The Republican nominee for Hawaii's open U.S. Senate seat is being criticized by Democrats for trying to promote a record of bipartisanship, a charge she responded to by posting a photo of herself with President Barack Obama to Facebook.
Former Gov. Linda Lingle has in recent weeks been touting a bipartisan record, but Democrats attacked the campaign strategy Friday, noting both her questioning of whether the country would be safe with Obama in the White House and also her decision to skip a 2008 National Governors Association meeting with the then president-elect. Lingle responded by posting the photo of herself and Obama at a 2009 White House dinner for governors. Lingle is running against Democratic Rep. Mazie Hirono for the seat of retiring Sen. Daniel Akaka (D).
Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz (D) used Friday's Democratic Party Grand Rally to "set the record straight" by outlining what he said was Lingle's opposition to bipartisanship. He cited a 2002 comment of her praising former President George W. Bush and her decision in 2008 to place Sarah Palin's name in nomination for vice president at the Republican National Convention. In addition, he mentioned the NGA meeting and a campaign stop Lingle made for the McCain/Palin ticket in Nevada.
"I want us to not accept that extreme makeover," Schatz told the crowd.
The Las Vegas Sun reported in 2008 that Lingle told 60 people in Henderson that she did not know Obama and that he had not called her even though he was from Hawaii. She also questioned Obama's abiltiies, telling the crowd "it's the protection of your families that's at stake."
Lingle's campaign manager, Bob Lee, told HuffPost that while Lingle campaigned for then-presidential candidate Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) as a Republican, she is prepared to work with Obama should the two be elected in November. He said her remarks in Nevada were part of the campaign.
"Governor Lingle said she will support President Obama if the policies are right for Hawaii," Lee said. "Likewise with Governor Romney. The key is don't be the rubber stamp."
Lingle skipped the December 2008 meeting arranged by the NGA for Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, which the group noted was attended by 40 governors. The NGA touted the Philadelphia meeting as a way for governors to communicate with Obama. At the time it was reported that Lingle could not get across the country to attend the meeting. The New York Times reported after the meeting that Obama and Lingle communicated via letter and that Lingle was trying to set up a meeting with Obama.
Lingle's campaign fired back Saturday by saying that Lingle did not skip a meeting and posted a photo of Lingle and Obama at the February 2009 White House dinner, which is part of the annual NGA winter meeting.
During his speech Friday, Lt. Gov. Schatz made reference to a meeting following the election that included a meal, and not the separate NGA meeting and dinner in 2009. It is not known if the 2008 Philadelphia meeting that Lingle missed included lunch between Obama and governors.
Lee, Lingle's campaign manager, told HuffPost that he believes that Schatz was making reference to the 2009 Washington NGA meeting, noting that he and members of Lingle's gubernatorial staff believe that Obama called the 2008 Philadelphia meeting, rather than the NGA organizing the meeting with the president. Lee said Lingle could not use two days of flying time for a "few hour meeting" while she was working on the budget.
"We were at the end of the year trying to figure out the budget," Lee said of Lingle's absence.
According to an archived version of the NGA's website from December 2008, the group touts the Philadelphia meeting that it said was between the NGA and Obama, along with releasing two photos of the meeting and a video. In the photo, Obama and Biden can be seen at the head table with then Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell (D) and then Vermont Gov. James Douglas (R), then the chairman and vice chairman of the governors association.
Birth Certificate -- "Born In The USA"
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/04/27/obama-birth-certificate-r_n_854248.html" target="_hplink"><strong>(April 27, 2011) --</strong></a> The White House <a href="http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/04/27/president-obamas-long-form-birth-certificate" target="_hplink">released</a> President Barack Obama's "long form" birth certificate, adding documentation to a longstanding discussion over his ability to serve as commander in chief. "We do not have time for this kind of silliness," Obama said. "We have better stuff to do. I have got better stuff to do. We have got big problems to solve." (JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
Osama Bin Laden Killed -- "Tonight, Tonight"
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/01/osama-bin-laden-dead-killed_n_856091.html" target="_hplink"><strong>(May 1, 2011)</strong></a> -- In a televised address to the nation, Obama announces that Osama bin Laden is dead. His death was the result of a U.S. operation launched today in Abbottabad, Pakistan, against a compound where bin Laden was believed to be hiding. "[T]oday's achievement is a testament to the greatness of our country and the determination of the American people," Obama proclaimed. (Photo by Pete Souza/The White House via Getty Images)
Debt Ceiling Deal -- "Gold On The Ceiling"
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/02/obama-debt-ceiling-deal-jobs_n_916285.html" target="_hplink"><strong>(Aug. 2, 2011) --</strong></a> After the Senate passed a bill to raise the debt limit, Obama pleaded with Congress to shift their attention to jobs. "I will urge them to immediately take some steps -- bipartisan, common-sense steps -- that will make a difference; that will create a climate where businesses can hire, where folks have more money in their pockets to spend, where people who are out of work can find good jobs," he said. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)
Don't Ask Don't Tell -- "Don't Stop Believin'"
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/20/barack-obama-dont-ask-dont-tell-repeal-statement_n_971662.html" target="_hplink"><strong>(Sept. 20, 2011) --</strong></a> As the ban on gays serving in the military came to an end, Obama hailed the fresh start, celebrating the fact that "patriotic Americans in uniform will no longer have to lie about who they are in order to serve the country they love." (Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)
Iraq War To End -- "Homeward Bound"
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/21/obama-iraq-troop-withdrawal_n_1024108.html" target="_hplink"><strong>(Oct. 21, 2011) --</strong></a> Obama announced that all U.S. troops will be out of Iraq by 2011, fulfilling a promise that dated back to his campaign. "As a candidate for president, I pledged to bring the war in Iraq to a responsible end," Obama said. "So today I can report that, as promised, the rest of our troops in Iraq will come home by the end of the year." (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Singing Al Green's "Let's Stay Together"
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/20/obama-al-green-apollo-theater_n_1218070.html" target="_hplink"><strong>(Jan. 20, 2012) --</strong></a> During a fundraiser at Harlem's historic Apollo Theater, Obama delivered a memorable musical message to his donors. With Rev. Al Green in attendance, Obama sang part of Green's hit song "Let's Stay Together," drawing strong applause from the crowd.
Singing Robert Johnson's "Sweet Home Chicago"
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/21/obama-sings-sweet-home-chicago_n_1292576.html" target="_hplink"><strong>(Feb. 21, 2012) --</strong></a> Days after his Al Green rendition, Obama flexed his vocal chords again with a hometown favorite. The East Room of the White House had its blues fix filled when the president started swinging "Sweet Home Chicago."
Gay Marriage -- "Can't Fight This Feeling"
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/09/obama-gay-marriage_n_1503245.html" target="_hplink"><strong>(May 9, 2012) --</strong></a> In a sit-down interview with ABC's Robin Roberts, Obama explained his evolution on the issue, affirming his support for gay marriage. "[A]t a certain point I've just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married," he said.
Immigration -- "With Arms Wide Open"
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/15/obama-immigration-order-deportation-dream-act_n_1599658.html " target="_hplink"><strong>(June 15, 2012) --</strong></a> The Obama administration addressed America's immigration issue, announcing that it will halt deportations and grant work permits to young individuals eligible for Dream-Act benefits. "They pledge allegiance to our flag," Obama said. "They are Americans in their hearts, in their minds, in every single way but one: on paper."(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Health Care Reform -- "Beautiful Day"
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/28/supreme-court-health-care-decision_n_1585131.html" target="_hplink"><strong>(June 28, 2012) --</strong></a> After weeks of speculation that Obama's signature piece of legislation could be overturned, the Supreme Court ruled that the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate is constitutional. "It should be pretty clear that I didn't do this because it's good politics," <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/28/obama-health-care-ruling_n_1632953.html" target="_hplink">Obama said</a>. "I did it because it's good for the country." (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)