Merrick Alpert is in the crowd here at the Lincoln Theater for tonight’s GOP Senate debate at the University of Hartford.
Archive for 2010
Reporting to you live from the University of Hartford, where tonight GOP Senate hopefuls Linda McMahon, Rob Simmons and Peter Schiff will square off in the first Republican debate of the political season — sponsored by the Hartford Courant and FOX 61.
Stay tuned for comprehensive coverage of the hostilities.
Want to see it for yourself — tune to Channel 20 for Cablevision customers at 7 p.m.
We invite you to weigh in here with your thoughts about the debate. Thanks for following along.
7:58: Moderator wraps it up.
7:56 Schiff: I’m an economist who got it right, forecasting the economic collapse “in advance.” For years, I was a fixture on business TV warning about the problems in the housing sector in Freddie and Fannie….and people laughed at me. I created a business. I know how government can harm businesses. And I’m not a politician. “If you send me to Washington, I promise you one thing: That town will never be the same again.”
7:53: Simmons: His family didn’t immigrate to the U.S. for a stimulus bill, but for opportunity. A “powerful and invasive” federal government is taking away “our freedom.” …”These are serious times, they call for serious leadership.”
McMahon says that she has surmounted personal financial loss. She says she’s attended more than 250 meetings, and she’s heard people’s anger about “the way Washington is taking over our country.” Talks about her success in business, commitment to Ct., and desire to bring a fresh approach to the Senate.
Closing statements coming:
7:49: McMahon says she would not serve more than two terms if elected.
Schiff beat McMahon to the punch on career politican rap, but she comes back with calling for a “smackdown” of career pols. Let’s see if any other wrestling metaphors surface.
Schiff: Career politicians supported stimulus plans offered by Bush and by Obama.
7:46: McMahon: “When you can’t drive consensus you have to drive your point.” But she adds that the best deal she ever struck gave both sides something of what they wanted.
7:45: Schiff says Republicans “have been compromising for years, and look at the mess we’re in.”
7:44: Schiff: “I don’t want to overcome gridlock if that’s the only thing that’s standing between us and more government.”
Simmons: Says he can work with Democrats on issues where he can “work together effectively for a common cause.”
Schiff: Free market, if left alone, will result in lower health costs, in the same way that the unregulated electronics industry is experiencing lower costs.
7:41: McMahon tells story of friend in Vegas who needs MRI and is told it costs $1,500. Friend says, don’t have health care. Hospital sez the MRI is only $500. “Maybe we should all go in and bargain. Sounds like a plan to me.”
Schiff: “I don’t have to read the bill to know that I oppose it.”
Simmons: You don’t have to read these bills to know what they’re about….government takeover of health care.
7:38: Simmons sez he hasn’t read the latest bill either, though he said he read almost all of the Dodd bill.
7:35: McMahon: (in response to question) I haven’t read the full Senate health care legislation, and I don’t think members have, either.
It appears Simmons doesn’t have much of an appetite for bringing up the steroids issue, although the questions thus far have not given him a chance.
7:34: Schiff: Government is the problem by refusing to allow the forces of the free market to drive health care insurance.
7:32: Simmons another advocate of tort reform.
7:31: Simmons agrees with McMahon in opposing “government-run” health care.
7:30: McMahon’s solution calls for tort reform and allows insurance to be offered across state lines.
7:28: First health care question: Millions of Americans don’t have health insurance. Some Demorats want a single-payer system. How would you reduce costs, cover more people without harming Ct.’s health care industry?
7:27: Simmons says he thinks it’s a lousy idea to try terrorist suspects in civilian trial “in New York City or New Haven or anywhere else….”
McMahon: We need a strategic plan.
7:24: Schiff: “Even Hilary Clinton” believes budget deficit a national security issue.
Simmons: We withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan “when we win.” Says his experience in Vietnam convinces him, “We have to be firm.”
McMahon: We need a plan for victory.
Schiff: Can’t set a timetable.
Another question: when should troops be withdrawn?
7:22: Simmons says U.S. can’t allow Afghanistan to foment terrorism, but also can’t commit long-term, substantial U.S. presence.
7:21: U.S. can’t just “go and leave” Iraq, McMahon says.
7:20: Schiff: It was a mistake for the United States to go into Iraq…..”we can’t get into nation-building.”
7:18: Special ops and covert CIA activities get support from Simmons.
7:17: Iran is rogue nation, and U.S. needs to protect Israel, says McMahon.
7:16: Moving into foreign policy questions: What’s your plan for dealing with Iran, and is a military strike necessary?
7:15: “We need to lift the burden of government,” says Schiff.
7:14: Simmons citing his experience as state’s small business advocate. McMahon talking about her experience creating jobs as a sucessful businesswoman. Schiff probably about to join in.
7:13: If you were expecting a debate in which these three contenders went after each other, you would be disappointed thus far. Cut spending; lower taxes. “I think you’ll hear a lot of agreement from the three of us on the stage,” McMahon says.
7:12: Simmons says he opposes allowing Bush tax cuts to expire.
7:11: Viewer question: what changes would you advocate as a senator to create jobs?
7:10: McMahon calls for leftover TARP money to be returned to taxpayers.
7:09: Schiff: Reiterates initial remarks on getting economy back on track, says he opposed TARP from the get-go.
7:08 Simmons gets a rebuttal. So far, no attacks by the debaters against each other.
7:07 McMahon: Her answer to getting economy going focuses on getting small businesses up and running and reducing payroll taxes.
7:05: Schiff: Says it’s not really a recovery if no jobs created. “The stimulus is part of the problem.” Slash spending and reduce taxes, he says.
7:03: Simmons gets in first shot at Blumenthal, saying he would not recommend lawsuits as a stragey for creating job, mocking the attorney general’s comments from last night’s debate.
7 p.m.: Here we go: introductions and pleasantries.
We’ll be running live commentary throughout tonight’s Senate GOP candidates debate. Linda McMahon, Peter Schiff and Rob Simmons will be debating from 7 p.m. until 8 p.m.
Larry DeNardis, the former Third District congressman who is seeking the Republican nomination for governor, got the best zinger of this budding political season, when he made fun of millionaire Greenwich businessman Tom Foley’s TV commercials. You know the spot: Foley, former GOP fund-raiser, corporate takeover artist and ambassador to Ireland, wearing the canvas coat, with the pickup truck at the ready.
During this morning’s forum sponsored bythe Business Council of Fairfield County and attended by nine of the current 10 gubernatorial candidates, Foley was promising leadership and reinventing state departments. “…we’re almost out of barn coats and pickups trucks in this state. And all the Cosmo centerfolds are booked through November…”
“You bought them all, Tom,” DeNardis chimed during the only light moment in the 90-minute throw down.
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Ah the pitfalls of Twitter and social networking sites.
A candidate for federal office from Fairfield County, who shall remained unnamed to spare him or her embarrassment, apparently had their campaign Twitter account hacked early Friday morning.
I received a direct message at my Twitter account from the candidate, who was advertising a Viagra knock-off.
Better change that password.
Speaking of Chris Matthews. Remember this?