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Thursday, July 6, 2006

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Posted By on Thu, Jul 6, 2006 at 3:09 PM

Massachusetts Gov. and presidential aspirant Mitt Romney speaks at an Arkansas Republican Party fund-raiser at the Statehouse Convention Center tonight. Clint Reed, GOP state director, says at least 500 will be on hand.

The Democratic campaign welcomes Romney with a release charging that Romney and Asa!are soft on increasing the minimum wage. Full release on the jump.

A request for our Republican readers: We won't be at the dinner tonight. We'd offered to buy a ticket if we could sit with the current Arkansas governor. We'd welcome a report from a community blogger/reporter. Send it to max@arktimes.com



Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, in town to attend the Republican Governor’s Dinner and raise money for GOP gubernatorial nominee Asa Hutchinson, has one principle thing in common with Hutchinson: neither can make up his mind on the minimum wage.

Hutchinson and Romney have been on both sides of the fence for raising the minimum wage, creating a sharp contrast between the two and fellow Republican on stage, Governor Mike Huckabee, not to mention the Democratic fall ballot.

“A Boston man like Mitt Romney may not have a lot in common with most of us Arkansans,” Victory 2006 Campaign Director Greg Hale said. “But, he and Asa Hutchinson have one big thing in common: neither one can pick a position on the minimum wage and stick to it. Both supported a minimum wage increase as candidates, but both refused to support it when they had the chance. I wonder how they square that with Democrat Mike Beebe who consistently supported increasing the minimum wage – or even Republican Governor Mike Huckabee who signed an increase into law.”

The Massachusetts legislature has “settled on a compromise - an increase in the pay floor to $8 an hour,” though it’s not clear “what will happen when (not if) the bill lands on Gov. Mitt Romney's desk,” despite his election year promise and repeated claims to support increasing the minimum wage. (5-26-06 Boston Globe and 7-5-06 Boston Globe)

Hutchinson opposed increasing the federal minimum wage in Congress (House of Representatives Votes 43 and 45, 2000), but later said Congress should increase the federal minimum wage, not Arkansas (12-14-05 Arkansas News Bureau). Next Hutchinson said he would consider an increase in the minimum wage before finally saying he supported the state increase in the minimum wage when it became inevitable (2-8-06 AP, 1-24-06 Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, and 3-25-06 Arkansas Democrat-Gazette).

In contrast to Hutchinson and his Boston buddy Mitt Romney, fellow Republican Huckabee actually signed a minimum wage increase into law. (4-11-06 Arkansas Democrat-Gazette)

“Jim Holt is the only Republican on the ballot this year to take a position on the minimum wage and stick with it but he calls it Socialism,” Hale added.

Holt voted against a state minimum wage increase passed in a special session earlier this year and referred to it as “Socialism” in a follow-up interview. (Arkansas News Bureau, 6-10-06)

Also opposite Hutchinson, Holt and Romney are Beebe and Democratic nominees for lieutenant governor Bill Halter and for attorney general Dustin McDaniel who consistently supported an increase to the minimum wage.

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