Cantor rejects notion that he is hiding from his opposition
Election 2010 appears to be one of the most important of Rep. Eric Cantor‘s political career. The local Congressman has been one of the lead architects in the GOP resurgence that is on track to retake the House of Representatives and by extension make Cantor the 2nd most powerful member of Congress.
But while Cantor has been rallying Republican troops around the country, his own re-election has inflicted a bit of damage on his local persona.
There is a perception that the Congressman hasn’t not been very accessible during his campaign. Cantor’s opponents Democrat Rick Waugh and Tea Party candidate Floyd Bayne have complained about Cantor’s unwillingness to stand with them and debate the issues. Both have used unconventional means to get the Congressman’s attention. Waugh has sent a man dressed in a chicken suit to interrupt Cantor events. Bayne confronted Cantor at a recent book signing with a video camera in tow. Of course, all of these incidents get captured on YouTube.
But while those confrontations did not amount too much, one incident attracted national news. A supporter of Waugh, Jon Taylor attempted to attend an event advertised by the Cantor campaign as “open to the public”. Depending on which perspective you read, Taylor was either minding his own business or causing a disturbance. Regardless he was asked to leave and refused and was eventually arrested. His arrest, which he resisted, was caught on camera by his son and has now received over 50 thousand views on YouTube.
The series of conflicts at Cantor events led well-known Bacon’s Rebellion blogger and respected journalist Peter Galuszka to say that Republican “has a tendency to surround himself with layers of defense.” Galuzka’s column was cross-posted on the Washington Post’s “All Opinions Are Local” page.
Monday on NBC12 First at 4, Cantor flatly rejected that claim.
“We’ve had, a series of events where there have been people of all political persuasions and ideologies that have come,” said Cantor “(It’s) about trying to make sure the voters understand where I am, where my voting record is.”
And when I pressed him about the lack of access and specifically about the incident in Louisa, Cantor claimed that was an isolated occurence and that Democrats and Independents are always welcome at his events.
“I think what had happened there was there was an individual intent on violating the law, and that’s why the law enforcement took the action they did,” Cantor said. “It wasn’t anything on the part of our campaign, but, you know, again, we’re always open for folks who want to come and, you know, participate in the discussion.”
Cantor went on to say, that his role in the national debate make him a known quantity. If a voter wanted to know where he stands on an issue, its not hard to find out.
“I’ve been in the middle of the national debate leading the opposition to the Obama agenda, whether it’s the Healthcare bill or whether it’s Cap and Trade bill, the Card Check Measure,” said Cantor. “I think my positions are fairly well known and we’re continuing, though, to talk to people about the problems they face and how we can find a better way.”
You can see the complete interview with Rep. Cantor below. The full transcript is available on NBC12.com.