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Mike Battles on Patrick Kennedy (posted November 4, 2001)
Republican Mike Battles opened his election challenge to Congressman Patrick Kennedy with a strong performance on WJAR-TV's "10 News Conference". Appearing confident and comfortable, Battles accused Kennedy of "partisan name calling", "blaming others", and not being very effective at representing Rhode Island. Taking aim at one of Kennedy's central claims, that his appointment to the House Appropriations committee brings great advantage to constituents in Rhode Island, Battles complained that the state has done no better having Kennedy in Congress than it did under former Republican Congressman Ron Machtley.

When asked about Kennedy's celebrated family, Battles said, "I'm not taking issue with him or his family." The problem, he indicated, was that Kennedy was not representing the state. On Election Night, 1996, Battles noted, Kennedy chose to travel out of state to St. Louis to be with Dick Gephardt rather than go to Pawtucket or other places in the district.

Battles argued that his national security background was stronger than Kennedy's, even though the Congressman has served on the National Security Committee. Battles is a West Point graduate and former CIA operations officer who worked in clandestine services recruiting agents. When asked whether he had any skeletons in his closet, Battles joked that he had none other than some parking tickets. He also indicated that he had obtained top-secret security clearances from the FBI and the military.

In terms of his personal political views, Battles said he was pro-choice on abortion, against the death penalty, and in favor of tax cuts, especially for small businesses.

Battles faces a possible Republican primary against David Rogers and Christine Ferguson.
Copyright 2000Karen Martin Media Services