Discussion after the US Senate debate in Springfield and before the final debate tonight in Kansas City centered on the tone of the campaign. One candidate cries foul, while the other says the issues raised are fair. Democrat Claire McCaskill says that she believes that national Republican leaders have decided they aren’t going to elect Senator Jim Talent, but are going to disqualify her. McCaskill’s comments came after the debate in Springfield. McCaskill complains that Talent and his fellow Republicans have resorted to personal attacks as the final weeks of the campaign unfold. Talent became aggressive from the outset of the Springfield debate, held in the studios of KYTV. He criticized her service as Jackson County prosecutor and questioned whether she and her husband, Joseph Shepard, have paid all their taxes. Republicans have long criticized McCaskill for not fully disclosing Shepard’s income. They have asked that Shepard release his tax return. McCaskill defends her husband’s decision not to release his tax returns. She says the two became married four years ago and have always kept their finances separate. McCaskill says she respects her husband’s wishes for privacy. McCaskill acknowledges her husband’s financial holdings are complex, but she says to infer that those complex holdings are evil just because they are complex and to intimate that there is something wrong with what he has done in his business is just dirty politics. Talent dismisses such suggestions, stating that when McCaskill ran for governor two years ago she stated that she and her husband shared in their mutual income. Talent says that where a politician gets the income they live on is obviously relevant. He also says Shepard’s used his wealth to finance McCaskill’s gubernatorial campaign. Talent denies tight public opinion polls, and a concern he might lose this race, has sharpened the edge of his rhetoric. Talent insists he has taken the aggressive stance, because he believes it’s relevant and that McCaskill’s campaign has made it relevant, because it has campaigned on a message that it wants to change things in Washington. The two meet Wednesday night in Kansas City for their final debate of the campaign.
Senator Talent took an aggressive tone during his debate with Claire McCaskill in Springfield. Talent, a Republican, criticized McCaskill during his opening statement for not paying property taxes for three years on property she owned in Jackson County, for what he termed a lackluster performance as Jackson County prosecutor, noting that a person in the office was accused of abusing meth. Talent also renewed criticism of McCaskill for not fully disclosing the sources of her husband’s income. McCaskill responded by saying that Talent took a lot of time attacking her, because he doesn’t have issues to talk about. McCaskill said she wouldn’t spend the time to attack Talent or even attempt to correct what she perceives as mischaracterizations of her record. Talent, though, made no apologies for his aggressiveness, which he displayed throughout the debate sponsored by KYTV, Ozarks Public Television, KSMU and the Springfield News-Leader. He returned to the theme in his close, stating that her record as an auditor and as a prosecutor is relevant, because she’s running on it. Talent says McCaskill’s record is questionable in many respects.
McCaskill defended her record during her close. She stated the property taxes weren’t paid during a period when her brother lived in a condominium her family owned. McCaskill said she paid the taxes as soon as it was brought to her attention. She insisted that she called for the special investigation into her office when she discovered that someone had been abusing meth in her office and she said that the special investigation cleared the office of any wrongdoing. McCaskill also said that crime went down in Kansas City during her tenure as Jackson County prosecutor.
Debate number three in Missouri’s U.S. Senate contest featured incumbent Republican Senator Jim Talent going toe to toe with Democratic challenger Claire McCaskill in Clayton, in St. Louis County. As was the case during the previous two forums – at Lake Ozark and on NBC’s Meet the Press – the two fielded questions on such issues as the war in Iraq, fighting terrorism, and stem cell research. This debate, however, featured a question on a country that is receiving a lot of attention these days: North Korea. Asked whether the U.S. should engage in one-on-one talks with the North Koreans, something Kim Jong Il wants, Senator Talent says absolutely not. He says it would be rewarding someone for sabre rattling. Democratic challenger Claire McCaskill wants to see all the players in the region at the negotiation table, but she says the United States should not reject one-on-one talks with the North Koreans. She says there should never be a refusal to engage in negotiations with any nation that poses a danger. The next debate is Monday in Springfield, followed by the fifth and final get together on Wednesday in Kansas City.
United Nations diplomats have begun talking about possible sanctions against North Korea in the wake of the apparent testing of a nuclear weapon by that country. Senator Jim Talent, a member of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, says sanctions must be employed, or at least threatened by the international community, to make sure North Korea puts an end to its nuclear weapons program. And, he says the pressure on the North Korean leader Kim Jong Il must come from the major players in that part of the world – China and Russia – and they must do it without getting something from the United States in return. China’s Amnassador to the U.N. has indicated his country is ready to support some sort of international action. North Korea has been insisting on bilateral talks with the U.S. to deal with nuclear concerns. Talent says the U.S. must reject that and insist on multilateral talks involving such countries as Japan and South Korea.
The major party candidates in Missouri’s U.S. Senate race square off on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” covering such issues as the war on terrorism, the situation in Iraq, stem cell research, and the scandal over sexually suggestive e-mails sent to Congressional pages by former Congressman Mark Foley of Florida. Host Tim Russert asked incumbent Republican Senator Jim Talent whether he’s comfortable with with House Speaker Dennis Hastert holding onto that job. Talent says it’s important to wait for completion of the investigation that has been launched before asking that someone step down. Asked about the Foley controversy, McCaskill has her mind made. She doesn’t want to wait for the outcome of the investigation. She believes Hastert should resign now. On Iraq, Talent insisted the U.S. military must maintain a meaningful presence until such time as the Iraqi military is ready to take control of the situation. McCaskill says that while the U.S. should not set an artificial deadline for withdrawal, it must redeploy forces to such places as Afghanistan to further fight the war on terrorism. she says terrorists are being created around the world as a result of the failed policy in Iraq. Discussion of the stem cell issue saw Talent reitterating his position that he favors research that protects against human cloning. McCaskill claims this country has never turned its back on medical research, and Missouri should not turn its back. The two candidates debate again, Wednesday night, in St. Louis.
A new public opinion poll gives little assurance to Republicans trying to hold onto power in Washington. Mason-Dixon Polling shows a tied race in Missouri and provides little comfort for Republicans across the country. The poll has incumbent Republican Senator Jim Talent at 43-percent and Democratic challenger Claire McCaskill at 43-percent. The poll was conducted for McClatchy Newspapers and MSNBC. Mason-Dixon pollster Brad Coker notes that undecideds often go to the challenger. No Republicans held firm leads in any of the polls taken by Mason-Dixon in key Senate races, giving Democrats optimisim that they might take the six seats needed to win back the U.S. Senate.
The U.S. Senate has approved the Military Commissions Act of 2006, legislation authorizing the President to establish military commissions for the trial of alien unlawful enemy combatants engaged in hostilities against the United States. Senator Kit Bond was among those both speaking against and voting against a series of amendments designed to extend greater rights to detainees and to restrict the authority of interrogators to question detainees. He criticized one such amendment as a roadblock to the effort to protect the country from terrorism. Senator Jim Talent joined Senator Bond in voting for the final version of the bill. The bill passed by the Senate is almost identical to one passed by the U.S. House. The legislation results from the U.S. Supreme Court ruling, last June, that America’s detainee policy for enemy combatants violated both U.S. and international law. The final tally was 65-34 in favor of the bill.
Related web sites:
U.S. Senate Bill 3930
Senator Jim Talent says this week’s United Nations rant by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez showed a complete lack of class and taste. In a speech to the United Nations, and later outside the U.N., Chavez criticized the Bush Administration and insulted President Bush, personally, calling him “the Devil.” Talent says most Americans – Republicans and Democrats – realize these comments were terrible. Talent says he doesn’t know why the United States should have to put up with these uncivil comments that no other country would accept. Talent believes sheer civility should dictate that world leaders say civil and polite things about leaders in a country being visited.
Make it five in Missouri’s U.S. Senate race. There will be plenty of debates between Republican Senator Jim Talent and Democratic challenger Claire McCaskill. The two campaigns have agreed to a 5th and likely last debate. This debate will be held October 18th at the University Academy Charter School in Kansas City, about three weeks before the November 7th election.
Missouri’s main U.S. Senate candidates are at odds over many issues, but the use of torture is not one of those issues. They have differences over such issues as stem cell research, tax cuts, and the Energy Bill – but incumbent Republican Senator Jim Talent and Democratic challenger Claire McCaskill both want to see aggressive interrogation used with suspected terrorists – provided the techniques used don’t cross the line and become torture. Talent says physical abuse is out, but anything short of that, including the playing of loud music, is acceptable to save American lives. McCaskill wants to closely monitor what these individuals are doing through the monitoring of phone calls and aggressive interrogation once the suspects are in custody. McCaskill says the U.S. must respect Geneva Convention guidelines.