The entirety of last night’s debate between incumbent Democrat Marcy Kaptur and Republican challenger Rich Iott in OH-9 has been posted, and one of the most interesting part of it was the audience reactions.
Kaptur and Iott could not have been more different on the issues, and it showed. One of the most tense moments of audience reactio n came when Iott said (to massive applause) that the bailouts for GM and Chrysler were absolutely wrong, to which Kaptur replied that GM and Chrysler’s bailouts were necessary to save workers, a line which earned her derisive laughter.
However, at the end of her statement on the subject, Kaptur personally took on the crowd, snapping that, “Those who laughed don’t know what it’s like to be out of work and want to give up on our industries.” This line received deafening applause.
Health care was another battleground issue. Kaptur got applause for her support for single-payer health care, while Iott outdid that when talking about lowering costs through free-market solutions. Iott’s opposition to earmarks also got powerful applause, to which Kaptur said, “If my opponent really believes that, he’s running for the wrong office. He should run for President.”
This got thunderous applause, probably because the crowd liked the idea. Kaptur then snapped, “He probably has enough money to do it,” which received a combination of applause and mutinous boos. Kaptur then tried to use particular beloved landmarks to prove the effectiveness of earmarks.
Kaptur’s tone throughout the debate was confrontational and populist, and she came off as a “fighting liberal” with some successful moments, but just as many embarrassing areas of misplaced outrage. The classic example in this area was Kaptur’s class warfare-motivated assertion regarding Food Town, a business Iott had formerly owned — a business which laid off workers after he had already sold it and given up his stake in it. Evidently making money is a crime if it means sometime, somewhere, a worker might get laid off.
“It’s unfortunate that the first thing a person who’s been in Congress 28 years has to talk about when she comes out with an ad is slamming her opponent,” Iott snapped back. He then pointed out that even the Toledo Blade had called the allegations false.
One intriguing question was posed to Iott regarding his support or lack thereof for the Civil Rights Act of 1964, something which Rand Paul has apparently put on the map. Iott delicately responded that he would judge any issue on the basis of whether it was Constitutional, moral, and good for his constituents. Kaptur, by contrast, flat-out called the Constitution a “living document.” Evidently math is also a living document, because Kaptur said that slaves counted for 3/4 of a person in the Constitution, when in fact they are the subject of the infamous “3/5ths clause.” So yeah.
Kaptur also evidently can’t tell the difference between a statement and a question. When one moderator asked her where her party had gone wrong, she responded, “You think our party’s gone wrong? That’s quite a statement.” She then refused to stick to time. For the umpteenth time.
Still, if nothing else, the debate offered a clear choice. To no one’s surprise, Kaptur came off as the archetypal liberal — angry, defiant and in denial about opposition to her party — but she also slapped down her opponent with snappy attack lines and came off as more confident.
Iott, meanwhile came off as a clear conservative, but also was less polished in his delivery and hiccuped on a few answers.