- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 12, 2006

Maryland Republicans are faulting Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin, the Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate, for his votes against missile-defense systems and for siding with anti-military groups.

“His votes are so typical of the liberals who have no plan,” state Senate Minority Leader J. Lowell Stoltzfus, Eastern Shore Republican, said Wednesday. “Their rhetoric says, ‘Let’s keep America safe,’ but then there is no action. Strength requires military preparedness.”

House Minority Whip Anthony J. O’Donnell, Calvert Republican, said Mr. Cardin’s votes reveal his “radical left” position on defense.

“I’m very concerned that someone like Congressman Cardin would be a dove … on defense of this nation,” said Mr. O’Donnell, a Navy veteran. “When it comes to defense, he is more like Ted Kennedy than Scoop Jackson.”

Mr. Cardin declined to comment on his missile-defense record.

Republican criticism of Mr. Cardin’s votes against missile defense follows North Korea’s announcement Monday that it had tested a nuclear weapon. Three months ago, North Korea unsuccessfully tested a missile that was supposed to be able to hit the United States.

Mr. Cardin, a 10-term congressman from Baltimore, is running against Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele, a Republican, for the Senate seat being vacated by Paul S. Sarbanes, a Democrat who is retiring.

Mr. Steele supports a missile-defense system, according to his campaign.

“The recent news from North Korea demonstrates the critical importance of having a missile-defense system in place,” Steele campaign spokesman Doug Heye said. “When we have rogue countries such as North Korea seeking to hold the entire world hostage, weakness on defense … does not make Americans more safe.”

Mr. Cardin has made his vote against invading Iraq a cornerstone of his Senate campaign and cites it as the prime example of how he “stood up to President Bush.”

He also says that he “led the fight” to keep the country safe from attack, but he repeatedly has voted to cut ballistic missile defense budgets and stop the deployment of a missile-defense system.

The congressman voted 16 times to slash the missile-defense budget, three times against increasing funding for the system, twice against speeding up its deployment and twice against expanding the system’s mission.

Mr. Cardin’s voting record has won him a 100 percent rating from the Council for a Livable World, which describes itself as “the electoral arm of the peace movement.”

The group has contributed about $37,000 to Mr. Cardin, according to the Federal Election Commission.

Maryland Republican Party Chairman John M. Kane said Mr. Cardin is practicing “Washington double talk” when he touts his record on defense.

“Congressman Cardin’s reckless votes against a missile defense seek to weaken our security and put all Americans in danger,” Mr. Kane said.

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