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Jamie Radtke did not join the list of politicians lauding U.S. Sen Jim Webb last week after the Democrat announced he would not seek reelection in 2012.
Instead, she blistered him. Radtke, a Tea Party activist who is seeking next year’s GOP Senate nomination, called Webb’s retirement "a great opportunity to change the direction of our country."
"Senator Webb was a reliable vote for President Obama and Senator Harry Reid and their ruinous agenda," Radtke said in a written statement released on Feb. 11, the day Webb made announcement.
Webb, a former Republican turned Democrat, has always had a reputation for charting his own course. We wondered how much he was in sync with Obama and Reid, a Nevada Democrat who is Senate majority leader.
We turned to the voting records.
According to data compiled by non-partisan OpenCongress, Webb and Reid have voted together 1,325 times since Jan. 2007, when Webb joined the Senate. They have a "voting similarity" of 85 percent, according to the web site. Democratic senators average an 89 percent voting similarity.
The Washington Post also maintains an exhaustive congressional database. It shows Webb voted with a majority of Democratic senators 87 percent of the time during last Congress from 2009-11. Reid, during the same span, voted with his party 95 percent of the time.
The Post’s review of the 111th Congress includes 689 votes. Many were not controversial and supported by both sides of the aisle.
We looked at Webb’s record on President Barack Obama’s key initiatives. Webb and Reid were always in his corner. They voted for:
- The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as health care reform.
- The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, or stimulus bill.
- The New START nuclear arms agreement with Russia.
- The repeal of "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell," a policy barring openly gay men and women from the military.
- The DREAM Act, which would grant citizenship to undocumented immigrants who serve in the military or attend college.
- The deal between Obama and Congressional Republicans that extended the Bush-era tax cuts and added some payroll tax reductions.
- The Supreme Court nominations of Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor.
It is worth noting that Webb, despite supporting the president and his party on a very consistent basis, has been scored as one of the more contrarian Democrats by Congressional Quarterly. In the 111th Congress only five other senators went against the party’s majority more often than Webb did. But voting with your party 87 percent of the time still sounds consistent to us.
But voting with your party 87 percent of the time still sounds consistent to us. And on the highest-profile issues, Webb and Reid have backed the president.
We rate Radtke’s statement True.
Jamie Radtke, Statement on Senator Webb’s decision not to seek re-election, accessed Feb. 11, 2011.
The Washington Post, Senate voting records,Webb’s voting record, accessed Feb. 14, 2011.
The Washington Post, Senate voting records,Reid’s voting record, key votes, accessed Feb. 14, 2011.
The Washington Post, Senate voting records for 111th Congress,Reid’s voting record, accessed Feb. 14, 2011.
The Washington Post, Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, accessed Feb. 14, 2011.
OpenCongress, Head-to-Head voting comparison, accessed Feb. 14, 2011.
GovTrack, Senate Vote on Conference Report H.R. 4173, Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform, accessed Feb. 14, 2011.
GovTrack, Senate Vote on H.R. 3590, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, accessed Feb. 14, 2011.
GovTrack, Senate Vote on Pay-As-You-Go Act of 2010, accessed Feb. 14, 2011.
E-mail interview with Chuck Hansen, director of communications for Jamie Radtke, Feb. 15, 2011.
Senate, Roll Call vote on confirmation of Sonia Sotomayor, accessed Feb. 16, 2011.
Senate, Roll Call vote on confirmation of Elena Kagan, accessed Feb. 16, 2011.
Congressional Quarterly Yearbook, 2009 and 2010, accessed Feb. 16, 2011.
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