Obama Or Clinton? Doherty Refuses To Disclose

Saturday, May 14, 2011


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Republican candidate for Congress in Rhode Island’s 1st District Colonel Brendan Doherty admitted Friday to voting in at least two Democratic primaries before voting in last September’s GOP primary, saying he recalls supporting local candidates in both 2006 and 2008.

But that doesn’t explain why Doherty voted in the 2008 Democratic presidential primary between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, which featured no local races and occurred on the same day as the Republican presidential primary.

Need For Common Ground

In a wide-ranging interview with GoLocalProv, Doherty maintained that his support was only for local Democrats and said he couldn’t recall voting in a presidential primary that took place only three years ago.

Suggesting that both parties are to blame for problems across the state and throughout the country, Doherty said he hopes to bring people from both sides of the table together to take corrective action. Doherty noted that he has Democrats, Republicans and Independents supporting his campaign.

“Partisan politics has become so polarized and it’s not helping our state,” Doherty said Friday afternoon. “We need to find common ground.”

Focus On Waste And Fraud

Doherty said he wants to go to Washington to “shine light” on waste, fraud, corruption and the management problem the country currently has. Echoing the words of his former boss Governor Donald Carcieri and former gubernatorial candidate John Robitaille, the Republican candidate also said the country has a “spending problem.”

Arguing that a business wouldn’t be able to run the way the country does, Doherty said one of the first ways to save money would be to cut waste and fraud from the federal government. He said he would look to find ways to prevent the $60 billion in Medicaid and Medicare fraud the country has experienced, but warned politicians should not be going after the elderly.

“We need to protect our elderly,” he said. “We owe it them to make sure they are protected.”

Why He Left State Police

During the interview, Doherty also cleared the air on his departure as head of the Rhode Island State Police. He said he didn’t leave because of a disagreement over the Secure Communities initative, and noted that the state wound up supporting his stance.

“I did not leave for that reason. There is reason to leave over a disagreement,” Doherty said. “I thought it was irresponsible of Providence to attempt to opt out of Secure Communities, and my position is the same one the state ended up taking on it.”

Does Not Support “Amnesty Programs”

Doherty said he is not worried about backlash from the Latino community regarding Secure Communities, pointing to his record “building bridges in the minority community.” He said Secure Communities does not target any specific group.

On immigration, Doherty said he would have to look closer into initiatives like the DREAM Act, but he does not support any “amnesty programs.” He said elected officials have continued to let the country down when it comes to securing the border.

“What’s wrong with securing the border in a post 9/11 world,” Doherty asked. “I support a path to citizenship for people trying to achieve the American dream, but this is 2011 and [immigration reform] should have been done a long time ago.”

On The Wars

Doherty was explicit when it comes to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan: bring the troops home. He expressed his full support for those serving in the military, but said the focus should about what’s happening in this country.

“America is hurting,” he said. “We cannot compromise their safety, but we need to bring our troops home as soon as possible.”

On His Opponents

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Doherty said he was going to let the “pundits” handle the situation Congressman David Cicilline currently finds himself in, noting that he is focused on his own message and putting together a solid team.

Cicilline is viewed as vulnerable by many Rhode Islanders after a Brown University poll tagged him with a 17 percent approval rating. As the City of Providence continues to face financial struggles, the former mayor has faced constant backlash from the public and the media.

But Doherty was willing to talk about his potential opponent in the Republican primary, John Loughlin (at left). Asked how voters might view him compared with Loughlin, who has always voted Republican and nearly defeated Cicilline last November, Doherty said he expects to be the Republican nominee in 2012.

“I don’t know John Loughlin, but I do respect him,” Doherty said. “But John has had his opportunity, and I believe it’s my time now.”

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