And returning to the subject of politics, Outliers can’t help but note that one Kansas race is turning into a game of “I’m First! No, I’m First!” at least as far as bills seeking to repeal the new health reform law. Republican U.S. Rep. Jerry Moran’s main rival for a U.S. Senate seat from Kansas is challenging Moran’s right to call himself the first House member to introduce a bill to repeal the new federal health reform law.
Republican Rep. Todd Tiahrt’s campaign last week cited another bill—co-sponsored by Tiahrt—introduced the same day as Moran’s legislation. Both measures were introduced in March, the day after final passage of the law pushed by President Barack Obama and his fellow Democrats.
Tiahrt spokesman Michelle Schroeder acknowledges that Moran’s bill was assigned its number first. But she says that distinction is meaningless and suggested the real issue is Moran portraying himself as a leader of opposition to the healthcare law. “Todd is out front. Todd is a leader,” Schroeder says. “Jerry is in the background.”
Moran spokesman Dan Conston took the Tiahrt campaign’s criticism as a sign of desperation from a candidate who’s significantly behind in the Aug. 3 primary contest. “There’s any number of things—ridiculous accusations—made all the time,” Conston says. “This one seems particularly ridiculous.”
Moran’s latest TV ad mentions his legislation to repeal the law, and he staked his claim on being first during his first televised debate last week with Tiahrt. “I was the first member of the House of Representatives to introduce legislation to repeal Obamacare,” Moran said.
As soon as the debate ended, Tiahrt’s staff distributed a memo headlined, “Moran’s healthcare repeal claim—BUSTED.” The memo noted that both Moran’s bill and one sponsored by Rep. Michele Bachmann, a Minnesota Republican and tea party favorite, were introduced March 22.