2nd District Debate Liveblog
Here's the second 2nd CD debate. I'm watching it like regular folks on TV; no time to drive to Cedar Rapids.
Only two candidates this time: Dave and MMM. Barth is liveblogging her responses. Bruce Aune promises to be firm on time. MMM wins the toss and elects to kick so we start with Dave and the economy.
Loebsack: We need another recovery plan. Focus has to be on jobs and infrastructure. Not just roads and bridges -- schools and sewers ("mundane" but important to local govts.)
MMM: Any stimulus package is deficit spending. Repatriating funds, mentions capital gains tax cuts, corporate tax cuts.
Dave: Infrastructure and jobs will help bring about recovery. Extend unemployment benefits..
MMM: Economists say slowdown will be shortlived. It would be faster to cut payroll tax.
James Lynch asks about "Do Nothing Dave." MMM: Congress HAS done little, "we haven't seen that visionary leadership from Congress." Dave hasn't introduced much, no leadership on flood relief and bailout. Tom Latham did more on flood relief. "It didn't come up until the bailout bill."
Dave: "As a freshman I've accomplished quite a lot." Largest increase in financial aid since the GI Bill. Military Pain Care Act. "4.6 billion for flood victims" with Grassley.
MMM: "You are no Senator Grassley" If small business isn't bringing $ in you can't go forward. "Small business peple have not been helped."
Dave: Small business is in there, it was I bipartisan effort, I even cosponsored Steve King. "I'll put my record up against anyones."
Biofuels. Dave: Need to move beyond corn to cellulose ethanol, switchgrass. They have more room to stretch out than they did in the 4 way debate. Seems more formal, must be teh studio setting. I got renewable fuel standards in the farm bill. "And my leadership isn't all that thrilled about ethanol and biofuels."
MMM: Corn ethanol also produces multiple other products. Doesn't mean we shouldn't do other as well. Oh and a plant Dave referenced is gone now.
Dave: Other renewable fuels, esp. wind. Jobs jobs jobs.
MMM: I drive a hybrid.
Bruce asks about No Child. MMM: School bureaucracy sometimes gets in the way of good teachers. We want accountability for teachers, but how to measure. Measure students progress against themselves and not across board.
Dave: A lot of concerns about NCLB. Goals are laudable but a massively underfunded mandate. "It's been largely punitive." Longitudinal models do make sense. "We have a high stakes one sixe fits all" teach to the test approach.
Both candidates drop in biograhy points here.
MMM: We need to unleash the teachers and increase the standards.
Dave: Schools need flexibility with special ed.
Lynch: home ownership. Dave: House bill allowed bankruptcy judges to help restructure mortgages, a "bottom up" approach.
MMM thinks that'll harm the credit markets. Instead we should have guaranteed 20% of home value. Lenders don'r reaally want to foreclose, it's a money loser.
Dave: Crack down on predatory lending. Some borrowers were irresponsible, but some lenders were predatory. MMM concurs.
Beth Malicki asks about campaign finance. MMM: Restates the question several ways, and I've got shoes. And some PAC bashing.
Dave: I'd agree on shoes, that's how I won. We need reform. I've never taken a no PAC pledge, and I listen to my constituents. I've been back home every weekend that I wans't in Iraq. "I think we should have public financing" and personal spending limits.
MMM: Your constituents said vote no on bailout and you didn't listen.
Bruce asks about the war. Dave: Take care of the vets first. (VFW endorsement) We need a safe responsible withdrawal. "The focus has to be on Afghanistan." and Pakistani border.
MMM: As a vet, I'd rather have my rep vote for supplies for troops. Says VFW does not endorse. We need better troop retention.
Dave: I'm well aware of troop retention issues. "We will have more conflicts."
MMM: Incentive pay, decrease retirement age.
Beth Malicki: Social Security privatization. MMM: Again restates question and eats some time. "Allow people under 50 to put small portion into personal accounts." Average stock gain is 10% a year.
Dave: Bush pushed this "risky scheme" and it was rejected. Raise the cap. "Make sure that those who can pay do pay."
MMM: "The greatest risk for your money is the government. I might take my chances by divesting it."
Lynch: War on terror. Dave: Recommit to Afghanistan. Two trips to Afghanistan, one to Pakistan. "All the experts have told us that this is in fact where the terrorists are." Need to improve relationship with Pakistan to increase cooperation.
MMM: Surviellance with due process. "On a field of battle it's difficult to gather evidence while fending off an enemy."
Dave: "We're a country that has values the world looks to" and we can't lose sight of those values.
Loebsack has mentioned Obama and Biden in passing once each; not so from MMM.
Bruce: Health care: availability or cost control? MMM: "Both." Bashes single payer briefly. "A universal health care model cannot control costs or encourage personal responsibility." But we're smart, we can figure it out. Mentions individual accounts, that sounds like what she means.
Dave: We had bipartisan support for SCHIP but Bush vetoed it twice. I hope Obama or McCain signs it.
MMM: The vetoed bill would have just expanded an ineffective federal program, some $ didn't go to kids. Would reduce people in private sector.
Dave: I don't believe in consumer-driven plans, consumer is at a disadvantage. "But I do support Barack Obama's plan."
Lynch follows up on health care. Dave: Obama's plan is feasible and can be paid for. Let Bush tax cuts expire. We can do better on drug cost and prevention.
MMM: Obama plan not portable. Let people buy insurance across state lines. (That's the plan: privatize!) "Massachusetts plan (hat tip to the Mitt! He goes unnamed.)
Dave: MMM plan "wrong way to go." State mandates require certain things to be covered. "We have to protect the consumer."
MMM: Wants an ala carte system, inserting some fertility and age jokes.
Malicki: Postville and immigration. MMM: Employer accountability, everification. Comprehensive immigration reform and faster route to citizenship. Guest worker program.
Dave: Will need bipartisan comprehensive reform. I voted for more border agents and evirfication. Employer sanctions.
Closing statements. Dave: Starts with the bio points, positive role of govt in his life. Financial aid bill, Military Pain Care, disaster relief.
MMM: "America is not divided, it's Congress that's divided." "I am not a politician" (er, you're on a BALLOT) and "sometimes we ask the government to do too much." Gets all the bullet points in: PACS, 98% vote with Democratic leadership (as if that's a bad thing in a Democratic district...)
I'm not seeing a knockout on either side and I'm not convinced that anyone undecided was watching. That's all for now...
Afterthought: Loebsack names Obama four times (and McCain once); Miller-Meeks names McCain not at all. And my IowaIndy colleage Lynda at Essential Estrogen writes it more coherently and spells it better than I do.