|Photo by Todd Berenger/U.S. Air Force|
|Col. Rob Maness (retired) greets President Barack Obama at Kirtland Air Force Base in 2011. Maness told the Press Club of Baton Rouge he favors investigating possible impeachment of the commander-in-chief.|
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Republican U.S. Senate candidate and tea party favorite Rob Maness pledged Monday to stick to a two-term limit, keep his home in Louisiana and reduce the budget for his congressional office if elected.
Maness is waging a long-shot campaign against the better-funded Republican contender, U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy, who is running with support of the GOP establishment. Both will face incumbent Democrat Mary Landrieu in the Nov. 4 primary.
A retired Air Force colonel who has never run for office, Maness is seeking to position himself as the more conservative candidate than Cassidy.
In an appearance Monday before the Press Club of Baton Rouge, Maness blasted career politicians in Washington and opposed the White House's $3.7 billion emergency spending request on illegal immigration.
He said Congress should be starting possible impeachment proceedings against President Barack Obama, saying he believes the President has overstepped his constitutional authority. But Maness stopped short of calling outright for Obama's impeachment, in contrast to his high-profile endorser Sarah Palin.
"I happen to believe based on what I've seen that there's a valid reason to at least look at it," Maness said. "And I would not have a problem voting to impeach if the evidence showed from the articles of impeachment and the trial that it should be done."
On immigration, Maness said he wouldn't support anything considered "comprehensive immigration reform." Instead, he said the country must first secure its borders and then determine in a piecemeal fashion which laws need adjustments.
But when pressed on specifics, Maness gave few details of policy positions.
Asked for metrics of how to judge whether the nation's border was "secure," he said Congress would have to establish those judgments.
He said he would have taken a different approach to lowering flood insurance rates than the final plan supported by Landrieu and Cassidy. But he said he couldn't offer an alternative until further data was collected about individual flood risks.
Maness said he disagreed with proposals to raise the retirement ages to 70 for Social Security and Medicare for future retirees, but also said the programs' costs needed to be controlled.
"I don't want to tie my hands with a specific suggestion. I want to be able to sit down at the table and go over everybody's ideas and then we work toward solutions," he said.
The field of Republican contenders dropped Monday from three to two after state Rep. Paul Hollis announced he was exiting the race. He had reported little fundraising, drawn only slight attention in the race and lagged behind in the polls.
If no candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote in November, the top two vote-getters advance to a Dec. 6 runoff.