Barrow, last white Democrat congressman in South, says he's ready for tough fight

News 12 at First at Five / Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2012

STATESBORO, Ga. -- As Lee Anderson and Rick Allen continued sparring for the Republican nomination up until the last minute, Congressman John Barrow held a job fair for veterans at Georgia State University in Statesboro.

Every vote will matter for the four-term Democratic congressman after his district was redrawn, removing parts of the more liberal Savannah and giving him more of conservative Columbia County.

"The game's being rigged at the state level by the state legislatures every chance they get. In any state capitol where one part is in complete control, they draw the district lines to run up the score for their team and run down the score for the other team," Barrow said.

National Journal lists him as one of the top 10 most endangered Democrats this election. Barrow is also the last white Democrat congressman in the Deep South.

However, Barrow isn't backing down, even as the attack ads begin. A new National Republican Congressional Committee ad titled "Barack and John" draws ties between President Barack Obama and Congressman Barrow.

"You name it. On any issue that involves a conflict between this administration and this district or a difference in values, I have reflected and represented the interests of the folks I represent," Barrow said.

A quick look at his record shows he voted with Republicans, against Cap-and-Trade, for stronger borders, for Patriot Act extensions, for cutting the deficit by $2.1 trillion. He also recently voted for a balanced budget amendment.

"I think Congress has to live within its means, and I voted that way. We cannot continue to spend more than we take in, and I got a record that backs that up," Barrow said.

When it comes to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly called "Obamacare," Barrow also voted no with Republicans. More recently, when Republicans tried to repeal it, he voted no then, too, and that's been drawing criticism from his Republican opponents.

"The reason why [I voted against the repeal] is because there are things in the Affordable Care Act that even Gov. Romney, even Mitt Romney, says we need to keep," Barrow said.

He says he plans to co-sponsor legislation to nix the bill's individual mandate, which many Republicans feel is unconstitutional, even after the Supreme Court's landmark decision.

He has other plans, too, but he says he just needs to get re-elected first. His first ad displays the slogan his campaign will live by: "You're the one who counts."

"The team we ought to serve is the American team. That's been my approach. It certainly is what I hear folks say they want," Barrow said.

Barrow says the fight between Anderson and Allen was the dirtiest he's ever seen. He says he's prepared for attacks from either candidate. He says he's weathered that storm quite a few times before.

By the way, he says his favorite piece of legislation that he sponsored was a bill that reimburses veterans for mileage driven to get treatment at the VA.

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