Burchett ponders campaign

Sandra ClarkFeature, Gossip and Lies

Perhaps he was in a comfort zone with Kristin Farley or maybe he was just tired, but Tim Burchett let down his guard on Tennessee This Week (WATE-TV) on Aug 5. Burchett polled 48 percent to Jimmy Matlock’s 36 percent in the 7-county 2nd Congressional District and will face Democratic nominee Renee Hoyos in November.

On Sunday we saw the faces of Tim – reflective, right-wing, kind, self-deprecating and mad. Farley must have had yelling in her earpiece because she let Tim ramble for 10 minutes without a commercial break. Here’s what he said:

Q: Did the campaign negativity leave you with any sort of resentment?

A: No, not really. You know I’ve been in this for so long … it hurt me for my wife and daughter. A lot of the things that went on were uncalled for. … We talked about it and (daughter) Isabel said, “Dad, you need to be the man that people believe you are.” I thought to myself, Wow!

Q: What about immigration?

A: First of all, we’ve got to demagnetize our country and our state. But what’s going on now, separating these families, that is wrong. We can do better than that as a nation and we should do better. … We need to build a wall – either technologically or physically. A country without borders ceases to be a country. … We give Mexico over $400 million a year in aid and yet we get dumped on.

Q: What are your top priorities in Congress?

A: Veterans and energy independence. We’ve got our military in over 100 countries to protect the price of oil. Bring those dollars home. Veterans should be able to get medical treatment from any doctor at any facility – not just from the Veterans Administration. It’s not right. I can walk to Long’s Drug Store while a lot of our veterans have to drive all the way to Johnson City. That’s a disgrace!

Q: How would you pay for (these programs)?

A: I read a report that there’s $40 billion in Medicare and Medicaid fraud. That money could go toward medical care for indigents, single moms and veterans.

Q: Your goals?

A: I’ll be an open book: fiscal responsibility and no shenanigans.

Q: How do you make decisions?

A: I rely on my gut. I’m not the best-looking person or the smartest. It took me six years to get through college and I wasn’t drinking or smoking pot. But I have a sense about things and people … sometimes it’s almost spooky.

Cue theme from “The Twilight Zone.” Burchett’s best line: “If you count the News Sentinel, I had seven people running against me.”

After the interview, pundits Craig Griffith and Greg Isaacs opined. Griffith called Burchett “the overwhelming favorite,” to beat Hoyos. Even though she polled 72 percent over Josh Williams, Hoyos earned about 22,000 votes to Burchett’s 47,000.

Isaacs said his negativity hurt Matlock. “You have to (use advertising to) create your brand … have a message. Matlock had a shot, but the tone of his campaign backfired dramatically.”

Watch the interview here.

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