Obama Wants To Downsize America’s Nuclear Arsenal, Where Is Heidi Heitkamp?

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Downsizing, and even eliminating, America’s arsenal of nuclear weapons seems to be very much on the agenda for the Obama administration in the coming term. In fact, President Obama’s nominee for Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel co-authored a report called Global Zero which called for the elimination of all ICBM’s.

Including those maintained by the Minot Air Force Base. Senator John Hoeven referenced the Global Zero report recently during a speech here in Minot, arguing that the ICBM’s shouldn’t be cut. I agree with Hoeven, not because the ICBM’s are an important part of the mission in Minot, but because I believe the missiles to be an important part of our national security strategy.

But the question is: Where is Senator Heidi Heitkamp? Why hasn’t she spoken out on this issue?

Remember that the nuclear weapons, and the Minot Air Force Base, were hot-button issues during Heitkamp’s campaign against Rick Berg last year. Berg criticized Heitkamp repeatedly over big-money contributions she took from an anti-nuclear weapons group. In fact the group, the Council for a Livable World, was one of Heitkamp’s top campaign contributors.

But Heitkamp dismissed the criticism. “Heidi believes in a strong national defense, and that means securing vulnerable nuclear weapons in unstable countries, but also preserving our missile defense systems and North Dakota bases,” her campaign manager Tessa Gould said.

If that’s true, where is Heitkamp on this issue now? Hoeven is speaking out about it, but the silence from Heitkamp is deafening after a campaign full of promises about standing and being independent on issues like this one.

On this specific issue, in fact.

But as usual when it comes to areas where Heitkamp’s liberalism is at odds with the feelings of her red-state constituency, she won’t lead so much as go through the motions and mouth talking points when prompted.

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Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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