GOP Senate Candidate Bob Shaffer Battles the Odds in Colorado

U.S. Senate candidate Bob Schaffer, a former state senator and Congressman from Colorado's 4th District, sports a 99% rating from the American Conservative Union, is a model family man and boasts of expertise as an executive in a Denver-based energy investment firm. But those are difficult credentials in a year that is shaping up to make the tsunami of 2006 look like a ripple for Republicans. He is up against popular Congressman Mark Udall and running in a state where Barack Obama has moved into a small lead.

I interviewed him on Friday about the financial crisis and his views on energy, judges, and race-based preferences as well as the prospect of a Democratic-dominated federal government. He speaks briskly with little trace of Washington-ese that hampers many candidates. And despite the dismal outlook for many Republicans appears remarkably upbeat about his prospects.

What did he think about the Paulson rescue bill and the bank nationalization?

"I'm not in favor of it." He quickly contrasts himself with his opponent: "My opponent Mark Udall's views are very centered on government and having government nationalize banking institutions." He voices two objections. First, he says Congress went on "a five week vacation, came back for two weeks and then left again." This, he says, made for situation where Congress had to move "fast and not think about it." He objected to the approach of Secretary Hank Paulson and the Bush Administration which presented "just one solution." He contends that was the most expensive option, a $700B bailout, which essentially left the government in the position to "borrow more money and print more money." The result he says is that the value of the dollar will be diminished and "your buying power is dropping." He points to the total cost of $1.1-1.5 trillion, a large percentage of what is an average annual budget of $3 trillion.

What would he have done differently?

"I would have kept Congress in session. I would have put the budget committee in a room and found real savings. I would have put the tax writing committee in another room and found deep, serious and meaningful tax relief." He suggests taking capital gains tax rates to zero for a year and passing legislation to allow firms "to repatriate funds from foreign banks -- drop that rate to 5 ¼%." He says, "We should treat this as a full scale crisis."