Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
August 31, 2015

Posts in "Debates"

August 28, 2015

Drowning in Weak Polling, How Long Can Lindsey Graham Stay in 2016 Race?

Sen. Lindsey Graham’s presidential campaign has had a tough time getting traction so far, and a new Quinnipiac University poll keeps him in the conversation about who might be the first of the 17 Republican presidential candidates to fold.

But do his low poll numbers suggest the end is near?

Full story

August 8, 2015

Rand Paul Makes His Pitch, Brushes Off Indictments

Paul speaks to supporters at the Pints for Liberty event. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Paul speaks to supporters at a “Pints for Liberty” event. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

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COLUMBIA, S.C. — Sen. Rand Paul’s target audience is unique among the presidential contenders. It skews younger and more libertarian.

That may make the Kentucky Republican the ideal candidate to attend a “Pints for Liberty” event, as he did Friday, but Paul says he also thinks that appeal suits him for a long campaign slog. Full story

August 7, 2015

Party Politics: Washington Watches GOP Candidates Debate

CLEVELAND, OH - AUGUST 06:  Republican presidential candidates (L-R) Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Donald Trump and Jeb Bush participate in the first prime-time presidential debate hosted by FOX News and Facebook at the Quicken Loans Arena August 6, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. The top-ten GOP candidates were selected to participate in the debate based on their rank in an average of the five most recent national political polls.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Republican presidential candidates, from left, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Donald Trump listen as former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush answers a question at the FOX News-Facebook GOP debate on Thursday. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

While the Republican presidential candidates were on stage in Cleveland, several Washington clubs took on the air of sports bars at debate-watch parties scattered across the city.

Roll Call did the bar crawl and hit those at the National Press Club, the Union Pub and Johnny Pistola’s.

Full story

At Debate Night at the Movies, Cheers for Candidates, and the Moderators

UNITED STATES - AUGUST 6: Charleston area Republicans watch the Republican primary debate at the Mount Pleasant Cinebarre theater during the Charleston County GOP debate watch party in Mount Pleasant, S.C., on Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Charleston area Republicans watch the Republican debate on Thursday at the Mount Pleasant Cinebarre Theater in Mount Pleasant, S.C. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. — It was a full house at a South Carolina movie house Thursday night for a special show: the first Republican presidential debate of the 2016 cycle.

The venue was perfect for a show with bombastic businessman Donald Trump.
Full story

August 6, 2015

Democrats Seek to Turn Republican Debate Pain Into Their Gain

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In the commercial time between jabs at Thursday night’s Republican presidential debate, viewers watching in the Southern Maryland and Washington, D.C., media market will hear from a familiar Democrat.

Kathleen Matthews, the former television anchor turned Democratic candidate to replace Rep. Chris Van Hollen as he runs for Senate, purchased ad time on Fox News and other cable networks for an ad she hopes will contrast herself and other Democrats with the mammoth GOP field.

Full story

July 13, 2015

Rick Santorum Undeterred by Debate Format

Rick Santorum speaks to reporters at the Monitor Breakfast (Courtesy of Bryan Dozier/The Christian Science Monitor).

Rick Santorum speaks to reporters Monday at the Monitor Breakfast. (Courtesy of Bryan Dozier/The Christian Science Monitor).

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum is at risk of being excluded when the presidential primary debates kick off next month, but that doesn’t mean he’s worried about his chances in 2016.

“I don’t really pay a whole lot of attention to things that go on this far ahead of a national vote,” the Republican White House hopeful told reporters Monday at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor. Full story

October 28, 2014

6 House Debate Moments That Reminded Us of High School (Video)

Foust is running for Congress in Virginia. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rowdy auditoriums, petty exchanges, testy comebacks. Sounds like high school, right?

Try House candidate debates in 2014.

CQ Roll Call collected six of the most awkward and juvenile moments of the cycle from the hundreds of debates that took place across the country.

Like most debates, none of these moments will have much of an impact on the final outcome of the race. But as a season of these awkward meet-ups conclude, these exchanges are worth watching — at least for their entertainment value.

Here are the six debate moments that reminded us of high school:

Full story

October 8, 2014

Pat Roberts Had Three Big Points in Kansas Debate

kansas debate

Roberts, left, and Orman, right, talk after the debate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Embattled Sen. Pat Roberts doesn’t need voters to like him. On Wednesday, the three-term incumbent made the message he wants voters to take with them to the ballot box next month clear.

Roberts is being challenged by independent Greg Orman, and most recent polls show the three-term senator behind.

“A vote for Greg Orman is a vote to hand over the future of Kansas to [Senate Majority Leader Harry] Reid and [President Barack] Obama,” Roberts said in his opening statement at the Wednesday debate.

“A vote for Pat Roberts,” he said later, “is a vote for a Republican majority.”

Roberts has struggled mightily in his re-election campaign. He trailed Orman by 5 points or 10 points in previous public polling, although a new CNN poll showed him up 49 percent to 48 percent. Whether that’s an outlier or a sign of a rejuvenated campaign remains unclear. Full story

September 6, 2014

In First Debate, Pat Roberts Attacks Harry Reid

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts is in for a tough battle this fall. But in the Republican’s first public appearance with the candidate that has put his re-election in jeopardy, Roberts made clear he’s not only running against independent Greg Orman — he’s running against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Roberts and Orman faced off in a debate at the Kansas State Fair Saturday, just three days after Democratic nominee Chad Taylor tried to drop out of the race, opening the door for Orman to have a real shot at ousting the senator.

Roberts, who had not seemed to be taking the campaign particularly seriously, turned it on Saturday and came out swinging. He cast Orman, who has not yet said which party he would caucus with if elected, as a vote for Reid as Senate Majority Leader.

“I am the only candidate on this stage that will vote to put Harry Reid out to pasture,” Roberts said. “My opponent wants you to believe he’s an independent. He is not. He is a liberal Democrat by philosophy. He has given thousands of dollars to Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and, listen to this, listen to this, Harry Reid. Now Kansans know better.”

Roberts stuck to that message through the whole debate, bringing every single question back to Reid. So much so that Orman cracked, “It’s shocking that we didn’t hear the name Harry Reid in that,” when Roberts chose to mention Obama, instead, in an answer about the 2nd Amendment.

Full story

April 20, 2014

Georgia Republicans Brawl for Conservative Mantle in Senate Debate

Handel, left, and Perdue, right, debate for the Senate seat. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

AUGUSTA, Ga. — Seven Republican Senate hopefuls stood before a mammoth American flag Saturday afternoon for the sixth of seven debates hosted by the state GOP.

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.”

Full story

April 16, 2014

A Low-Key Paul Broun Campaigns for Senate in Georgia

Broun speaks with supporter Jim Serrate, of Acworth, Ga., at the conclusion of the Cobb County Republican Women's Club candidate forum on Tuesday. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

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

Indiana: Richard Mourdock Apologizes to Those Who Misunderstood Comments

(Tom Strattman/Associated Press)

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

Indiana: John Cornyn Stands by Richard Mourdock After Abortion Comments

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

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

In Debate, Richard Mourdock Says Pregnancy From Rape Something ‘God Intended to Happen’

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.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E1WDxSAyaR0&sns=em
Full story

October 18, 2012

Ohio: Sherrod Brown, Josh Mandel Get Testy and Personal in Debate

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

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