Daily Press not clear on whether McConnell wants to abolish Department of Education

There’s an entertaining and illuminating article in the Craig Daily Press today, titled “McConnell campaign counts on contituents’ anger, tea party principles.” The story profiles Republican Mark McConnell who’s competing against State Representative Scott Tipton for the chance to run against Congressman John Salazar.

The story explains that McConnell campaigns tirelessly, describes himself as the “‘Cowboy Colonel,'” and has $6,000 in the bank versus $102,000 for Tipton. One of his apparent supporters was quoted as saying that McConnell has “‘done a lot of rat killing in his life, and I think he’ll do a lot of rat killing in Washington.'”

I was looking forward to reading about his policy positions, and I encountered these paragraphs:

McConnell, 63, summed up his policy ideas quickly Monday.

“We need a massive reduction in spending,” he said.

McConnell said that could mean abolishing the federal Department of Education …- an idea floated by Republican U.S. Senate candidate Jane Norton …- moving poverty programs “back to neighborhoods” to reduce dependency on federal programs, and even reorganizing the federal Department of Defense to cut its spending. That’s a rare position for a retired colonel who is the son of a U.S. Navy fighter pilot and said national defense is “the ultimate federal responsibility.”

It wasn’t clear that McConnell favors abolishing the Department of Education and reorganizing the Defense Department, because the reporter used the phrase “could mean.” So I called the reporter to clarify things, but he wasn’t working today.Then I called McConnell himself, and he was happy to tell me that, yes, he does favor abolishing the Department of Eductation.

“I want to move those programs back to state control,” he told me.

He said he did not get the idea to abolish the Department of Education from U.S. Senate candidate Jane Norton, as the Daily Press article might have led some to believe. It’s been on his website since late September, while Norton mentioned the idea in December.

And sure enough, there it is on his website. Right above, “I believe our climate is now, and always has been changing,” he writes, “I believe the federal government should get out of the education busineess.”

So, I really didn’t need to bug the reporter or McConnell to clarify the Daily Press article. Next time I’ll search the web first.





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