Montana Democrats think they've found a winning issue in the worldwide travels of Rep. Denny Rehberg, Republican challenger for Democratic Sen. Jon Tester's seat.
Last week, state Democrats noted that Rehberg traveled with defense lobbyists in 2004 to Kazakhstan, where he fell off a horse after drinking vodka with his hosts. Then-Sen. Conrad Burns (R-Mont.) was on the same trip, but spent less than half what Rehberg did. On Monday, Tester's campaign took the attack a step further, launching a website called RehbergAir.
The site highlights 13 trips the veteran congressman has taken, funded by private interests, including to Cuba, Las Vegas and Baltimore. The announcement of the site also links to clips of Rehberg talking about his travel, often as a member of the appropriations subcommittee on foreign operations.
"We invite everyone to check out RehbergAir.com to see how Congressman Dennis Rehberg uses his position to kick back and live the high life in the lap of luxury -- while irresponsibly voting against Montana seniors' and veterans' benefits -- and even while suing the City of Billings," said Tester campaign spokesman Aaron Murphy in the release, referring to Rehberg's votes for Republican budget initiatives and against Democratic alternatives and to a lawsuit that arose over a wildfire that damaged Rehberg's property. "After 12 years in Congress, Dennis Rehberg has forgotten who he works for, but he hasn't forgotten how to fill his job with special interest perks and parties."
Rehberg's campaign was unimpressed, calling the attacks a distraction while noting that Montana's senior Democratic senator, Max Baucus, was involved in the Cuba trip.
"It's odd for Sen. Tester to criticize the work that Denny Rehberg and Max Baucus have done to promote Montana's job-creating industries," said Rehberg spokesman Chris Bond.
A number of the trips also appear to have been promoted by the Montana World Trade Center, on whose advisory board Rehberg, Baucus and Tester all serve.
"Clearly, Tester is desperate to distract attention from his record of special-interest hypocrisy and 95 percent support for President Obama's harmful agenda," said Bond.