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Posts in "Debates"
April 20, 2014
In front of a couple hundred voters at the Columbia County Exhibition Center just outside Augusta, the candidates sought to fortify their conservative credentials on immigration, the Second Amendment, abortion and what can be done to improve confidence in the economy.
With so many candidates running for the state’s open Senate seat, none are expected to win a majority of the vote in the May 20 primary. They’re fighting to finish in the top two and advance to the July 22 runoff, when all bets are off.
Michelle Nunn, the likely Democratic nominee, wasn’t mentioned until the final three minutes of the 90-minute debate — symbolic of where the GOP’s focus still is in the race to replace retiring GOp Sen. Saxby Chambliss. Former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel first uttered the Nunn name in her closing remarks, as she portrayed herself as the most electable conservative on the stage.
“I would just love to see Michelle Nunn try to drop the ‘war on women’ on me,” Handel said.
Handel is the only woman in the field of GOP candidates, five of whom have at least an outside shot at making the runoff. Former Reebok and Dollar General CEO David Perdue, the cousin of former Gov. Sonny Perdue, continually pitches himself as the outsider with the business background, grouping Handel in with the three members of Congress as the “career politicians.”
“Sometimes real change takes an outsider’s perspective,” Perdue said. “Fresh eyes, determination and a bucket-load of common sense. That’s what I will bring to the United States Senate.”
April 16, 2014
MARIETTA, Ga. — If one knew of Rep. Paul Broun only from a 90-minute Senate candidate forum Tuesday, it wouldn’t be obvious he is the cause of so much heartburn among Republican strategists from Capitol Hill to Atlanta — all hoping to hold the party’s most vulnerable open seat.
Broun, known widely for his controversial comments on evolution and other topics, sat stoic and expressionless on the dais as four other Georgia Republican hopefuls professed their conservative credentials. Each time the moderator called on him, Broun took a slow, deep breath before calmly — though sometimes haltingly — laying out his views and record on a range of issues.
That included his bill to prohibit “amnesty” in any comprehensive immigration overhaul, his bills to repeal the Affordable Care Act and his staunch support of the Second Amendment. All are firmly conservative positions, but his answers lacked any hint of the rhetoric that has some party insiders concerned his nomination would put in jeopardy a seat the party must hold for any hope of winning the Senate majority. Full story
October 24, 2012
Updated 3:45 p.m. | INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana Treasurer Richard Mourdock (R) sought to clarify his controversial debate comment that pregnancies resulting from rape are “something that God intended to happen” this morning, apologizing to those who misunderstood his remarks but standing by their intended meaning.
“If, because of the lack of clarity in my words, they came away with the impression other than those I said a moment ago, that life is precious, that I abhor violence, and God abhors violence and rape. If they came away with any impression other than that, I truly regret it,” Mourdock said at a press conference at Indiana Republican Party headquarters
Mourdock choked up repeatedly during the press conference, declaring himself a “more humble person this morning because so many people mistook, twisted, came to misunderstand the point that I was trying to make.” But when pressed about his apology, Mourdock defended the original intent behind his statement. Full story
INDIANAPOLIS — National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn (Texas) is standing by his nominee in Indiana, state Treasurer Richard Mourdock, who said pregnancy that results from rape “is something God intended to happen” in the final Senate debate Tuesday night.
Mourdock was answering a question about abortion and explaining his position that he is against the procedure in all cases except when the life of the mother is at risk. He faces Democratic Rep. Joe Donnelly, who is also anti-abortion-rights but believes in exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother.
“Richard and I, along with millions of Americans – including even Joe Donnelly – believe that life is a gift from God,” Cornyn said in a statement emailed to reporters this morning. “To try and construe his words as anything other than a restatement of that belief is irresponsible and ridiculous. In fact, rather than condemning him for his position, as some in his party have when it’s come to Republicans, I commend Congressman Donnelly for his support of life.” Full story
October 23, 2012
NEW ALBANY, Ind. — In the final, high-stakes debate before Election Day, state Treasurer Richard Mourdock (R) touched on an issue that has bedeviled another Republican Senate candidate, saying that “even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.”
“I just, I struggled with it myself for a long time,” Mourdock said as he teared up. “But I came to realize that life is that gift from God.”
October 18, 2012
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and state Treasurer Josh Mandel (R) were alternately feisty and condescending in a debate tonight in the state’s capital city.
The two-term Senator defended his “pro-worker, pro-small business” record, while Mandel accused Brown of “gobbledygook” and “Washington speak” that requires an online translator.
“You have my commitment for my second term to continue to fight for Ohio workers and Ohio companies and to continue to stand up for the middle class,” Brown said.
“Sherrod Brown says one thing in Ohio and does another thing in Washington,” Mandel said several times throughout the hourlong debate. “We can’t change Washington by sending Sherrod Brown back there.” Full story
Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill and GOP Rep. Todd Akin used the final Missouri Senate debate to talk about issues close to home, but the exchange of the night came on foreign policy.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) became a focus of the discussion, with McCaskill and Akin disagreeing on his proposal to restrict foreign aid to a variety of countries — even if neither candidate could quite remember which ones the Kentucky Republican meant to reference.
“I am, in fact, the one that’s supporting the fact that we should not be giving foreign money to a number of places, and that includes of course Libya and Pakistan and — let’s see, one other country as well …” Akin said.
McCaskill offered up “Syria,” in a moment reminiscent of when Mitt Romney pitched in to try to help Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) remember which Cabinet departments he planned to eliminate during a presidential primary debate earlier this year.
The third country on Paul’s list is Egypt.
October 11, 2012
WOODLAND HILLS, Calif. — Rarely is politics described as a contact sport in the literal sense, but the exception happened today toward the end of a feisty debate between Democratic Reps. Brad Sherman and Howard Berman at a community college in the San Fernando Valley.
Things escalated toward the end of the debate, during an argument over Berman’s leadership on the DREAM Act. The debate was held in front of a largely Hispanic crowd of more than 200 enthusiastic Pierce College students and members of the community, Full story
RESEDA, Calif. — There was far more space between the green armchairs that Democratic Reps. Brad Sherman and Howard Berman sat in during Wednesday’s debate than there was on the range of issues the two longtime Congressmen discussed.
But in a duel between two incumbents from the same party, it’s not so much the issues that voters will use to set them apart on Election Day but temperament and which Democrat will better represent their values in Washington, D.C. Full story
October 10, 2012
Rep. Jeff Flake (R) and former Surgeon General Richard Carmona (D) engaged in a vigorous but respectful debate Wednesday night in their closely watched contest to replace retiring Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl (R).
The contest has in recent weeks moved to the forefront of battleground races that could determine which party will control the Senate in the next Congress.
Right off the bat in his opening statement, Flake sought to counter to Carmona’s biography by accusing his foe of being unwilling to take concrete positions on issues.
“My opponent has a great résumé, but a résumé is not a plan,” Flake said. “He’s been running for nearly a year now, and we still don’t know where he stands on the major issues of the day.”
Carmona repeatedly referred to a national “infrastructure” that provided him opportunities for education and to move up the socioeconomic ladder. The term was as much of a subtle criticism of Flake as it was about the American Dream — the underlying charge being that Flake’s fiscal conservatism will inhibit Arizona from obtaining its share of federal infrastructure funds. Full story
Amid polls showing that women may be drifting away from President Barack Obama, EMILY’s List President Stephanie Schriock told reporters that women will still help Democrats prevail on Election Day, particularly in key Senate races.
“Women voters are going to vote for Democrats because they know what’s at stake,” Schriock said in a conference call today. The Democratic women’s PAC has shattered its previous fundraising records and will spend more in this election cycle than at any point in its 27-year history, she said.
Schriock assailed GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s record on women’s issues, called on Vice President Joseph Biden to challenge House Budget chairman Paul Ryan (Wis.) on those issues in Thursday’s vice presidential debate and touted her PAC’s record 2012 spending on behalf of female Democrats.
Romney knows he needs women to win the election and has decided that “his best strategy for getting their votes is to lie to them,” Schriock said. She quoted Romney’s recent statement to the Des Moines Register that “there’s no legislation with regards to abortion that I’m familiar with that would become part of my agenda.” Full story
October 9, 2012
A cascade of poll numbers confirms Mitt Romney’s big bounce after Wednesday’s debate with President Barack Obama, putting him ahead in several national and state polls and closing the gaps in swing states where he had trailed.
However, there are signs that Friday’s surprising September jobs report may help Obama stanch the bleeding.
Gallup, which unveiled its seven-day likely voter tracker for the first time today, showed Romney with a 49 percent to 47 percent advantage, while Obama led 49 percent to 46 percent among registered voters. This and other recently released polls confirmed an enthusiasm gap that favors the GOP. Gallup did have one bright spot for Obama: Its three-day job approval for the president hit a recent high of 53 percent among “all adults,” possibly aided by Friday’s unexpectedly low 7.8 percent unemployment rate.
Still, polling generally continues to show a strong bounce for Romney, the Republican presidential nominee — most pronounced in Monday’s Pew poll that showed the former Massachusetts governor swinging to a 4-point lead from an 8-point deficit after the debate. Today, Romney led Obama nationally in the RealClearPolitics.com average for the first time in the 2012 campaign.
October 8, 2012
Set to face each other in their fourth debate tonight, former Govs. George Allen (R) and Tim Kaine (D) each released television ads today that push the central messages of their respective Senate campaigns. Full story
October 4, 2012
People seem to really love Big Bird.
That’s one of the top takeaways from TiVo’s analysis of the “Top Moments” of Wednesday night’s presidential debate. Republican nominee Mitt Romney’s comments on eliminating federal funding for public broadcasting was, in essence, the most rewound and replayed moment of the entire debate by users of the digital recording devices, the company said today.
Twitter reported similar interest in Big Bird and PBS on the social media platform.
“The evening’s real breakout star was a certain tall yellow Muppet. There were more than a quarter million Tweets mentioning Big Bird, following Governor Romney’s statement that he wants to cut Federal funding for PBS, the Muppet characters’ TV channel, even despite his stated fondness for the Sesame Street character,” a blog post from Twitter said.
Asked by moderator Jim Lehrer of the “PBS NewsHour” to identify federal programs that he would cut to help reduce the federal budget deficit, Romney first said he would repeal the 2010 health care overhaul but then turned to funding for public broadcasting.
“I’m sorry, Jim. I’m going to stop the subsidy to PBS. I’m going to stop other things. I like PBS. I love Big Bird. I actually like you, too,” Romney said to Lehrer. “But I’m not going to — I’m not going to keep on spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for it.”
President Barack Obama’s budget request calls for an advance appropriation of $445 million for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting for fiscal 2015. The corporation is supporting that level of funding. It has been funded through a two-year advance appropriation since 1976, in an effort that the corporation’s leadership says helps ensure editorial independence of Lehrer and others.
The Sesame Workshop, which produces the “Sesame Street” program featuring the lovable giant yellow bird responded with a statement today.
“‘Sesame Street’ has been a proud partner of PBS for 43 years, and is dependent on PBS to distribute our commercial-free educational programming to all children in the United States. Sesame Workshop is a nonpartisan, nonprofit, educational organization,” the group said. “We do not comment on campaigns, but we’re happy we can all agree that everyone likes Big Bird.”
Sesame Workshop, previously called the Children’s Television Workshop, is a charitable nonprofit organized as a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization.
TiVo reported the Big Bird moment took the top prize among viewers on CNN, Fox News and NBC.
Other leading moments included Romney’s explanation of his position on Medicare benefits for upper-income beneficiaries and an exchange between Romney and Obama regarding Romney’s tax proposals.
October 3, 2012
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R) made retiring Rep. Barney Frank into political fodder in her race for Minnesota’s 6th district, dinging her opponent, businessman Jim Graves, for planning to host the Massachusetts Democrat at a presidential debate-watch fundraiser tonight.
Frank, ranking member on the powerful Financial Services Committee and known for the Wall Street reform law that bears his name, will attend Graves’ debate-watch fundraiser at a hotel that Graves owns in downtown Minneapolis. Democrats say the seat could be in play after a September poll paid for by Graves’ campaign showed the race to be competitive, with Bachmann leading Graves, 48 percent to 46 percent.
Bachmann has capitalized on Frank’s appearance at the fundraiser, releasing a video on her website that highlights Graves’ ties to Frank, a backer of “big government policies like the Wall Street bailout, the failed stimulus package and Obamacare,” according to Bachmann.