United States Senate candidate Robin Carnahan isn’t waiting until after the August primary to harshly criticize her likely general election opponent.

Carnahan, a Democrat, has honed in on two areas where her campaign thinks Republican candidate Roy Blunt is vulnerable: the $700 billion rescue of the financial sector late in 2008 and support of energy tax breaks. Carnahan says oil companies recorded a $500 billion profit last year.

“At the same time, Congressman Blunt was out there supporting subsidies and tax breaks for them,” Carnahan says. “I think it’s wrong and we ought to be saving that money and investing in things that are going to create jobs right here in small businesses in the United States.”

Carnahan criticizes the financial sector rescue, which was orchestrated by the Bush Administration in cooperation with the in-coming Obama Administration. Blunt, a Congressman from southwest Missouri, was instrumental in working with majority Democrats in the United States House to craft a measure that would secure enough votes to pass. President Bush signed the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act into law in October of 2008, creating the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP)

While Carnahan criticizes the help given the financial sector, she won’t say what alternative she would have favored to grease the gears of the nation’s financial markets and get the economy moving again.

Though critical of TARP, Carnahan supports the $789 billion economic stimulus package supported by President Obama and approved by Congress in early 2009.

“I’m not one of those who says we should bail out Wall Street, but stick it to the Middle Class folks who got help from the stimulus package,” says Carnahan. “I was in favor of the stimulus package. I think it’s been important for states.”

Carnahan insists the stimulus package has been crucial to Missouri’s state government. The state legislature used about $900 million in federal subsidies to keep from cutting more from the sagging state budget for the current fiscal year.

Carnahan and Blunt might be the leading candidates for United States Senate, but it is a crowded field. Two other candidates challenge Carnahan in the Democratic primary. Blunt has eight opponents in the Republican primary, including State Senator Chuck Purgason of Caulfield. There are also two Libertarians and three Constitution Party candidates on the August ballot.

AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [1:15 MP3]