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Friday, May 26, 2006 

Willett: "GOP Extreme" How are they extreme? Willett: "I don't know"

Chairman Willett needs to stay chairman of the DPA he helps the GOP immensely... He attacks the GOP calling the party "extreme" but refuses to give examples? This is great! Keep it up Jason!

Check out this quote:
"But [Willett] said issues that aren’t extreme are border security, opposition to gay marriage, and making sure students don’t have long bus rides. He said he agrees with these things."

If Jason Willett thinks the state Republican Party’s nominees are “extreme,” Willett ought to say why he thinks that, Gilbert Baker said Thursday.

Willett responded that he doesn’t want to give details about that right now. But Willett added that he thinks lieutenant governor nominee Jim Holt is an “absurd radical” in addition to being “extreme.”

Willett of Jonesboro is the chairman of the state Democratic Party, and Baker of Conway is the chairman of the state Republican Party. They made an unusual joint appearance speaking to the Political Animals Club in Little Rock. They joked with each other and spoke about numerous issues related to Tuesday’s primary elections.

Neither waived the club’s offthe-record policy for their presentations as politicians generally do. But each repeated most of what they said to the group in an interview together afterward with the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

“The Democrat line seems to be that we have this extremist ticket,” said Baker, a state senator. “Are we talking about being strong on illegal immigration ? I don’t see that as being extreme at all. That’s a view held by a vast majority of individuals. Are we being extreme when we say we want good quality rural schools to be allowed to exist ? I don’t see that as being extreme. Is it extreme, Jim Holt’s strong [2004 ] campaign against Sen. Blanche Lincoln that marriage is between one man and one woman ? Those issues are not extreme. They have great resonance out there among a vast majority of Arkansans. [Willett is being ] very misleading.”

Willett, a former aide to U. S. Rep. Marion Berry, D-Gillett, said it’s “common sense” that Holt and GOP gubernatorial nominee Asa Hutchinson of Little Rock, a former congressman, are “extreme.”

“I’m talking about that we have a different Republican Party now,” Willett said. “It’s not the party of [GOP Gov. ] Mike Huckabee. I don’t refer to Mike Huckabee as an extremist. There’s a lot of areas where Mike Huckabee and I agree. But I do believe that Asa Hutchinson and Jim Holt are extremist. The extremism is based on certain issues.”

Which issues ?

“When you’re at the ballgame you won’t give it all right off the bat,” Willett said.

Willett said the reason for his not identifying those issues has nothing to do with polls. He said he’s not waiting to see what issues polls say are extreme with Arkansans.

“I don’t look at polls,” Willett said. “Polls have nothing to do with this. Nothing to do with this at all.”

But he said issues that aren’t extreme are border security, opposition to gay marriage, and making sure students don’t have long bus rides. He said he agrees with these things.

“I’d be very curious to see whether Mike Huckabee embraces Jim Holt,” Willett said. “You’ve got the governor who doesn’t want to work with Jim Holt.”

A Huckabee spokesman said Wednesday Huckabee couldn’t say whether he supported Holt because Huckabee was on vacation.

Holt clashed with Huckabee in 2005 when he filed a bill to ban most state services for illegal aliens. The bill failed.

That same session, Holt also opposed a bill that Huckabee favored to make illegal aliens eligible for state-funded scholarships. Holt asked for an attorney general’s opinion on the bill. Attorney General Mike Beebe responded with an opinion questioning the legality of the bill. The bill later failed. Holt’s also known for pushing a bill in 2001 targeting the teaching of evolution. It also failed.

Willett then took issue with Hutchinson being a manager, or prosecutor, in the impeachment trial in the Senate of President Clinton over charges that Clinton lied about sex acts with intern Monica Lewinsky.

He said Hutchinson had a “blatant conflict of interest” in the role because his brother, Tim, was in the Senate at the time and because Asa Hutchinson once prosecuted Clinton’s brother, Roger, for drug possession when Hutchinson was a U. S. attorney for the Western District of Arkansas.

“Every job he’s received subsequent to his serving in Congress is directly related to the impeachment,” Willett said, referring to Hutchinson being appointed by President Bush as head of the Drug Enforcement Administration and as undersecretary of the Department of Homeland Security.

“I think he’s going to have to answer to [the impeachment ] in Arkansas. Bill Clinton has a strong favorability.”

Baker responded, “The only person in Arkansas who wants to continually talk about President Clinton’s impeachment is Jason Willett. I would encourage Jason if he’s that enthralled with President Clinton’s impeachment he can go to the [presidential ] library and look at the display.”

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