- Associated Press - Monday, September 15, 2014

CHICAGO (AP) — U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin is unabashedly defending his name-calling and other attacks on Illinois businesses looking to locate their headquarters overseas.

Durbin’s opponent in the November election, Republican dairy entrepreneur and state Sen. Jim Oberweis, has called the Democrat’s actions “bullying.” He says it’s the kind of anti-business behavior that’s hampering Illinois’ economic recovery.

Durbin, who’s seeking his fourth U.S. Senate term, shined a spotlight on Deerfield-based Walgreen and other companies that considered relocating to take advantage of lower tax rates, calling them “deserters” and unpatriotic. He also started petitions, held news conferences and introduced legislation to prevent companies from getting federal contracts.

“I think it’s my job,” Durbin said in an interview with The Associated Press. “If an Illinois senator won’t stand up to keep companies in this state and in this country he’s got the backbone of a melting ice cream cone.”

Oberweis, whose family owns a chain of ice cream shops, argued it’s more evidence Durbin - who’s served on Capitol Hill for 32 years - has grown arrogant and “has no idea how to create jobs in the private economy.”

He says the solution to so-called corporate inversions is to make Illinois and the U.S. more business-friendly by lowering taxes and cutting regulations he says are too burdensome.

Durbin outlined his views on a range of issues during the hour-long interview with AP, including critics’ argument that he’s been in Washington too long and how much of the blame Democrats shoulder for the dysfunction there.

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