Ken Buck wins crowd; Michael Bennet distances himself from Obama
When you get two Ivy League Easterners debating Colorado issues, you never can be sure which one will talk specifics and which one will talk generalities.
In the Pueblo Chieftain debate tonight, Republican Ken Buck (Princeton) talked specifics about water and the Army's expansion plans for Fort Carson and Pinon Canyon, and appointed Obama Democrat Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Washington, DC, Yale) talked about keeping the Federal government out of Colorado issues. But he bragged in his closing comment about helping Pueblo get its first commercial airline flight in a long time—to Las Vegas. Buck made the point that the Federal government has a role Colorado. The Federal government owns much of the land in state, employs thousands and serves as the mediator of water and other disputes between Colorado and its neighboring states. Most important, the Feds' Medicaid program is bankrupting all states, which pay about 50% of the cost of the program.
After Bennet took credit for resolving a 50-year-old campaign to bring clean water to Colorado ranchers and families, Buck said that he shouldn't be taking credit for the work of others.
Buck reiterated his proposals for reforming Social Security and blasted Bennet and his supporters for "scaring seniors" by running ads that accuse Buck of wanting to scuttle Social Security entirely. Buck also blasted Republicans who he said are scaring seniors about losing $500 million in Medicare Advantage benefits. Bennet called the $500 million cuts in Medicare Advantage "the heart" of ObamaCare. It's not.
Buck charged Bennet and his supporters with false negative advertising, which Bennet defended with moderate success.
Buck charged that Bennet voted against sanctions against Iran and companies that do business in Iran. Bennet tried to fuzz the question by saying the law on sanctions passed. Buck countered that Bennet voted against the sanctions. Bennet insisted that he voted for the sanctions. The way Senate committees and floor votes work, Bennet probably voted both for and against sanctions on Iran. Both guys could be correct.
Buck said he would vote to repeal ObamaCare and replace it with new reforms that kept the Federal government out of the health insurance business. Buck's positions on ObamaCare and health insurance reform are here.
Bennet said he would vote for changing parts of ObamaCare without being specific.
Both men agreed that the process of enacting ObamaCare was, as Bennet put it, "horrible."
Bennet voted for ObamaCare and was not only one of its strongest advocates in the Senate but also wanted to give the Federal government even more power that it wound up with. He supported the public option, which would have made the government the insurer of last resort. Bennet's record on health care is shown here.
The crowd seemed to be more with Buck than with Bennet who seemed to distance himself from his home town of Washington, DC, and its politically corrupt culture as much as he could. But Bennet still defended Obama's failed stimulus bill, and the union folks in the crowd loved him for that. Bennet's record on spending is here.
Buck very credibly stated his positions, stated policy specifics and stayed on the attack.
Because Buck has lived in the state longer and has been in Federal and local government jobs here longer, it seemed, he displayed more knowledge of the state's issues.
Neither man hurt himself or the other guy. Buck won points when he attacked Bennet for his votes on the stimulus bill, ObamaCare, cap and trade enery bills, taxes and spending. Bennet won points when he attacked Buck for changing his positions on various issues. But both candidates have done that.
My wife and I talked about the show on the drive home and agreed that the debate was basically a draw in terms of performance. The candidates disagree on about every major issue. Both are serious, smart lawyers who know how to attack, defend and spin. Democrats liked and cheered Bennet, and Republicans thought Buck did great.
Disclosures: This is a blog with my opinions, not a news story that pretends to be objective. I support Buck because he is a fiscal conservative and Bennet rubber stamps President Obama's hard left agenda. (I've edited, rewritten and added comments and links to this story this morning.)
Bennet, Buck butt heads in Senate debate, by Peter Roper.
Bennet, Buck punch hard in Pueblo senatorial debate, by Michael Booth.
Interview: Ken Buck predicts Michael Bennet would be a 'rubber stamp,' not a leader. By Donald E. L. Johnson, 10.19.2009. Political junkies will enjoy this relatively long interview, I hope.
Kopel: Ad targeting Buck misfires, by David Kopel.
Economy, health care, government ethics and corruption remain top issues, by Rasmussen Reports.
Colorado • Campaign videos • Politics • Health insurance • Health Insurance Reform • Medicare •
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