth President Chris Chocola in a statement.” [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 6/27/2012]
 
Club For Growth: “Wisconsin Republicans Can’t Trust Tommy Thompson.” In June 2012, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel quoted Club for Growth President Chris Chocola saying: “‘Tommy Thompson supported an individual mandate just like in Obamacare, and this video proves it. Once again, it’s clear that Wisconsin Republicans can’t trust Tommy Thompson to stand up to the Obama agenda and fight for limited government.’” [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 6/27/2012]

Thompson on Club for Growth

Thompson Called Club For Growth Ad A “Falsehood,” “Based Upon Lies.” In a September 2011 interview on Topline, Thompson said, “In a September 2011 interview on Topline, Thompson was asked to respond to the Club for Growth’s ad attacking his record. Thompson said, “Well, sure, it’s absolutely a falsehood. They know that their commercial was a falsehood, and based upon lies. It’s been proven that way. . . . Everybody in Wisconsin knows that their accusations are false, and it’s been proven that time and time again. I don't want to waste my time on it. Its, you know it’s hard to campaign against a falsehood, but if somebody wants to continue spreading things that are not true about my record, let them at it.” [Topline interview, 9/12/11]

Thompson versus Hovde

Thompson on Hovde

Schmitz: Hovde Should Explain How He’ll Pay Back TARP Funds. In a press release, Darrin Schmitz of the Thompson campaign said: “‘Hovde sounds a lot like a politician after spending the last 25 years in Washington D.C.,’ Schmitz said. ‘His absence from the state is clearly distorting his memory of Tommy’s record on taxes and spending. Maybe he’ll use the forum tonight to let taxpayer’s know when he’ll pay back the $9 million in TARP funds he still owes the taxpayers.’” [Thompson for Senate press release, 6/19/2012]
 
Schmitz: Hovde Made Millions On Wall Street “Betting Against Taxpayers And Homeowners.” In June 2012, the Associated Press reported: “Thompson's campaign spokesman, Darrin Schmitz, said whether the campaign turns nasty is up to Hovde and Neumann. ‘They're far behind and desperate,’ Schmitz said. ‘Counterpunch is code for negative attack, but it's already clear Hovde will spend the millions he made on Wall Street betting against taxpayers and homeowners to tear down Tommy Thompson.’”[Fox 11, Associated Press, 6/21/2012]
 
Nemoir: Hovde Should Explain The $9 Million In TARP Funds. In June 2012, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported: “‘With Mr. Hovde trumpeting his participation in tonight's event,’ Nemoir said, ‘I hope he uses the opportunity to explain the $9 million in TARP funds banks he owns have yet to pay back,’ referring to the Troubled Asset Relief Program.” [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 6/19/2012]
 
Thompson: “[Hovde's] Had A Lot More To Start With Than I Have.” In a May 2012 debate, Thompson said: “Then I got out of government, went into the private sector for the last six years and done okay. Not as well as Eric, but he’s had a lot more to start with than I have.” [WMC debate, 5/3/2012]

Hovde on Thompson

Hovde: “For Tommy To Utter That He’s A Fiscal Conservative Is More Than A Little Bit Laughable.” In a January 2012 interview with Jeff Bader, Hovde said: “I haven’t found any politician, certainly not from a Democratic side and very few from the Republican side that have been even close to being fiscally conservative, and for Tommy to utter that he’s a fiscal conservative is more than a little bit laughable. And I don’t mean to be taking shots at Tommy but that’s just the reality.” [Jeff Bader Show, 1/25/2012]
 
Hovde Spox Lansing: Thompson Should Explain Why He Raised Taxes And Increased State Spending. In a June 2012 press release, Hovde campaign spokesman Sean Lansing said:“It’s certainly disappointing that, once again, Governor Thompson is denying Wisconsin voters a good, honest debate. With record high spending, crushing debt and tax rates that are set to skyrocket, folks deserve to know where a governor who increased state spending by 118 percent while raising taxes and fees by millions and increasing our debt by $1.8 billion stands on these issues.” [Hovde campaign statement, 6/19/2012]

Hovde Versus Neumann

Hovde Criticized Neumann For “Running For Office Every Other Year.” In a May 2012 meeting with a Tea Party organization, Hovde said: “Look, I know Mark says he has, too, and he has spent a good part of his life in the private sector, but he also runs every other year, and if you’re running for office every other year, you don’t really have a lot of time to operate in the private sector.” [WTPOTR meeting, 5/8/2012]

Hovde Criticized Neumann For Taking Stimulus Money. In a radio interview in March 2012, Hovde said: “You know, sadly, Mark is taking the same direction that he did with Scott Walker and that’s immediately trying to attack me and it’s just not going to work and it’s very disappointing. Here’s a guy that actually took stimulus money for his solar company, wrote a letter asking for continued stimulus money, and then he has the gumption to make that assertion on me when the banks, the community banks, that I own and control never took a dollar of TARP money.” [WIBB Halvorsen interview, 3/13/2012]
 
Hovde: Attacking Other Republicans Is “Mark’s MO.” In a radio interview in March 2012, Hovde said: “You know, it’s just disappointing that somebody would come immediately come at a fellow Republican and attack the way he did but, you know, that’s Mark [Neumann]’s MO and I think most people remember how he treated Scott Walker.” [WIBB Halvorsen interview, 3/13/2012]

Conservative media questions Hovde’s credentials

Red State

Erickson: Hovde Investing In Banks That Took TARP Money While Being Against Bailouts Is “Troubling.” In July 2012, Erick Erickson of RedState wrote: “Here are a few concerns about Eric Hovde that need vetting. Hovde is a hedge fund manager, which is awesome, but his company invested in banks that took government bailout money. Hovde made clear he was against TARP going back to 2009, but he’s also made clear he is not against government bailing out banks. That instinct troubles me.” [RedState, July 6, 2012]

Erickson: Hovde Spending His Life In D.C. Is “Always A Red Flag.” 
In July 2012, Erick Erickson of RedState wrote: “He also lived voluntarily in Washington, D.C. for 24 years. That’s always a red flag.” [RedState, July 6, 2012]

Daily Caller

Daily Caller Op-Ed Criticized Hovde For Living In D.C., Supporting The Stimulus, And Donating To Doyle. In July 2012, Matt Lewis wrote in an op-ed: “Let’s see … A hedge-fund manager who lived in DC for the last 24 years, thinks he should pay more taxes, thinks the stimulus wasn’t all bad, who donated to Wisconsin’s ‘lousy’ Democratic  governor. Seems like the perfect candidate for Republicans to back.” [Daily Caller, Matt K. Lewis op-ed, 7/3/2012]

Thompson on his Rivals

Thompson Said The Other Republican Candidates Would Be “Very Dicey” Choices In The General Election. At a June 2012 meeting with a Tea Party organization, Thompson said: “I’m a sure, fairly sure, fairly certain that I’ll beat Tammy Baldwin. Yesterday in the polls no other person was beating her except me and I was beating her by nine points. So if I’m the nominee we’ll be the fiftieth state as a republican. Not saying the other ones can’t do it but the other ones, very dicey, especially with Obama carrying the ticket.” [Sheboygan Liberty Coalition, 6/21/2012]