Candidates spar over Obama’s budget, unions

On Wednesday, the 1st Congressional District hopefuls sparred over President Barack Obama’s budget proposal and a $5,000 donation from an aerospace union.

Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch took a swipe at her party’s leader, saying Obama’s budget “simply doesn’t take the right steps to putting our fiscal house back in order.”

She singled out its tax increase and insufficient spending cuts. “Not only does President Obama’s plan fail to put our finances back in order, it would cut benefits for our seniors, which is wrong,” she said.

Her opponent, Republican Mark Sanford, said he also rejects Obama’s budget, but noted that Colbert Busch has supported the stimulus spending and the president’s health care package.

“She now wants to talk about balanced budgets and fiscal responsibility,” he said. “I would respectfully suggest that you can’t have your cake and eat it too.”

Meanwhile, Sanford criticized Colbert Busch for receiving $5,000 from the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers union, which filed a National Labor Relations Board complaint against Boeing’s expansion in North Charleston.

“If they had been successful, what we see behind us (the Boeing plant) would not be,” he said during a noon event at Charleston International Airport. He called for her to give the donation back.

Colbert Busch said she is has worked with Boeing on research and development and is pleased to see the company expand.

“If there is anyone out there who believes that a board member of the Chamber of Commerce — not to mention the chairwoman of the S.C. Maritime Association, chairwoman of the International Trade Conference and one of the Journal of Commerce’s Top 20 Women in Transportation — is in the pocket of big labor, I have some oceanfront property in Wyoming for you,” she said in a statement.

Colbert Busch, Sanford and Green Party candidate Eugene Platt will meet in a May 7 special election for the congressional seat vacated by Tim Scott’s appointment to the U.S. Senate.

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