Politics & Policy

Liveblogging Second Senate Debate Part II – Audience Questions

12:51 – Question from audience: Core values? How will you make the US better in re education?

12:51 – Fisher goes on full class warfare. Says he doesn’t tour factories, but sits down and actually talks to people. Says he talks to mayors, and emphasizes Wilmington’s record as the City of Hope.

12:53 – Portman says he’s been in Wilmington several times. And he says what he’s hearing is that Fisher didn’t go until jobs had already been lost. Says Fisher’s never been to the largest employer in Southeastern Ohio. Says he’s proud of the folks who are standing with me, which includes small businesses, and says people probably like the fact that he grew up in a small family business. Talks about values like hard work, self-reliance, and other “values we still see here in Ohio.” Talks about the Farmers’ Bureau endorsing him. Still too bloodless.

12:55 – Question 5 for Portman: How would you assure Ohio voters that you would follow a model of bipartisanship? Example of you reaching across the aisle?

12:55 – Portman says he has a record in Congress of 12 years reaching across the aisle. Says he jokes in front of Republican crowds that people are nervous that 12 of his bills were signed into law by President Bill Clinton, and says he can defend all of them. Talks about his bill on Prisoner Re-entry, which wasn’t popular with the GOP. He has a David Cameron-esque approach here. Talks about meeting with a woman at an Arby’s, and about how a young woman who’s looking for a job told him she needed help.

12:58 – Fisher says that he respects the fact that Voinovich endorsed Rob Portman. Says he knows George Voinovich, and Portman is no George Voinovich. Another laugh and applause line. Says Voinovich had guts to stand up to his own caucus. Hitting Portman on Bush tax cuts. Going overtime.

12:59 – Question 6 for Fisher: Would you request earmarks for Ohio? Why or why not? What criteria would you use?

12:59 – Fisher says he believes that whatever you do with earmarks has to be transparent. He says he won’t do earmarks to create pet projects. Says he’s negotiated deal after deal after deal to keep companies in-state.

1:01 – Portman says he put all earmarks on-line when he was OMB Director and says sunlight is a really good disinfectant. Says earmarks have to go through a merit-based, competitive process. Says Fisher wants to raise taxes on companies that work overseas and small businesses.

Question 7 for Portman: Would you have supported the rescue of General Motors and Chrysler? If not, how would you have explained your opposition to the people who worked at those companies?

1:03 – Portman says he would’ve supported it, but would’ve liked to see more conditions. That’s not going to do well with the Republican base. Says he’s glad to see progress at GM and Chrysler. Says the answer is not more Government bailouts, then hits Fisher for wanting to buy the stock of banks and says even Obama officials don’t like the idea. Portman’s winning on the merits, but Fisher’s getting more zingers off. “The Government cannot run a bank as well as the private sector.” Looks back on Ohio’s status as a leader of the industrial revolution. Portman gets applause.

1:05 – Fisher says you’d never know Portman supported the bailout of the Wall Street banks from his answer. Says a rescue for GM was absolutely necessary, and says he’s been to every auto plant in the state to meet with execs. Says the rescue was the smart thing to do and the right thing to do.

Question 8 for Fisher: Cleveland Fed has concluded that automation is the reason for jobs being lost in Ohio, not foreign trade. How should Ohio cope with the long-term trend of automation? Do we reject efficiency to maintain employment?

1:07 – Fisher says he focused on innovation, advanced technology, and bringing cutting edge technology to manufacturing. Says manufacturing is the greatest chance in the state. Talks about all the companies the Department of Development has helped. “For ever $1 we put in publicly, we attract $9 privately.” Says America will always beat China in entrepreneurship and creativity. Thinks the most important thing in economic development is workforce development, and talks about education. Says he wants to take his experience saving jobs to Washington.

1:09 – Portman says he should visit more factories, because that’s not what he’s hearing. Says what companies are saying is very simple – costs need to come down. They can win in global marketplace, but not if the government keeps burdening them, and that’s what’s happening. Hits Fisher for raising taxes on medical device companies. Well done for hitting the failure of the hubs.

1:10 – Another question from an audience member: Brookings released a report stating that through the recession, poverty’s been growing faster in suburbs than in cities. What role should Federal Govt play in reducing poverty?

1:10 – Portman says poverty has increased, as has homelessness and food stamps. He says the safety net is necessary, but the much better answer is finding jobs and opportunity. Says businesses all over Ohio understand that the outlook for Ohio is worse than for other states. Provide opportunities and jobs for these people. Talks about woman looking for a job again. Says she was thinking of leaving Ohio because of lack of jobs.

1:12 – Fisher starts talking about Portman through the Main Street v. Wall Street dichotomy and then accuses Portman of being a pessimist. And says people don’t want to hear whining from Portman. This from the guy who whines about job losses thanks to Bush? Hits Portman for working with Bush, and says while Portman was working for Bush, Fisher was working to help struggling families and children. And we’re all sure a Hollywood movie is coming down the pike, but really, Fisher, that’s not relevant to job creation. Still, he gets applause.

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