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Published April 26, 2012, 07:56 PM

Dick Morris: Sand, not Berg, is 'true tax-cutter' in ND GOP Senate race

FARGO – A national political consultant and Fox News analyst is endorsing Duane Sand over Rep. Rick Berg in the Republican primary for North Dakota’s U.S. Senate race.

FARGO – A national political consultant and Fox News analyst is endorsing Duane Sand over Rep. Rick Berg in the Republican primary for North Dakota’s U.S. Senate race.

While stumping for Sand Thursday in Fargo, Dick Morris said Sand is “a true patriot, a true tax-cutter,” whereas Berg broke a campaign promise two years ago to make immediate and severe cuts to federal spending.

During the 2010 midterm elections, Republican congressional hopefuls, like Berg, pledged to cut federal spending by $100 billion during their first year in office.

But in April 2011, as a federal government shutdown loomed, Congress struck a deal that only cut annual spending by $38 billion, which Morris called “pocket change” compared to the larger proposed cuts.

“Rick Berg voted wrong, He voted in favor of the deal,” instead of joining conservatives like Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, Morris said.

Morris is actively campaigning against a slew of sitting Republicans – including Indiana Sen. Dick Lugar and Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch – who he says voted wrong on that issue.

Berg’s campaign called Morris’ criticism a “false attack.”

“In addition to helping put people back to work, Rick Berg led the freshman class in calling for a balanced budget amendment, worked to rein in out of control spending and to repeal the nearly $2 trillion Obamacare, which 70 percent of North Dakotans did not support,” Berg spokesman Chris Van Guilder said.

Morris did acknowledge House freshmen had some conservative successes.

“First of all, they stopped mayhem from taking place; look at what Obama would’ve continued to do,” Morris told The Forum’s editorial board. “I think they were ineffective on the $100 billion, but they did force eventually a cut of about $1 trillion in spending over 10 year period, which was a reasonable cut in discretionary spending.”

However, Morris added, “those were all easy votes for a Republican to cast. There was only one vote that really separates the conservatives from the moderates, and that was the vote I’m talking about.”

Morris was as a campaign consultant and policy adviser to former North Dakota Republican Sen. Mark Andrews. He also served as a political strategist for former Democratic President Bill Clinton.

Morris is the second Republican celebrity Sand has brought to North Dakota in as many months to help boost his Senate challenge against Berg. In March, former GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain helped raise money for Sand during events in Fargo and Bismarck.

Morris said it’s “critically important” Republicans take control of the Senate next year – but even more so that true conservatives, like Sand, comprise that Republican majority.

“The refreshing thing about the conservative Republican movement … is it represents a clear departure (from the past),” Morris said.

Sand said Morris called him in November and offered to help with his Senate challenge against Berg, state Republicans’ endorsed candidate.

Berg and Sand will face off in the June 12 primary.

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