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3rd District Debate: Fleischmann vs. Wamp on ‘Snake Pit,’ Special Interests

Weston Wamp questioned U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann’s congressional credentials during an aggressive debate Monday, attempting to define Fleischmann as an inflexible creature of Washington in the fight for the Republican nomination in Tennessee’s 3rd Congressional District.
From the Chattanooga TFP account:
With the Aug. 2 primary election only two months away, Fleischmann arrived at a crucial moment of his re-election effort armed with a defense of his record and a list of shots targeting Wamp’s perceived inexperience as the 25-year-old son of the congressman’s immediate predecessor, former U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp.
Several times, Fleischmann described Weston Wamp’s reasoning as incorrect, inaccurate and, using a baseball analogy to describe a trio of answers, “0-for-3.”
Unbowed, Fleischmann’s young rival claimed to be the most powerful advocate on local issues like the Chickamauga lock and the most energetic person ever to run for Congress.
…”Just how much does it impact us when we’re represented in Congress by one of the most divisively partisan people there?” Wamp asked.
But Fleischmann said he’s respecting the 3rd District’s wishes.
“We have basically blocked the president,” he said of the Republican-controlled House.
By the end of the 90-minute debate, the scrutiny appeared to wear on Fleischmann, who received hoots from a host of twentysomething Wamp supporters when he said his only “special interests” are the people of the district.
That statement came after a debate moderator asked him to square his $363,000 in PAC contributions with a 2010 campaign promise that said “special interest groups in Washington will not find an open door in my congressional office.”
“If he didn’t leave his door open to special interests, he at least let the mailbox or the bank account — it’s a pretty clear violation” of the promise, Wamp said.
The exchange later put Wamp in the interesting position of slamming as “a snake pit” Washington, D.C., where his father broke a campaign term-limit promise to serve 12 years in Congress. (He served 16.) The younger Wamp also gave himself wiggle room on the PAC money question, saying he would accept it from organizations whose “principles and values are aligned with mine.”