In the second segment of our ongoing series, "Checking In," we interviewed national tea party hero and former US Senate Republican nominee Ken Buck. In a new media twist, we conducted the interview live over our Twitter feed (@copeakpolitics), which allowed for a real-time give and take. As you'll see below, Buck's answers have to be brief and to the point as Twitter only allows 140 characters per message.
In the interview, Buck ripped Speaker John Boehner's budget deal with Barack Obama that cut $38.5 billion from the bloated federal budget, saying the American people were promised $100 billion. He also hit Obama for his speech today on his deficit reduction plan, saying Obama was playing "class warfare" and giving the American people "generalities" as opposed to Rep. Paul Ryan's specifics.
Buck also touched on his work with Balance America, an organization he started to push for grassroots support across the country for a Balanced Budget Amendment to the US Constitution. He believes the amendment's passage is a question of when, not if, saying:
"the closer we get to the economic cliff, the more likely we'll see broad support for an amendment. The real issues for Democrats will be the cap on spending as a percentage of GDP and a supermajority requirement to increase taxes.
See the full interview, translated to normal English from Twitter-speak below.
The Peak: Ken, tell us what you have been up to since November.
Ken Buck: I've been trying to shed the extra weight I put on during the campaign, spending some much needed time with Perry and my kids and am excited to be involved with a few efforts to focus on getting our country's future back on the right track.
The Peak: How have you lost all that weight? Any recommendations for conservatives who have eaten like Obama has spent?
Ken Buck: Eat less, exercise more. My advice to Obama for the budget? Spend less, cut more.
The Peak: Lets get to it…what's your sense of the Boehner/Obama budget agreement?
Ken Buck: It doesn't go far enough. Last year we promised the American people we'd cut $100 billion. The negotiations started at $61 billion, and then the GOP settled on $39 billion.
The Peak: Would you have voted for the bill?
Ken Buck: No
The Peak: Any thoughts on the Obama speech on the deficit that just ended?
Ken Buck: A few points, yes. One, Rep. Ryan has offered a specific plan, Obama gives us generalities. Obama ducked the central issue that our current spending, including entitlement spending, is unsustainable. Lastly, playing class warfare games isn't helping promote workable solutions. That's not leadership.
The Peak: Speaking of the deficit, what is your one-word description of Senator Mark Udall and Senator Michael Bennet's move to the right?
Ken Buck: Timely.
The Peak: Cynical?
Ken Buck: They're representing the interests of their constituents. Clearly, Coloradans want a federal Balanced Budget Amendment.
The Peak: What is an honest assessment of the chances of the BBA passing? With Udall on board does that make it possible?
Ken Buck: The question isn't will it pass, but when. The closer we get to the economic cliff, the more likely we'll see broad support for an amendment. The real issues for Democrats will be the cap on spending as a percentage of GDP and a supermajority requirement to increase taxes.
The Peak: A lot of conservatives were heartbroken you didn't win in November. Looking back, what would you have done differently?
Ken Buck: I was blessed to have had the experience. I don't think there's an easy answer; a lot of factors affected the outcome.
The Peak: What's next? There has been rumors you might be interested in running statewide. Governor? Attorney General? Truth in the rumors?
Ken Buck: I ran for Senate because I care about the direction this country is headed. Fortunately, I've been given opportunities to continue work on issues concerning the budget through projects Balance America and Pass the Balanced Budget Amendment. Given the right opportunity, I'll run.
The Peak: Ken, thanks for taking the time to answer our questions.