By Joe Rutherford/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Sen. Roger Wicker told the Tupelo Rotary Club on Monday that the U.S. stands to lose its “preeminence” if the national debt problem is not controlled and reduced.
Wicker, a Tupelo resident who had been honored earlier in the program by the club for his polio-eradication work worldwide, responded to impromptu questions before the club adjourned.
He described U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., GOP nominee-presumptive Mitt Romney’s running mate, as “terrific.”
Wicker said he had called Ryan and asked him to run for president when former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour and Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., decided in 2011 not to run for the GOP nomination.
Wicker, who delivered the GOP response Aug. 12 to President Barack Obama’s weekly radio address, is on recess and campaigning in Mississippi.
He stressed to the Rotarians a theme repeated in a later visit to General Atomics in Shannon, that massive cuts in defense spending, written into the Budget Control Act of 2011 during attempts to reach a deal on long-term debt reduction and spending control, will cost Mississippi an estimated 11,000 jobs.
Wicker said the issue, called sequestration, could be controlled by legislation already passed in the House but that has not come to a vote in the Senate.
Wicker, who is seeking his first full term in the Senate after appointment by Barbour following Sen. Trent Lott’s resignation in late 2007, defeated former Gov. Ronnie Musgove in a 2008 special election to fulfill the balance of Lott’s term.
His Democratic opponent is Albert Gore Jr. of Starkville, a retired military chaplain.