Exclusive interview with Pete Hegseth: Ready to challenge Amy Klobuchar

posted at 12:45 pm on February 26, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Last night, my radio partner Mitch Berg organized our semiannual (or so) Minnesota Organization of Bloggers social event at Ol’ Mexico in Roseville, and attendance was higher than ever.  Our fellow NARN radio host and now state Representative King Banaian paid us a visit, fresh off a redistricting decision that has him in a new (and more Republican) district, and a dozens of bloggers and even more blog readers and followers came to socialize with us.  We had a surprise guest among us — our old friend Captain Pete Hegseth, one of the founders of Vets for Freedom and just two weeks after returning to his family from Afghanistan after his third overseas tour of duty with the US Army National Guard — the other two tours being Guantanamo and Iraq.

For the past few months, there has been a movement in the state to draft Pete into running for the US Senate.  As an active-duty member of the armed services, Pete couldn’t participate in that effort or encourage it at all.  Now that he has been discharged from active duty, however, Pete has embraced the idea and will announce this week that he will run in the Republican primary for the nomination to challenge incumbent Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar. It’s a tough assignment, although hardly the toughest Pete has faced. Klobuchar has the power of the incumbency, plus a reputation as a moderate (which her voting record belies) and as a genuinely nice person (which is much more true).

Fortunately for me, I brought my camera rig to the MOB party to take a few pictures of the event, and managed to get Pete into a booth at the restaurant for an impromptu interview.  Unfortunately, restaurants are pretty loud places and not known for bright lighting, so the interview is a little noisy, and the cinematography looks like something from a film noir of the 1960s.  Still, the audio is plenty good enough to hear Pete talk about issues such as the budget, entitlement reform, military spending and policy, and how to campaign against a likeable incumbent like Amy Klobuchar.  I promised Pete I wouldn’t take more than four minutes for the interview, but we had such a good conversation that we went almost twelve minutes:

Some highlights:

  • On running against Klobuchar: “The first thing you do is remind people how she actually votes. … She voted with Senator Obama 92% of the time, and Senator Franken 93% of the time.”
  • On the moment: “These are times of incredible consequence.  There’s a lot of big, important things happening in our country. And we need representation that’s willing to roll our sleeves up and get dirty on those tough issues.  Often with Senator Klobuchar, you have her taking on the easy issues.”
  • Taxes: “Reform and simplify. … The only people who understand the tax code are the regulators … and the people who can take advantage of that tax code are the people who can afford to pay the lawyers.”
  • Entitlements: “We’re driving off a cliff.  Either we make the tough choices now, or they’re going to be made for us.”
  • ObamaCare: “Complete repeal.  Replace it with something that’s patient-centered, market oriented … We don’t need government making those calls for us and mandating [them].”
  • Defense cuts: “Across-the-board blanket cuts are not the way to go. … There are places — we could look at how we procure our weapons systems, for instance.  I think it takes someone who has been there, seen it — seen how our military works. … The world’s still a dangerous place, and if not America, then who?”
  • Global security mission: “The unfortunately reality, as you know, is that most of the Western world has checked out.  Europe is piggybacking on our defense infrastructure. They don’t have the ability to project power or defend interests around the world.  So if we check out, then freedom and democracy around the world in many ways checks out.”

Be sure to watch it all.  If you want  to support Pete Hegseth in the primary, be sure to visit his campaign website, PeteForSenate.com.  While you’re at it, thank his family who only got Pete to themselves for two weeks before he volunteered for his next service tour for his state and nation.

Update: I originally wrote that Pete was “founder of Vets for Freedom,” but of course he was one of the founders, and not the only one, as a commenter rightly points out.  I’ve fixed the reference above.


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He better win!

KOOLAID2 on February 26, 2012 at 12:50 PM

Thanks Ed.

I hope we get a lot of more men/women like him to run in the upcoming elections.

CoffeeLover on February 26, 2012 at 12:56 PM

I would love to have him serve us Minnesotans in the Senate. It’s unfortunate Klobuchar is near invincible.

letoile du nord on February 26, 2012 at 12:56 PM

Hey, make sure he doesn’t give up if there is a recount!!

SouthernGent on February 26, 2012 at 1:00 PM

Would be good for Minnesota (and everyone) to nominate a regular guy like this.

itsspideyman on February 26, 2012 at 1:00 PM

Also I see he graduated from Forest Lake HS.

Go Rangers!

letoile du nord on February 26, 2012 at 1:00 PM

Thank you for letting us know about Pete, here in MN. Heaven forbid the local media give him any attention.

pjean on February 26, 2012 at 1:10 PM

Ed
Cofounder, no? http://vetsforfreedom.org/about/founders One of them is a friend of mine.

Bmore on February 26, 2012 at 1:10 PM

Defense cuts: “Across-the-board blanket cuts are not the way to go. … There are places — we could look at how we procure our weapons systems, for instance. I think it takes someone who has been there, seen it — seen how our military works. … The world’s still a dangerous place, and if not America, then who?”
Global security mission: “The unfortunately reality, as you know, is that most of the Western world has checked out. Europe is piggybacking on our defense infrastructure. They don’t have the ability to project power or defend interests around the world. So if we check out, then freedom and democracy around the world in many ways checks out.”

Damn, there goes the all important & majority Paulian vote!

/sarc…but not the the Paulians…LMAO

BlaxPac on February 26, 2012 at 1:13 PM

It will be interesting to see how the right-to-work and voter ID referenda affect this election. One assumes Klobuchar will be opposed to both.

Wethal on February 26, 2012 at 1:15 PM

Thanks Ed. Good interview. I wish Pete all the luck in the world in what will be a tough uphill race against a popular senator.

This video also also illustrates that Ed is the blogger who never sleeps, he is always at work, even when in a bar partying with friends.

simkeith on February 26, 2012 at 1:24 PM

With the constitutional amendments on the ballot this year there is a very long shot chance for a Cravaak-style upset.

His chances would be much better if the GOP has a Prez candidate who is not one of the 4 Stooges now running.

Charlie Brown. Lucy. Football. Etc.

PS – to the GOP fundraiser who tried to shake me down for money the other day and mocked Sarah Palin: Kiss my ass and don’t plan on getting any money or my vote.

I’m all-in with whomever the Libertarians put up now, Chump.

Good job.

Bruno Strozek on February 26, 2012 at 1:26 PM

Nice interview, Pete would be an improvement for you all, he is certainly a better option. Klobuchar may be okay, Pete would be better. Upgrades are always good.

Bmore on February 26, 2012 at 1:31 PM

One other very important point about “Little Amy” K: she’s another BIG GOVERNMENT Lefty, who “knows what’s best” for all of us. Ann Coulter called her out in June 2010 for this un-American remark regarding Kagan’s approval to the Supreme Court:

“On MSNBC’s “Hardball” back in May, Sen. Klobuchar said: ‘We want to get some things done on this court.’ ”

That’s not what the Court is for, Comrade Amy. It’s supposed to protect American freedoms and rights, not your power over us. I hope Pete Hegseth uses this damning statement often against BIG GOVERNMENT Amy. Guess who I’m voting for?

RobertMN on February 26, 2012 at 1:51 PM

but its a democrat state! they will never vote him in. we have to find a republican that votes for liberal policies to run! thats the ONLY way we can win here or anywhere else!!!!

gotta play the long game folks…

Lifeisdeath on February 26, 2012 at 2:17 PM

That would be so sweet if we could get Amy out of there and put a thinker and a doer in there. Would be good for MN and good for the country.

Mirimichi on February 26, 2012 at 2:52 PM

Cofounder, no? http://vetsforfreedom.org/about/founders One of them is a friend of mine.

Bmore on February 26, 2012 at 1:10 PM

Indeed — fixed it above. Thanks!

Ed Morrissey on February 26, 2012 at 3:16 PM

When Klobuchar leaves the Senate it will be in a pine box. She’s a lifer. Resources would be better spent against Franken, who should be easily beaten by somebody like John Kline.

Walter Sobchak on February 26, 2012 at 3:18 PM

Will Klochubar debate? She’s rather a dim bulb, from what I’ve seen, while Pete’s a pistol.

Uh-oh, gun reference. I mus’ be a h8r.

Adjoran on February 26, 2012 at 3:50 PM

I’m all-in with whomever the Libertarians put up now, Chump.

Good job.

Bruno Strozek on February 26, 2012 at 1:26 PM

In other words, you will supporting Obama’s reelection, and Klochubar’s.

Don’t pretend otherwise. If that’s what you want to do, it’s your right, but don’t hide from the responsibility of your actions, mmmkay?

Grow a spine.

Adjoran on February 26, 2012 at 3:53 PM

Adjoran on February 26, 2012 at 3:53 PM

1. Obama carries Minnesota with or without my vote.

2. If you call somebody to ask for money and engage them in conversion, don’t insult them.

I don’t appreciate the condescension of the GOP Ruling Class.

Bruno Strozek on February 26, 2012 at 5:07 PM

We have a global security mission???

Where in the Constitution is this, Ed?

Dante on February 26, 2012 at 6:46 PM

When Klobuchar leaves the Senate it will be in a pine box. She’s a lifer. Resources would be better spent against Franken, who should be easily beaten by somebody like John Kline.

Walter Sobchak on February 26, 2012 at 3:18 PM

There are plenty of people lining up to run against Franken. It’s still a useful exercise to try to take down Klobuchar. Her support is wide, but shallow. Hegseth would be a strong candidate she would not be able to avoid.

Mr. D on February 26, 2012 at 6:57 PM

A vote for Klobuchar is a vote for Obamacare,Bailouts,Crony Capitalism,Unemployment,Sky high tuition,Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac,the Dodd-Frank takeover of the financial industry,Government takeover of the Internet,Radical Environmentalism, anti-Catholic bigotry, the elimination of Conscience Protections,and a totalitarian takeover of the economy. If you support these ideas, have you ever considered moving to Red China? I will support any Conservative candidate willing to seriously challenge Commissar Klobuchar.Hegseth sounds that a man of courage, intelligence, and conviction. I hope he runs and wins.

K Michael ODonovan on February 26, 2012 at 7:34 PM

Godspeed, Pete Hegseth. You are twice as smart as Amy Klobuchar and you have more than twice the service record to Minnesota and the U.S.A. I will vote for you, and I will encourage all my friends & family here in Minnesota to do the same. While Ed is wright that Amy is indeed a nice person, she is also an Obama drone and as dumb as the West wind. We need to cut here loose and go with the real deal this time.

minnesoter on February 26, 2012 at 10:12 PM

Republicans in Minnesota lost every State wide race in 2010. This year isn’t likely to be different unless Minnesotans see Obama as part of the reason for the poor economy.

However, we have two ballot measures coming up which might give a Republican Senate Candidate coat tails to ride on. A marriage amendment and a voter ID amendment, voter ID has about 70% support. I wouldn’t count on coat tails from our Presidential nominee, whomever it is, because the State will almost certainly go for Obama.

jpmn on February 27, 2012 at 2:39 PM

I may have to move back to my native Minnesota just to vote for this guy!

Nutstuyu on February 27, 2012 at 6:20 PM