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Daniel Coats on Principles & Values

Republican Jr Senator (IN)


2000: top prospect for secretary of defense

One of the toughest choices was for secretary of defense. Bush wanted to transform the military to meet the strategic challenges of the 21st century and therefore needed a strong leader to confront entrenched interests within the Pentagon. A top prospect was former Indiana senator Dan Coats. But after a couple of face-to-face meetings, the president-elect was concerned whether Coats had the management skill and toughness to do the job, despite his many congressional friendships and outstanding character.
Source: Courage and Consequence, by Karl Rove, p.220 , Nov 2, 2010

YouTube video: "Don't tell Hoosiers I'm a Tar Heel"

Ellsworth scored his biggest points at the end of the debate when he reminded voters that Coats had lived, voted and paid taxes for the past decade in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. He pointed to the infamous YouTube clip in which Coats, who left the Senate in 1999, asked a group of North Carolina Republicans not to tell Hoosiers that he owned a home in the Tar Heel state and planned to retire there.

"I never left Indiana," Ellsworth, a former county sheriff from Evansville, said in contrast. The critique irritated Coats, who had brushed off Ellsworth's criticisms for most of the evening but now stood on stage shaking his head. "You can shake your head all day long," Ellsworth said. "You said it."

"Brad," Coats said, sounding exasperated, "it was a second home."

Source: Indianapolis Star coverage of 2010 Indiana Senate debate , Oct 27, 2010

There's a lot of enthusiasm for change in Washington

Coats has criticized Ellsworth for voting in favor of the health care overhaul and stimulus programs. Ellsworth believes the stimulus legislation prevented a worse situation. "We made drastic improvements to save us from going into a depression," Ellsworth said.

Coats said voters are unhappy with federal government, and he accuses Ellsworth of being lockstep with his party leaders. "Clearly, a lot of Hoosiers are not happy with what's come out of Washington these last two years. 90% of what's come out has been supported by my opponent," Coats said. "There's a lot of enthusiasm for change in Washington."

Ellsworth said Coats' claim that he has voted in line with Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi 90% of the time is misleading He said those votes could include anything from naming a post office to honoring a sports team. "I have one of the most independent voting records in Congress, and I had a more conservative voting record than four Republicans," Ellsworth said.

Source: News & Tribune coverage of 2010 Indiana Senate debate , Oct 24, 2010

Accused of lobbying for whatever issue paid the most money

Ellsworth attacked Coats for the years he spent lobbying in Washington saying the former senator took stands on issues--including the bank bailout and stimulus funding--based on who paid his law firm the most money. "That's not right for Hoosiers," Ellsworth said. "We need people who stand up for us, for Hoosiers and base their decisions on what they hear only from the people back home."

Coats battled back, saying that it was his law firm--not him personally--who represented clients on those issues. He pointed instead at Ellsworth, saying that the Democrat's votes for the bailout, health care law and stimulus bill put the country in almost insurmountable debt. "I can understand that someone who went to Washington talking like a conservative here at home--but followed the agenda of Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama nearly 90% of the time--would not want to come home and talk about that," Coats said.

Source: Louisville Courier-Transcript on 2010 Indiana Senate debate , Oct 22, 2010

Accepted lobbying job after adjournment but still in Senate

Ellsworth criticized Coats for deciding to take a lobbying job before his last term in the Senate expired in 1999. "While he was in Congress, he was negotiating the deal," Ellsworth said. A month before his term ended, Coats' Senate office announced his plans to join the firm Verner-Liipfert.

Coats appeared to claim he accepted the lobbying job only after leaving office. "I said, 'Under the laws, I'm not able to negotiate anything.' In fact, I took a month off after I left because I didn't even want t think about what was next," Coats said.

What's clear is that on Oct. 17, 1998, press reported that the firm was "quite intrigued by Coats." Coats' Senate office announced that the deal was done on Dec. 3. On Jan. 3, Coats' Senate term ended. In Feb. 1999, Coats began working for the firm, earning a salary over $400,000.

Coats' campaign said the former senator simply misspoke. By "after I left," the campaign says he meant after Oct. 21, when the Senate adjourned and Coats was through casting votes.

Source: Evansville Courier Press on 2010 Indiana Senate debate , Oct 13, 2010

Founding member of Conservative Opportunity Society

Some trace the idea for the Conservative Opportunity Society to a meeting Gingrich had in 1982 with former President Nixon about the need for a more idea-oriented party. Nixon said, "You can't change the House yourself. You have to go back and form a group."

The idea had been germinating well before Nixon offered his advice. Gingrich had spent four years seeing his fellow Republicans in the House react instead of act. Newt reached out first to Rep. Vin Weber of Minnesota. Together they recruited Robert Walker of Pennsylvania, Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, Dan Coats of Indiana, Connie Mack of Florida, Joe Barton of Texas, and Dan Lundgren and Duncan Hunter of California. The group met weekly and planned.

"Trent Lott was the godfather," Gingrich recalls. "He hosted a weekly luncheon. Dick Cheney came. I thought Cheney or Lott would be the Republican leader and I'd be the senior planner."

Source: Newt!, by Dick Williams, p. 98-100 , Jun 1, 1995

Other candidates on Principles & Values: Daniel Coats on other issues:
IN Gubernatorial:
Mike Pence
IN Senatorial:
Joe Donnelly

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Retiring in 2014 election:
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IA:Harkin(D)
MI:Levin(D)
MT:Baucus(D)
NE:Johanns(R)
SD:Johnson(D)
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Retired as of Jan. 2013:
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Page last updated: Dec 21, 2013