#TBT One Week Ago: Cramer’s Worst Debate Moments

(BISMARCK, ND) – One week ago U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp and Congressman Kevin Cramer met to debate for the first time and, unfortunately for Cramer, they get to do it again tomorrow. Who knows what the second and final debate will hold for Cramer, but we’ve got our dictionary ready just in case. To get you ready, here are Cramer’s worst moments from the first debate.

1. Cramer lied to the people of North Dakota about “CramerCare” and his health care agenda when he said that none of the bills he supports allows insurers to deny coverage or charge higher premiums to folks with pre-existing conditions.

MODERATOR: “If elected, will you support or oppose any bills that allow insurers to deny coverage or charge higher premiums to people with pre-existing conditions, reinstitute lifetime or annual caps or weaken benefit such as coverage for prescription drugs?

CRAMER: I would not, and I have not.”

** Fact Check: This is false and has been debunked by the Washington Post and PolitiFact.

2. Cramer was desperate for a dictionary, confusing “censure” and “censorbefore lecturing the moderator.

MODERATOR: “What responsibility does Congress have to censure the President’s continued attacks on freedom of the press?

CRAMER: Now I never thought I’d hear a serious journalist suggest that we censor the president’s speech.”

His gaffe was so bad that the moderator felt compelled to clarify her original question:

MODERATOR 1: “I’m sorry. Just want to clarify the word was censure, not to censor.

3. Cramer once again compared standing up for North Dakotans against the trade war to treason.

CRAMER: “I’ll tell you one thing I haven’t done. I haven’t stood with China against our farmers. I haven’t stood with Canada against our farmers. I haven’t stood with Mexico against our farmers. When our president picks the tools that he’s going to use, I think we’re obligated to stand with the United States of America. The best way to end the trade war quickly is to be unified on our side, not on the other side.”

Remember the time he referred to Heidi as an “enemy of our own country” when she took farmers to visit the Mexican Embassy to mitigate the harm being done to North Dakota farmers.

And in case you needed reminding why Heidi won the debate and will win on November 6th, watch her highlight her record of bipartisan results for North Dakota:

HEITKAMP: “I think it’s, I think it’s interesting that Congressman Cramer talks about President Trump. Why not talk about what you’ve done? Why not talk about your accomplishments? Why not talk about your… bipartisan credibility? Because when you look at rankings, no matter what he says, I am 50th most conservative and 49th most liberal and political thought right now is like a dumbbell. There’s hard right and hard left. Congressman Cramer is going to be on the hard, right? There’s connective tissue in between that stops gridlock and that’s the moderates like me who try and get things done and do get things done.”



More Political Doublespeak from Cramer on the Trade War

(BISMARCK, ND) – Kevin Cramer continues to engage in political doublespeak as he attempts to have it both ways on the trade war. But a quick look at Cramer’s comments – and his record – demonstrate what North Dakotans already know: Cramer will blindly stand with the administration to increase his political capital, regardless of how it impacts North Dakotans.

NOW: Cramer admits there are farmers “hurting, no question about it, in the short-term.”

THEN: Cramer says in agriculture that “the short-term is the long-term […] and just one season can ruin a farmer’s livelihood.”

And while Cramer has told farmers that they need to hang tough in the face of “short-term pain,” a source familiar with the administration’s thinking says the trade war with China is at the “beginning of the beginning.”

See more:
Forum: North Dakota agribusinessman tells Pence he can’t sell enough grain
Bismarck Tribune: North Dakota to lose a lot in trade war
Agweek Editorial: “No one wins in a trade war, even when you try to fix it with a bandage”
Agweek: Economist: Prolonged trade war threatens North Dakota economic growth
AgWeek: The flood is coming: Tariff trade war could swamp soy growers when they’re down
CNBC: Soybean and pea farmers scramble as China and European trade missions cancel visits
KVRR: Farmers Speak Out Against Rep. Kevin Cramer and His Comments on Trade War
Forum: Letter: Steel tariffs are hurting small North Dakota businesses
Forum: Trade war: North Dakota soybean elevators, farmers looking for places to sell crop
Bismarck Tribune: Farmers wonder how ag ‘bailout’ for farmers affected by trade war will work
Forum: Local grain bin dealer says customers feeling tariff squeeze
MyNDNow: New Farm Bill Could be Affected by International Trade Wars
KVRR: Farmers Feeling Effects of Trade War, Farmer Bailout
USA Today: Boat maker, farmer, auto parts CEO feel the pain of a growing trade war under Trump
Forum: ND ag equipment maker feeling sting of trade war
KVRR: China Trade Dispute Results in No Bids on Soybeans
Axios: 11 million U.S. workers are in the trade war’s crosshairs
Associated Press: US trade deficit widened to $50.1 billion in July
Time: China’s New Threat Against Trump Has Some U.S. Farmers Nervous
Real Clear Politics: Trade Deal — or Lack of One — Is Key in N.D. Senate Race
Forum via AgWeek: ND ag equipment maker feeling sting of trade war
KVRR: China Trade Dispute Results in No Bids on Soybeans
Bismarck Tribune: North Dakota soybeans struggle to find market
Forum: Letter: Steel tariffs are hurting small North Dakota businesses
Cavalier County Republican: Soybean woes: from bad to worse in Cavalier County
Williston Herald: Soybeans are stuck
Grand Forks Herald via Washington Post: With jump in soybean output, ND finds itself in the eye of a trade storm
Farm Bureau: As Harvest Marches On, Tariff Pain to Follow
NPR: Soybean Farmers Worry About Tariffs’ Impact
Washington Post: China cancels trade talks with U.S. as new Trump tariffs loom
Associated Press: As aid checks go out, farmers worry bailout won’t be enough
Dickinson Press: Grain companies seek extra storage as trade war continues
Fox Business: Farmers fear China will never return to the US soybean market
Foreign Policy: Trump’s Trade War With China Could Hit Energy Exports
Bloomberg: Tariffs Start to Drag on U.S. Economy as Trade Deficit Widens
CNBC: US trade deficit widens to $53 billion as soybean exports plummet amid China trade battle
Washington Post via AgWeek: As Trump settles scores with China, American farmers pick up tab
Agweek: Grain grading among the later issues negotiated in USMCA; Canadian officials say Cramer’s comments didn’t help
CNBC: Farmers struggle to store crops as US tariffs start to take their toll
PBS NewsHour: Farmers Speak Out Against the Trade War
CNBC: ‘Refugee’ soybeans in the Dakotas seek a home after China stops buying because of the trade war
Forum: ND ag bankers riding the ‘black swan’: Soy tariff damage will last up to 5 years, economist says
Washington Post: North Dakota soybean farmers, caught in trade war, watch the season run out on their crop
NBC News: Trade off: China soybean imports set for biggest drop in 12 years amid tariff conflict
Forbes: China Stops Buying U.S. Oil, Two Months After Record Total


CramerCare Doesn’t Add Up to Same Health Care Protections As Current Law

(BISMARCK, ND) – In case you missed it, Politifact looked at why Republican health care proposals, such as the kind voted on and supported by Kevin Cramer, “are not as air tight as” the current health care law:

  • The current guarantee. In the old days, insurance companies had ways to avoid selling policies to people who were likely to cost more than insurers wanted to spend. They might deny them coverage outright, or exclude coverage for a known condition, or charge so much that insurance became unaffordable. The Affordable Care Act boxes out the old insurance practices with a package of legal moves.
  • Words vs. actions [… T]he protections in the GOP plans are not as strong as Obamacare. One independent analysis found that the [AHCA] left over 6 million people exposedt o much higher premiums for at least one year.
  • [A] s things stand, the latest official move by the administration has been to agree that the guarantees in the Affordable Care Act should go. It said that in a Texas lawsuit tied to the individual mandate. […] In particular, they argued that with a toothless mandate, the judge should terminate protections for pre-existing conditions. […] So, if the mandate goes, so does guaranteed-issue.
  • Latest Republican plan has holes. […] The legislation borrows words directly from the Affordable Care Act, saying insurers “may not establish rules for eligibility” based on health status, medical condition, claims experience or medical history. But there’s an out. The bill adds an option for companies to deny certain coverage if “it will not have the capacity to deliver services adequately.” To Allison Hoffman, a law professor at the University of Pennsylvania, that’s a big loophole. “Insurers could exclude someone’s preexisting conditions from coverage, even if they offered her a policy,” Hoffman said. “That fact alone sinks any claims that this law offers pre-existing condition protection.”
  • [T]he bill also gives companies broad leeway in setting premiums. While they can’t set rates based on health status, there’s no limit on how much premiums could vary based on other factors.
  • Past Republican plans also had holes. Whitlock said more broadly that Republicans have struggled at every point to say they are providing the same level of protection as in the Affordable Care Act. “And they are not,” Whitlock said. “It is 100 percent true that Republicans are not meeting the Affordable Care Act standard. And they are not trying to.”

Read the full report here.

Don’t forget, Cramer has attempted to rewrite his dangerous health care record, signing onto toothless resolutions that don’t actually provide protections for pre-existing conditions. He’s also misled North Dakotans about his record’s impacts, receiving “Three Pinocchios” for his false claim that the health care bill he voted for guarded against price discrimination for folks with pre-existing conditions.

WATCH more on Cramer’s empty health care promises here.


❌👻 Beware of “CramerCare” ❌👻

(BISMARCK, ND) – Kevin Cramer says his health care agenda “would look like” skinny repeal or Graham-Cassidy, but the reality is much spookier. “CramerCare” would be a disaster for North Dakotans – a fact that the Williston Herald, in their reporting on Cramer’s health care agenda – made sure to point out.

  • Other reports, however, show Graham-Cassidy would be a net loss for several states, including North Dakota, once federal funds provided to states for Medicaid expansion are included. An estimate published by Politico, prepared by Avalere Health, showed North Dakota losing up to $10 billion in funding from 2020 to 2026.
  • But the bill also lets states get waivers to price premiums based on an individual’s health care status. That’s similar to the situation prior to the ACA, when premiums for those with pre-existing conditions were too expensive for most.”

Here’s how else “CramerCare” could harm North Dakotans:

❌Eliminate federal funding for Medicaid expansion, which has enabled 18,000 North Dakotans to obtain coverage

❌Allow insurance companies to charge more for pre-existing conditions coverage

❌Allow states to define essential health benefits that to not include health conditions like asthma, cancer, or depression

❌Implement an ‘Age Tax’ on older North Dakotans ages 50-64

Reminder: Cramer also voted to repeal or undermine the current health care law 65 times and supports a partisan lawsuit that seeks to repeal the current law. He’s repeatedly broken his promise to North Dakotans to protect their care.


QUICK CLIP: Cramer and GOP’s “Revisionist History” on Health Care

(BISMARCK, ND) – Kevin Cramer and his colleagues are called out for their “revisionist history” when it comes to taking away coverage for pre-existing conditions and protecting access to affordable health care.



John King: “…I’m not for taking away coverage for pre-existing conditions, that’s what all the Republicans are saying. However, they have the House and Senate majority – they didn’t pass anything as they were trying to repeal Obamacare, they didn’t pass anything to preserve the pre-existing condition coverage. And the Trump administration is trying to let insurers sell policies that don’t have pre-existing condition coverage.”

Abby Phillip: “Yeah, it’s hard for me to see this flying, really. Even if you haven’t been paying attention to politics, you understand the basic contours of the health care fight for the last six years, which is repeal Obamacare on the Republican side and preserve Obamacare on the Democratic side, and a key part of that is pre-existing conditions. This revisionist history on Republican’s part, I think it’s… truly, I don’t think voters are stupid. It’s not going to be difficult for them to understand.”


ND Dem-NPL Launches GOTV Website

(BISMARCK, ND) – With two weeks until Election Day, the North Dakota Democratic-NPL is launching a Get Out The Vote (GOTV) website as a resource to encourage all eligible North Dakotans to exercise their right to vote. The website is part of an ongoing six-figure investment to engage voters across the state.

North Dakotans can use Demnpl.com/vote as a resource for the following:

  • Vote by mail signup
  • Find my polling location tool
  • Pledge to vote card
  • Make a plan to vote tool, including where you’ll vote, how you’ll get there, and when you’ll cast your ballot
  • Voting ID requirements

The site also includes information on how to update your driver’s license, request a residential address, ID requirements for college student voters, and other relevant information.

“Every election comes down to turnout and that’s why the Dem-NPL is committed to making sure North Dakotans have the tools necessary to make their voices heard,” said Scott McNeil, Executive Director of the North Dakota Democratic-NPL. “The resources this website offers is just one of the many ways, in addition to our voter hotline and our extensive campus and native organizing efforts, that we’re working to make voting foolproof for eligible North Dakotans.”

Last week, the Dem-NPL relaunched its voter hotline 1-866-ND-VOTES (1-866-638-6837) to make sure North Dakotans receive up-to-date information on absentee ballots, early voting, polling locations, and voter ID requirements.

For any press inquiries regarding the GOTV website or the hotline, please reach out to the Dem-NPL press team.


Cramer and His D.C. Bosses Make It Harder for North Dakotans With Pre-Existing Conditions to Afford Care

(BISMARCK, ND) – Today Kevin Cramer’s D.C. bosses issued new rules that make it easier for states to discriminate against folks with pre-existing conditions by allowing insurers to offer plans that don’t cover diseases such as asthma, cancer, diabetes, or depression.

“Kevin Cramer claims that he’s always protected coverage for pre-existing conditions, but the truth is that he and his Washington, D.C. bosses have consistently chipped away at North Dakotans’ access to affordable care,” said Courtney Rice, Press Secretary for the North Dakota Democratic-NPL. “Unfortunately for Cramer, health care has become the defining issue in this race and North Dakotans won’t stand for a career politician who has repeatedly voted for spiked costs and stripped coverage.”

Reminder: Kevin Cramer is full of empty promises when it comes to providing accessible affordable health care to North Dakotans. He voted 65 times to repeal or undermine the current health care law and supports an ill-conceived lawsuit – which could have done away with protections for folks with pre-existing conditions. He also voted to impose an ‘Age Tax’ on North Dakotans ages 50-64, and spike costs for many others.

WATCH “Empty Promises:”


Cramer’s Sticky Finances

(BISMARCK, ND) – NDxPlains questions why Kevin Cramer gets “so uneasy” whenever the subject of his finances comes up. Maybe it’s because he took campaign contributions from the same industries he was charged with regulating while on the Public Service Commission, causing a judge to issue him a “written spanking,” noting that Cramer’s actions were “ill-advised, devoid of common sense, and raises legitimate questions as to the appearance of impropriety.” Or maybe it’s because Cramer uses campaign funds to “enrich [himself] and [his] family,” a practice described as “morally kind of sticky.” Since his first run for the House, Cramer and his family have paid themselves over $350,000 from his campaign donors.

NDxPlains: Why Does the Subject of Finances get Cramer so Uneasy?

  • One thing that stood out to me is how sensitive Cramer continues to be about his finances. Why?
  • At two separate instances [during the first debate], Cramer was visibly angry about an ad claiming he “raised his own salary by $23,000” while on the Public Service Commission. The first moment was when prompted by the moderator on political advertising. The second was unprompted and appeared to be the one thing on his mind to ask Heitkamp. It is clear the subject is sensitive to him.
  • It isn’t the first time Cramer has lashed out regarding his finances. During the 2013 government shutdown, Cramer refused to donate his salary. Hoeven and Heitkamp both donated their pay to local charities. When Cramer was pressed about taking his salary he said, “I don’t get into those sort of stunt-y things” and made reference to Congress having “doctors’ spouses” who could afford to donate their pay during the self-inflicted shutdown. The “doctors’ spouses” was a personal shot aimed at Senator Heidi Heitkamp who is married to a doctor.
  • Cramer has made politics a family business over the years. Over the years, people have been quick to point out the jobs he has held have either been politically appointed or elective and funded either by tax dollars or political contributions. A career politician. Everyone now knows while he has been receiving a taxpayer salary, he has been paying his wife through political donations he has raised from his campaigns. Those are facts that when presented publicly leaves Cramer unglued.
  • Why does the topic of finances get Cramer so angry? These topics typically come under scrutiny as you ask for the public’s trust. When a career politician gets so emotionally frustrated about the same basic subject over the years, it makes you wonder […] Is there something there the public should know?



Welcome to Cramer’s Chronicles where, every Friday, we’ll break down the latest and greatest weekly hits about Cramer’s crooked, self-serving, extreme, and gaffe-prone behavior that puts himself and his partisan politics ahead of North Dakotans.

HEIDI WINS FIRST DEBATE. Last night’s debate proved once again why North Dakotans sent Heidi to the U.S. Senate six years ago. She’s an independent, adult voice for North Dakota who will always put their interests firsts – unlike Kevin Cramer. Missed the debate? Don’t worry, the Dem-NPL was busy holding Cramer accountable for papering over his anti-North Dakota record and we’ve got the receipts. 

TRIPLING DOWN ON GUTTING MEDICARE, SOCIAL SECURITY. Cramer has frequently admitted that he’s open to cutting Social Security and Medicare to pay for the tax cut he gave to the wealthy, but this week he tripled down on his anti-senior agenda, admitting three separate times that he wants to make changes to these programs.

  1. In an interview with the Jamestown Sun, Cramer advocated for raising the retirement age and making cuts to programs like Medicare.
  2. During a town hall sponsored by AARP, Cramer endorsed Mitch McConnell’s suggestion of gutting Social Security and Medicare to pay for the rising deficit and reiterated his support for making changes to these vital programs.
  3. In a radio interview, Cramer said it was “a mistake” that President Trump “has pledged not to deal with Social Security and Medicare.”

HEALTH CARE ON THE BALLOT. Cramer’s Washington, D.C. bosses admitted their disastrous plan to repeal the current health care law after the midterms – a plan that, if successful, could remove protections for more than 300,000 North Dakotans who have a pre-existing condition and could spike costs and strip coverage.

Our Take: North Dakotans’ access to affordable care is on the ballot this November – and with 52 percent of North Dakotans saying health care is “very important when deciding their vote for the U.S. Senate” and 53 percent having a “major concern” with Cramer’s votes to repeal the current health care law and undermine protections for pre-existing conditions – Cramer is in trouble.

CRAMER’S HEALTH CARE AGENDA WORSE THAN EXPECTED. Kaiser Health News is now reporting that the Cramer-endorsed lawsuit could also jeopardize care for folks who get coverage through their employer. Here’s what else the Cramer-endorsed lawsuit could do:

  • “[E]liminate the ACA’s cap on how much enrollees pay out-of-pocket and its ban on annual and lifetime limits.”
  • “For small businesses, the lawsuit would knock down the ACA’s ban on charging higher premiums based on health status or gender, and its limits on age variation.”

TRADE WAR THREATENS FARMERS – CRAMER BRUSHES OFF CONCERNS. From the Washington Post and running in this week’s Forum: “North Dakota soybean farmers, caught in the trade war, watch the season run out on their crop.”



…Because he doesn’t have any


Fast Facts from Tonight’s Debate: Heidi Proves Her Independence, Cramer Proves He’s a Rubber Stamp

(BISMARCK, ND) – Tonight’s debate once again proved why North Dakotans sent Heidi to the U.S. Senate six years ago. She’s an independent, adult voice for North Dakota who will always put their interests firsts – unlike Kevin Cramer.

In case you missed it, here are some Fast Facts from tonight’s debate:

Cramer Has Repeatedly Argued in Favor of Jeopardizing Medicare, Social Security:

Kevin Cramer is trying to deceive North Dakotans about his anti-senior agenda because it’s an election year. He claims that his calls for small cuts and changes to Medicare and Social Security don’t amount to cutting the programs. Experts disagree.

Cramer Misleads on Heitkamp’s Strong Immigration, Border Security Record:

Kevin Cramer has continuously misled North Dakotans about Heidi’s record on immigration. But Heidi’s strong record of supporting law enforcement and commonsense immigration policies earned her the endorsement of the National Border Patrol Council, the same group that endorsed Donald Trump in 2016.

There’s Only One ‘Rubber Stamp’ in this Race – Kevin Cramer:

Kevin Cramer wants North Dakotans to forget Heidi’s long record of working with her colleagues on both sides of the aisle to secure victories for North Dakota. But Cramer’s dishonest portrayal of Heidi’s record can’t hide her long list of accomplishments.

Heidi Has Effectively Pushed a True, All-of-the-Above Energy Strategy – Cramer Just Gives Lip Service:

Heidi Heitkamp has been an effective leader for North Dakota’s energy economy – successfully helping secure wins for oil, coal, wind, and biofuels. Meanwhile, for Kevin Cramer, an all-of-the-above energy strategy is just a political slogan as he’s worked to undermine the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and wind energy production tax credits.

Cramer Fails to Stand Up for ND Farmers, Supports President’s Trade War:

Kevin Cramer is trying to cover up his support of the president’s reckless trade policies by claiming he doesn’t support the use of tariffs. But Cramer – who promised to support the president “100 percent” of the time – has been one of the trade war’s biggest cheerleaders since day one.

Cramer Consistently Voted to Undermine North Dakotans’ Health Care:

Kevin Cramer is desperate to rewrite history on his health care record, but North Dakotans need to look no further than his voting record to find the truth. He’s voted time and again to undermine patient protections for North Dakotans with pre-existing conditions – and now supports a lawsuit to do the same.

Read more here.


QUICK CLIPS: Cramer Argues for Cutting Social Security, Medicare

(BISMARCK, ND) – During an AARP town hall last night, Congressman Cramer endorsed Mitch McConnell’s suggestion of gutting Social Security and Medicare to pay for the rising deficit and reiterated his support for making changes to these vital programs. See for yourself:

Cramer: “I think Senator McConnell’s simply being honest with the American people and I think that’s encouraging.”

Cramer: “President Trump, ironically, here’s one of the areas that he and I don’t agree on […] he promised not to touch your Social Security […] he and I already disagree on, on Social Security.” 

Reminder: This isn’t the first (or second or third or fourth) time Cramer has suggested making changes to these earned benefits programs. Read more here and here.


Cramer’s Health Care Pay-to-Play

(BISMARCK, ND) – North Dakotans have always known that Congressman Cramer will put his own interests above theirs. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that, despite North Dakota struggling with the opioid epidemic, Cramer has taken campaign contributions from a pharmaceutical company at the heart of the epidemic in at least the past two campaign cycles. Cramer “is one of only nine federal candidates to take a contribution from Purdue this cycle.”

Read more on Cramer’s selfish decision to take money for himself on the back of this crisis:

  • North Dakota’s attorney general, Wayne Stenehjem, joined a lawsuit against Purdue in May, saying the opioid crisis was “inextricably linked to Purdue’s pervasive and deceptive marketing campaign” and called it “common sense” that drugs that could kill or commit people to a “life of addiction or recovery” did not “‘improve their function and quality of life.’”
  • Cramer is one of only nine federal candidates to take a contribution from Purdue this cycle as of Thursday, according to the Federal Election Commission. In past cycles, the company has spent tens of thousands of dollars funding nearly 20 candidates.
  • In all, more than 25 states have sued Purdue in recent years over its deceptive marketing practices involving OxyContin, a charge it pleaded guilty to in federal court in 2007.
  • In 2016, North Dakota had 54 opioid-related drug overdose deaths, with a rate of 7.6 deaths per 100,000 persons, a spike of nearly 70 percent since 2014, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.