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Senator-elect Donnelly on Beating Mourdock & Lugar Advice

The U.S. Senate will soon be without Richard Lugar of Indiana the first time since 1977.  The outgoing Republican will be succeeded on Thursday by Democrat Congressman Joe Donnelly of northern Indiana.
The U.S. Senate will soon be without Richard Lugar of Indiana for the first time since 1977.  The outgoing Republican will be succeeded by Democrat Joe Donnelly of northern Indiana.

We recently spoke to Congressman Donnelly about following in Lugar's footsteps and we also asked Donnelly about beating Richard Mourdock in November's election.

NBC 2's Patrick Fazio asks Donnelly: "You mentioned a lot during the election how you're more of a moderate.  What's an example of how you lean more with the Republicans than Democrats?"

Senator-elect Joe Donnelly says: "Well I voted against the cap and trade bill that would I thought have a negative impact on coal and on American energy.  And in another case I'm for the Keystone Pipeline which I think has to come through.  So those are two things and then on top of that I don't worry about the politics part.  I worry about job creation and opportunity.  When you do that I think that brings out the best in both Democrats and Republicans."

Fazio: "Your election against Republican Richard Murdock was close pretty much the entire time up until he made his comments about rape..."

Mourdock said during a fall debate: "...even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something God intended to happen..."

Fazio: "...how do you feel about benefiting from his comment?"

Donnelly: "Well, you know what we try to do is just talk common sense to the people of Indiana and so I can't speak for Mr. Mourdock all we ever tried to do was just say to everybody look we think this election  is about Hoosier common sense, about making sure that we do the basics that you do at home - try to balance our budget, try to make sure that there's good opportunity for all of our children and so that's what my focus was on."

Fazio: "As Congressman you represent the people of your district up in northern Indiana.  For those of the voters down here who don't know as much about you, what's one of the biggest misconceptions or things you want people to know about you?"

Donnelly: "Well, one of the biggest misconceptions is what the commercials were all about which is oh you know he pursues a Democrat line or a party line.  That couldn't be further from the truth.  I have raised a the family I have kids my focus is on how we make their lives better. How do we make their children's lives better?  And you find people who, when all they want to do is argue about party, the one thing they never seem to talk about are real solutions to things and so that's where I try to focus in on who wants to get the work done and that's who I want to spend time with."

Fazio: "The senator you're going to be replacing, Richard Lugar the sixth term senator, has he given you any advice or have you sought any advice from him?

Donnelly: "I actually spoke to him yesterday and the advice he gave is be yourself.  You do the very best you can don't worry about being Richard Lugar worry about being the best Joe Donnelly you can.  And when you look at Richard Lugar, he's an American hero.  He's served in the U.S. Navy, who was mayor of Indianapolis, who dedicated 36 years of his life for our state in the United States Senate and so he's a great example.  He's a great mentor and certainly sets a target for anyone in our state who ever aspires to serve in the United States Senate."

We also spoke to Donnelly about his goals when he joins the U.S. Senate.

Congressman Donnelly is set to be sworn in as U.S. Senator on Thursday when the Senate reconvenes.
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