Facing Tough Re-Election, Sen. Lincoln Seeks to Clarify Position on Health Care

Sen. Blanche Lincoln attends the opening of her Little Rock, Ark., campaign headquarters March 1. (AP Photo)

Sen. Blanche Lincoln attends the opening of her Little Rock, Ark., campaign headquarters March 1. (AP Photo)

As the Arkansas Senate race heats up, Sen. Blanche Lincoln wants to set the record straight on her view of settling health care reform with a simple majority vote.

She's against it. 

"I have put out a statement several weeks ago that I oppose using reconciliation for passing health care, and I still stand by that," the Democratic senator facing a tough re-election fight said. 

In recent days, the Democrat senator has been questioned about exactly where she is on the issue, though she says her position has never changed. Reconciliation would allow Democrats to move forward with just 51 votes, rather than 60.

Lincoln's new primary opponent, Lt. Gov. Bill Halter, said the topic of reconciliation is just one of many areas where he and Lincoln part ways.

"We absolutely disagree on reconciliation," Halter told Fox News. "I'm in favor of allowing a majority vote to determine health care reform."

In the high-tech information age, Lincoln knows rumors can spread quickly, and she takes issue with those who would distort her record.

“I get hit from the left because I am a moderate," she said. "I get hit from the right because I'm not far right and, you know, when you’re in that crosshair it's a challenging time,”

Lincoln took to Twitter on Tuesday trying to stem the confusion about her position on reconciliation while recognizing the unique challenges of campaigning in the digital age,

"In these kinds of campaigns, particularly in this day and age, [it’s important] that you really do pay attention to what you get out there – and that you use those modes of communication as much as anybody else," she said. 

Halter joins the primary confident that he can derail the incumbent and said her 15-year record in Washington doesn't impress voters.

"I think there have been multiple times, unfortunately, where Sen. Lincoln has been in favor of something and then against or against something and then in favor," Halter said.

The Democratic challenger comes backed by Moveon.org, which calls Lincoln "one of the worst Democrats in Washington." The liberal group has mobilized a grassroots campaign for Halter, which has raised more than $1.2 million in just a few days. Halter said he welcomes support "from across the political spectrum."

If Lincoln survives the primary, she's likely to meet up with Rep. John Boozman, R-Ariz., on the November ballot. Boozman, the only Republican in the Arkansas congressional delegation, has doubts that Lincoln's strategy to campaign as a moderate Democrat will ring true with Arkansas voters. As a college football player, Boozman recalls Arkansas coach Frank Broyles telling him that past performance was indicative of future performance.

"I think when you look at the record versus the rhetoric and, you know, what actually has been done, it doesn't match up," Boozman said of Lincoln. That conflict, he added, is "a big concern for the people of Arkansas."

But Lincoln seemed unruffled.

"I work in a bipartisan way," she said. " I stand up for what I believe in and what I think is good for Arkansas."

Lincoln said that sometimes means breaking the party line, "I don’t hesitate, even if it's contrary to what my own caucus wants to see or do."

Shannon Bream currently serves as anchor of FOX News Channel's (FNC) FOX News @ Night (weekdays 11PM-12AM/ET). She joined the network in 2007 as a Washington D.C-based correspondent covering the Supreme Court.