Politics & Policy

The Rest of the Ohio Senatorial Debate

7:19 – Question 5 for Fisher: Why not extend all Bush tax cuts?

7:20 – Fisher says the middle class has been hit the hardest, and that’s why they should have the tax cuts extended. Then complains that rich people don’t spend money, but save it, so cutting taxes on them is bad. (!!!!!!) Says the wealthy are getting huge amounts of tax cuts, and that it makes no sense to give them more.

7:21 – Portman says “We’re seeing a very different vision” and hits Fisher for wanting to raise taxes and small businesses, and accuses Fisher of saying people somehow “owe” the government money. Fisher is looking like Walter Mondale against Portman.

7:22 – Question 6 for Portman: Repeal Obamacare, or are there parts you’d like to keep?

7:22 – Portman says health care costs are too high, and that Obamacare has made the problem worse. Says he’ll try to get health care costs down by trying to get bipartisan support, then hits Fisher for his support from trial lawyers while talking about tort reform.

7:24 – Fisher calls Portman irresponsible for saying that repealing a bill is good when he likes part of it. “Portman was in Washington DC for 20 years. He had his chance to do something and he did nothing when it comes to health care reform.” Evidently doing anything is better than doing nothing. Fisher’s done a good job talking about problems with the bill, but he’s really not talking at all about himself.

7:25 – Question 7 for Fisher: Boehner talked about long-term viability for Social Security with two prongs, and then asks Fisher if he thinks the two ideas Boehner supported should be off the table.

7:25 – Fisher says he supports giving Social Security to a bipartisan commission. Great. Is okay with an up or down vote on what happens in that commission, then talks about being made sick by hyper-partisanship and convinces precisely no one. Accuses Portman of raiding Social Security trust fund.

7:26 – Portman agrees that Social Security is a sacred promise to seniors, and then asks Fisher to stop caring seniors about Social Security. Has something of a “there you go again” by dinging Fisher for demagoguing the issue. Very negative answer, then quotes one of the seniors asking Fisher “what are your solutions?” Fisher’s answer? “Elect me.” So much for hating hyper-partisanship.

7:28 – Question 8 for Portman: Is it wise for the US to begin withdrawing troops from Afghanistan?

7:28 – Portman says the military is against withdrawal. Attacks the idea of an arbitrary deadline. Really bad news for Fisher on left-wing blogs – someone actually admitted that Portman’s answers were sharper and clearer.

7:29 – Fisher is really having trouble talking about this. Says the decisions “shouldn’t be political.” Stumbles over the answer and talks about how Iraq was a misguided war, then says Afghanistan was great, but then says he wants to take our troops home, but then says he doesn’t want to give up the fight. That’s about four flip flops in one sentence. Wants more preadator drones.

7:30 – Question 9 for Fisher: Asian Carp? How to get rid of them?

7:30 – Fisher attacks Portman for wanting to “privatize” Social Security in one of the greatest non sequitors in the debate. Says he and the President have worked on the issue.

7:33 – Portman tells Fisher he needs to get on the problem of Asian carp more seriously because there are carp in the lake already. Says he doesn’t support privatizing Social Security, then dings Fisher for losing jobs as Director of Development, for supporting the public option, and supporting the stimulus.

7:34 – Question 10 for Portman: You’ve been harshly criticized by Sherrod Brown. If you win, how do you work with him, given your philosophical differences?

7:35 – Portman says Brown has been very partisan, and says he’s never seen a Senator who wasn’t running for election being this partisan. Then says “I guess he’s trying to make up for not endorsing Fisher.” Says Brown and he get along personally. Talks about what he wants to do with Ohio.

7:37 – Fisher says it’s very important to work across the aisle, and then says it’s also important not to be a rubber stamp and talks about his own willingness to go after his own party. Attacks Portman for being a rubber stamp for John Boehner and gives Voinovich credit. That’s kind of like a Republican saying Ronald Reagan was terrible but Richard Nixon was great in Ohio.

7:38 – Question 11 for Fisher: Does Ohio need another stimulus?

7:38 – Fisher says the stimulus hasn’t been enough. Starts talking about McCain’s former economic advisor, then says ending tax breaks is a good idea while also talking about job creation tax credits. Wants the Research and Development tax credit made permanent. Says it’s outragoues that we’ve bailed out Wall Street banks, but failed small businesses. Just wants to create jobs by giving incentives to create American jobs…which you somehow can do by raising taxes. Yeah.

7:40 – Portman attacks Fisher for saying the stimulus was not enough and then brings up the stimulus’ price tag. Portman is attacking hard. Says “We don’t need to lose another 17,000” to Fisher.

7:41 – Question 12: For Portman, “How do we decrease our reliance on foreign oil?”

7:42 – Portman says “it’s great to take money and turn it into jobs.” Dings Cap and Trade, but then brings up nuclear power, green technology and clean coal. Goes off on a policy wonk discussion of nuclear power. Talks about environmental impacts. Portman really did his homework for this debate. Then brings up his website. Seamless answer.

7:43 – Fisher talks about Sputnik, and says it was a reawakening in America that we were behind. “We’re behind today” because (where else) China is making wind turbines. Now is the time for a new Sputnik. Talks about wind and solar, and adds nuclear and clean coal as an afterthought. “I can guarantee you, we absolutely could do it.”

7:44 – Question 13 for Fisher: If you win, one of your duties will be voting on nominees before the Supreme Court. What would you look for a nominee? Would you have voted for Roberts, Alito, Sotomayor, Kagan?

7:45 – Fisher says he had the great honor of clerking for a Federal judge – a Republican judge. Says the law ought to be blind to politics or ideology, and says he doesn’t have a litmus test, but wants to make sure judges understand their own power. Wants bright judges with practical experience, not pure academics (suck on that, Kagan). Says we need a “diverse court in every respect,” including the kinds of law schools they go to. Says he’d have voted for Sotomayor and Kagan. Then mispronounces Alito’s name. Yeah. But says he wouldn’t necessarily have voted against him or Roberts.

7:47 – Portman says he’d only allow judges who don’t legislate from the bench and have the right judicial temperament. Says he’d have opposed Elena Kagan, but he hopes he’s wrong.

7:48 – Question 14 for Portman: Would you want to repeal some Wall Street regulations?

7:48 – Portman says Fisher’s made six inaccurate attacks. Then says the financial reforms that passed the Congress didn’t solve the problem and quotes Obama on it. Attacks the legislation for not helping to stop the mortgage problem. This is a really strong answer from Portman – using Obama to gut the Democrats is really smart. Then points out that Wall Street supported the legislation, but not community banks. Fisher’s got nothing to say after this.

7:50 – Fisher says Wall Street reform was critical because if we didn’t pass it we were destined to repeat the mistakes of the past. Says that as far as he knows, all the big Wall Street firms are thrilled with Portman. Yeah, sure. This is just demagoguery. Can’t shut up when his time’s up.

7:52 – Portman’s Closing statement: Fisher must be proud of his record, or at least only wants to say he supports pieces of it. Says Fisher supports job-killing legislation. Says he can get Ohio back on track. Really, Portman doesn’t need to do anything but close this up without embarrassing himself.

7:53 – Fisher acknowledges his wife Peggy Fisher, then thanks everyone for giving him and Fisher the opportunity. Wants to tell everyone a story. Got a call from a mayor saying “THE BANK IS GOING TO CLOSE DOWN A BUSINESS WHAT DO WE DO?” Fisher says he convinced the bank to back off and take losses. Says the community stepped up and helped out with a loan. “A job is much more than a paycheck – it’s about hope and purpose and dignity in someone’s life.” Rattles off a list of businesses. He’s really catering to his union base. Cites Mitch Daniels, of all people. Also can’t shut up on his closing statement.

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