Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Notes from Fitzpatrick / Murphy Debate

Larry Kane moderated a debate between Congressman Patrick Murphy [legislative site and campaign site] and former congressman Mike Fitzpatrick. Murphy defeated freshman Fitzpatrick in 2006 in a close race; polls in the 2010 rematch are also close.

Here are my notes from a podcast of the debate. It is not intended as a complete transcript. As always I apologize in advance for any errors or misconceptions and encourage voters to listen for themselves.

LK: Tonight we are very happy to welcome 8th congressional district candidates Patrick Murphy and Mike Fitzpatrick. First some biographical information. Murphy is married with two children. He attended Bucks County Community College and then King’s College. He went into the military and served in the 82nd airborne in Bosnia and Iraq. After serving in the military he practiced law for two years. In 2006 he was the first Iraq War veteran elected to congress. Fitzpatrick went to St. Thomas University in Miami and then Dickinson School of Law. He has six children. He represented the 8th district from 2005-2006, and was a Bucks County commissioner from 1995-2004, and worked as a lawyer from 1985-1998.

Q: #1 issue economy. how do you do something in congress to bring jobs

MF: To improve economy we need smaller government and more jobs, empower job creators, cut taxes reduce spending so they can invest in the economy. Job creators are concerned about uncertainty about health care costs, tax cuts extended – in favor of this, Murphy against. job creators want certainty.

Q: Would extending tax cuts increase the deficit?

MF: I don’t’ think so, when JFK cut taxes there was growth, when Reagan cut taxes, economy rose, when taxes go down economy goes up

Q: stimulus

PM:: I did vote for it ,wish I didn’t have to. It was emergency spending. We were losing 800K jobs a month, sliding into depression, wish we didn’t have to go there. My opponent thinks we should wait out recession. We should grow jobs. There couldn’t be more of a contrast. My opponent shipped jobs overseas. He was the deciding vote to extend trade agreements to central amerce

LK: Ds in favor of this for years

PM: When nafta passed Republicans held the majority in congress. It was disastrous. cafta crippled Bucks County. When you taLK to a woman who worked for 22 years at Jones NY a garment company. She lost her job. When caftan was decided she lost her job.

LK: Were you the deciding vote?

MF: It passed by two votes not one. When Murphy took office unemployment was at 4% now doubled under his watch. Taxes increased. PM and his colleagues have no plan, their plan will double national debt in 5 years, triple it in 10. If there is any recovery going on it is a jobless recovery. Jobs will get us out of this.

LK: free trade agreement?

MF: Murphy doubled the unemployment rate under his watch. The debt was $8T now $14T ,unemployment was 4.3 now 9.6. Explain or stop looking over our shoulder. Murphy should explain what happened. I have a plan going forward. My plan is to reduce taxes and cut government spending.

PM: My opponent thinks we all have amnesia. The Bush Fitzpatrick years were disastrous for the economy. I wish I didn’t have to vote for the stimulus. What I focused on in 3.5 years in congress is bringing jobs back to Bucks, brought 3K jobs back. Focusing on making things [manufacturing] in Bucks and in our country again. I will say that the record couldn’t be more clear on this issue. I’ve been focused on this for 3 years. Stimulus has helped somewhat. People are hurting out there and are frustrated.

MF: Murphy says he’s been focused on manufacturing but unemployment had doubled. Listen to the people who create jobs. A businessman sent email to me and Murphy this morning. he supported me in 04 and PM in 06. The businessman says let tax cuts continue until unemployment under 6%. that’s an independent successful businessperson who creates jobs

LK: truth squad. would you continue tax cuts:

PM: for 98% of Americans, for middle class families across this country and Bucks County.

LK: don’t the affluent fuel the economy?

PM: They don’t get taxed for the money they reinvest in their business. But for the Paris Hiltons’ of the world. These are the same tax cuts they did twice in the Bush years.

MF: In a recession is not the time to increase taxes. They are already talking about a second stimulus that isn’t creating jobs

PM: We have the larges solar field in America, Gamesa got 2M to manufacture things in Bucks. [blogger’s note: I did not catch all of this answer and my note here is very sketchy.]

LK: Small businesses cannot get loans, why not force banks to lend to small businessmen?

MF: bank bailout bill. I would have voted against it. It put all the money into the banks, paid big bonuses to executives. No requirement for banks to loan money. We have to require banks to do that. The federal government is competing against small businesses for loans.

PM: Fitzpatrick was on the committee overseeing banking. Seniors and middle class saw their 401K accounts slashed…I voted for bank bill. It is now US law there will never be a bailout again. One it is about bigger banks, borrowing money from treasury and not giving access to capital. We have to force their hand. Small banks, community banks, are like the blood of our community. They need to have backing for these loans.

MF: Murphy voted for cash for clunkers, voted to bail out teachers unions. This government and federal system cannot afford procedures of Obama and Pelosi that Murphy votes with 98% of the time. Our children are going to have to pay for their govt and our govt.

LK: close race in 06 and close this year, targeted by almost every party. Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Pres says its over but its really not over till its over. What do you do?

MF: We have to win. These are wars we must win. Said this in 04 and 06, let’s win and immediately withdraw. PM was for strict deadline for withdraw. PM against the surge but that worked. now PM for surge in afgh. problem going forward outlined in obama’s speech to military academy. send in troops but not as many as Gen. McChrsytal asked for then gave deadline for withdraw. That was a mistake.

PM: Afghanistan is were it came from. I have always been very hawkish about bringing Osama bin Laden and [missed this] to justice. I proudly served in Iraq. But we should have been focused on Afghan the whole time. Its’ not just about what al Qaeda is trying to do. They are trying to overthrow Pakistan govt and get hands on nuke weapons. MF diverted our attention (bush) to iraq, spent $3T and lost [missed this] heroes.

MF: I wasn’t in congress when the Iraq war was started. but when we were there we had a choice, come home or win. Murphy ran on immediate withdraw in 06 and we are now in 2010.

LK: If Iran had nuclear weapons, would you support a military option

MF: yes

PM: Yes, that is on the table but lets use diplomatic efforts first, as someone who served in military, served in military. Economic sanctions – China and Russia are putting economic constraints on Iran. We have cheerleaders saying let’s go to war, putting our men and women in harms’ way.

LK: why Israel might attack if we don’t (cites an article in Atlantic). should we destroy Iran’s infrastructure

MF: Israel is a sovereign nation. they don’t need our nod ahead of time.

PM: I serve on intelligence committee. Israel has absolute right to defend themselves. once Iran has nuke weapon the genie out of the bottle.

LK: domestic issues. mosque near WTC site?

PM: I don’t think it’s the right idea. They have the right but not appropriate.

MF: very inappropriate location. It’s not a mosque but a cultural center. Failure of leadership on the local level. Proud to see governor of NY step in and try to negotiate moving site.

LK: family values, we don’t hear much about it, but issue is still prevalent out there. for example, should govt be involved, eg abortion

MF: pro-life. family values – the family is the basic unit of society, need to adopt policies, tax and educational polices that support families

PM: My wife a Republican, 2kids, pro-choice. my opponent is extreme on this issue, against right to choose in cases of rape and incest, against stem cell research.

MF: for stem cell research for those types of projects where we were making progress.

LK: why you in 201o

MF: I’ve had 4 years to sit back, practice law, raise family, had cancer, recovered, 6 children, can’t sit back any longer and watch what’s happening to our country. loading obligations on our children that they can’t pay for

PM: wake up at 5 every day thinking about how to bring jobs back to Bucks. MF gave tax cuts in time of war when we couldn’t afford it.

LK: both described as extremes.

PM: a moderate

MF: I was the second most …. [recording cuts off]

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