(And Why Should He?)
GOP candidates selling perceived strengths
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - Five Republicans are running for the U.S. Senate in Indiana because they believe voters want a change.
Dan Coats and Marvin Stutsmann may be the leading candidates in the race for the GOP nomination. Stutsmann is selling a fresh approach. Coats is selling experience.
Coats, a former senator and former ambassador to Germany, campaigned with former White House drug czar Bill Bennett, who tried to dispel questions about Coats being a conservative.
"Dan was conservative before it was cool to be conservative," Bennett told reporters. "In fact, before some of the people asking those questions were born."
It's the sort of thing that causes state Senator Marvin Stutsmann to label Coats a Washington candidate.
"You know, we're not Washington DC, but we're not inexperienced either," said Stutsmann.
He says voters don't want someone who's been there before.
"I think they're looking forward," he said. "I think they're looking to the future and who can lead best and who has the fire in the belly and the willingness to go out and work hard every day."
And so Bennett and Coats play up the need to understand Washington in order to take on the Obama administration and policies they deem liberal.
"We need judgment and experience," says Bennett.
"Well, they can label me whatever they want," said Coats. "But I proudly served this country and this state as a Hoosier and this country as a Hoosier for a number of years and that job is in Washington and I lived in Washington."
It's an admission that there's no getting away from the Washington label. But being a Washington candidate has advantages, too. For Coats, it means better name ID and a fundraising advantage.