Tags: Battle '10

The Great Boeing War


Sen. Patty Murray has been on the warpath against Dino Rossi of late. Her latest ad accuses Dino Rossi of “not caring” about Boeing’s workers in Washington state:

Announcer: Illegal foreign subsidies are threatening Boeing jobs, putting the Air Force tanker contract in jeopardy. When Dino Rossi was asked if he thought Boeing workers should have a level playing field, he said…

Dino Rossi: No, not as far as I’m concerned.

Announcer: Dino doesn’t get it… He doesn’t care enough about our jobs going overseas. Dino Rossi – just not on our side.

Sen. Murray: I ’m Patty Murray and I sponsored this ad because the men and women who defend our country should be flying planes built in America.

As Seattle Times columnist Bruce Ramsey writes, the statement from Rossi that is reproduced in the ad — made during an editorial board meeting at the Tacoma News Tribune — has been dramatically misconstrued. Here’s the full context of Rossi’s remarks:

QUESTION: On the issue of trade, I wanted to ask Mr. Rossi about WTO rulings that have come out both against the EU and the US – and I realize we’re still sorting out the U.S. and how bad that may be. But if it does come out as it appears, at least from the US side, that Airbus got harder than Boeing did, do you believe that should have a factor – be a factor in the awarding of the tanker contract?

ROSSI: We need to fight for the tanker contract no matter what. The ruling, how it ever comes out – the reality is that the Boeing company since 1977 has lost 30,000 jobs in our state and we have to make sure we fight hard for that. You know, I’ve had a family member working continuously for the Boeing company since World War II and I – talk about a Boeing family, you want to talk about a Boeing family. And unfortunately there – this is, I think, where we – where I divert from Senator Murray on a number of different things. The Boeing company, they don’t want things like – that Senator Murray’s sponsoring such as card check, which is eliminating the secret ballot for unions. They don’t want the $150 million tax increase that they calculate as going to be coming from the health care bill. These are the sorts of things that are going to hurt the Boeing company.

I will be there. I will fight the, obviously fight for jobs. The reality is that we have to make sure that we have the right playing field to do that. And I will be, you know – strong on those issues.

QUESTION: When you say “fight for it,” and “you want a level playing field” – I’m not still understanding if you’re saying that that WTO ruling should have a factor in the tanker bid?

ROSSI: No, not as far as I’m concerned, no.

Rossi’s campaign has insisted he was not referring to a WTO ruling in June that Airbus received billions in illegal government subsidies from the European Union, but rather to a still-pending ruling as to whether or not Boeing had benefited from improper subsidies, and to what extent.

His campaign released a number of clarifying statements in response:
“I absolutely believe the illegal subsidies received by Airbus should be taken into account when the Air Force makes its decision on the tanker contract.”
“We don’t need a WTO ruling to know that Boeing makes the best planes at the best price and, absent unfair foreign subsidies, would win the tanker contract hands down.”
He has also continued to point out that a number of the measures Murray supports, like Obamacare, cap-and-trade, and “card check” legislation are extremely harmful to companies like Boeing.
But Murray’s camp has not let up since, launching wave after wave of critical statements, such as:

“Instead of standing up for Washington state Boeing workers as Senator Patty Murray has always done, constant candidate Dino Rossi today said that illegal, job-killing WTO subsidies given to Airbus should NOT be taken into account in awarding the next Air Force tanker contract.”

Ramsay says Murray’s claims are “nonsense:”

Dino Rossi did not express an uncaring sentiment; he was for Boeing “no matter what.” And further: as a senator from Washington he would have to be. No senator from Washington, Democrat or Republican, would put the interests of France, Spain and the U.K. ahead of the Boeing Company.

The senator’s ad is dishonest. It is preposterous.

Here’s Murray’s ad:

And here’s a biting response ad from Rossi, which highlights a soon-to-be-completed 787 Dreamliner Final Assembly building… in South Carolina.

Tags: Washington


Subscribe to National Review