Monday evening’s NV-3 debate between Democratic Rep. Dina Titus and Republican Joe Heck was fast-paced, contentious and often revealing. The event, held at a Jewish synagogue in Henderson before a crowd of about 500, marked the second of four times the two candidates will spar this week.
Moderator Jon Ralston opened the debate on a light note, telling Heck, “Don’t forget to say the whole ‘I love Israel’ thing, too,” after Titus opened with a strong statement in support of Israel.
During the first part of the debate, Dina Titus defended the stimulus bill, insisting that it created Nevada jobs that can still be seen today, while Heck begged to differ. Both cited various economists throughout the night as they argued their points:
Heck argued in favor of creating a stable environment in which businesses can operate with confidence, saying this will create jobs and prosperity. Titus’ response was to repeat her often-repeated mantra that Heck’s ideas would be a “return to the failed policies of the Bush administration”:
Moderator Jon Ralston challenged both candidates on their positions regarding who or what is to blame for all the lost jobs:
On the Bush tax cuts, Titus took umbrage at Heck’s reference to the “biggest tax increase” in history the country is facing. Ralston then challenged Titus on her claim that the issue will be taken care of during the lame duck session because there is consensus among Democrats. Heck argued that our corporate tax structure and taxing business owners, aka “the rich,” is what sends jobs overseas:
At one point during a discussion of health care reform and mandates, Titus whipped out a binder and read a section from the minutes of a state senate floor discussion that took place in Carson City when Heck was a legislator. The issue at hand was Heck’s opposition to a particular mandate.
On the general issue of mandates, Titus argued passionately that the reason for certain legal mandates is that the costs for testing and preventative care is far less than treating a serious disease once diagnosed. Heck did not disagree, but pointed out that every mandate also raises the costs of insurance premiums for everyone.
Ralston closed the debate before the hundreds gathered at Congregation Ner Tamid by asking how each candidate would grade President Obama on policy related to Israel and the Middle East. Heck gave the White House administration a D+, while Titus gave Obama an “incomplete.”
Titus and Heck will meet again for a third debate Wednesday at Temple Beth Sholom in Las Vegas.