Secretary of State Democrat Robin Carnahan spent a good portion of the debate continuing her message that Missourians should pay attention to her opponent’s record in Washington.
“He’s got a record there of 14 years of bailing out Wall Street, taking care of the special interests, raising the deficit and sticking us with the bill. I don’t think that’s something that deserves a promotion,” Carnahan said.
On the broadcast by Kansas City Public Television, Republican Congressman Roy Blunt did defend his vote for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), and dismissed the claim that he takes more money from lobbyists than any other member of Congress.
He also said he can’t be held completely accountable for the state of the country right now, because often his efforts in the US House left the tires spinning.
“That’s one reason I want to go to the Senate. I’m tired of sending all this stuff to the Senate that doesn’t get done and then Missourians wonder, ‘Why is it that these common sense things aren’t happening?’ If you look at the record of what the House sent to the Senate when I was in the majority, it’s a different record than what the federal government did,” Blunt said.
During the debate the candidates weren’t shy about addressing each other directly, and each responded to each other out of order at some points in the debate.
Carnahan criticized her opponent further for voting for TARP, saying the money made more of an impact on Wall Street than it did on Main Street.
“Our state has seen the worst foreclosure rates in the whole history in the month of August. Congressman, you were there to let these banks run wild. You deregulated them. You were there when they got out of control by their greed and risk taking. You were there to bail them out with $700 million of our money,” Carnahan said.
Blunt responded by saying the federal government should make money on TARP over time, and that much of the money has already been paid back.
“I hope we never get in that situation again, I hope we don’t have to do anything like that again. But I hope that if we do, that people from both parties are able to come together and do hard things. I did help negotiate the final TARP bill, but I was in the minority, I wasn’t in control of that room. But the things we got out and got in that bill made a big difference,” Blunt said.
Blunt responded to a question about Health Care reform in this way:
“It just spends way too much money. This bill spends $250 billion a year by the time you really start spending money, by year 7, year 8 and 9 and 10, and we can’t afford it. We just simply can’t afford it,” Blunt said.
Carnahan says she supports the health care reform passed earlier this year.
“I’ve talked to Missourians all over the state and small business owners who have seen their rates go up 100% or more in the past 10 years. At the same time, insurance company profits have gone up more than 400%,” Carnahan said.
Carnahan continued her case against the use of earmarks in Congress.
“It’s a waste of our money, it’s a corrupted process and all too often you have folks like Congressman Blunt using that process to reward campaign contributors and special interests. I think that’s wrong. I think they need to be scrapped; I think they’re a reflection of the broken culture in Washington. I think that’s the first thing we need to do is ban them outright,” Carnahan said.
Meantime, Blunt disagrees, saying securing earmarks is a part of the job.
“In terms of competing for things that are the right things for Missouri, let’s look at the highway fund for example. The highway fund doesn’t get any bigger or any smaller based on how much we get out of it. But what does happen is, if you don’t compete you don’t get the money,” Blunt said.
Blunt says he worked with a number of Missouri Congressmen from both parties to help raise Missouri’s cut of that fund from 80 cents to the dollar to a positive return.
The debate was taped Thursday morning, and within hours each campaign issues a statement claiming their candidate had “won” the debate. You can judge for yourself by listening to the entire debate
The candidates answered questions from a panel of journalists on a number of other topics, including the campaign itself, the influence of lobbyists, job creation, cuts to Medicare, negotiating with terrorists, and global warming.
The pair debates again Friday morning at the Lodge of Four Seasons at the Lake of the Ozarks. The Missourinet will be there.