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Sensenbrenner tells Brookfield Republicans flag should not have been lowered for Mandela

Issues range from Obamacare to Iran

U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner talks to supporters at the Venice Club in Brookfield on Dec. 6.

U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner talks to supporters at the Venice Club in Brookfield on Dec. 6.

Dec. 11, 2013

Already gearing up for 2014 elections, U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., fired up a crowd at Brookfield's Venice Club on Friday, stressing the deep divisions between Republicans and Democrats in Congress, distancing his party from recent measures, and taking questions on topics from Nelson Mandela to Iran.

"If there ever was a time you could see the difference between Republicans and Democrats, you see it now," Sensenbrenner said.

The Pints and Politics event was organized by the Republican Party of Waukesha County.

Sensenbrenner said while he respected Mandela as a leader, U.S. flags should not have been flown at half-mast after his death.

"Lowering the flag should be for mourning Americans and not for foreign leaders," he said to cheers.

Sensenbrenner said he was optimistic about congressional elections in November 2014, saying issues with the Affordable Care Act have turned people against Democrats.

"If I had voted for this mess, I would be hiding tonight," he said. "There's no way Obama can hold the Republicans accountable for this. ... Now it's time to put these Democrats over the side of the boat."

On Iran's recent agreement to halt activity at its nuclear facilities to get relief from economic sanctions from the U.S. and other countries, Sensenbrenner said it should not be counted as a victory.

"This is destabilizing; this is not peace in our time," he said, prompting a loud thank-you from the crowd. "This is a bad deal, it should be rejected, and if there's a bill to increase the sanctions on Iran I'll be hard for it."

Keith Best, public relations chairman for the Republican Party of Waukesha County, said the event was meant to give voters a chance to talk more openly with the representative.

"We'd like to bring the focus to the grassroots, the people who actually vote for him," he said.

He echoed Sensenbrenner's optimism for the party's prospects in 2014, saying although accusations of shutting down the government and waging a "war on women" have hurt Republicans, moves by Democrats have done more damage.

"Republicans have taken some hits in popularity, but I think Americans are starting to wake up to see that what's happening in D.C. is not good for America," Best said. "It's going toward socialism, redistribution of wealth and having people be more dependent on government."

Pints and Politics events happen monthly at varying locations in Waukesha County. More information is at waukeshagop.org.

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