Shenandoah County GOP

Debate Recap
July 20, 2008, 7:42 pm
Filed under: Election 2008, Judiciary

Ok, I think I’ve managed to dig up just about everything that’s been written about the debate. Ok, maybe not quite, but at the very least, there’s something from every part of the state. Highlights:

Lynchburg’s WSET-TV:

The two men disagreed a lot and in the end they both feel it comes down to the ultimate question— what’s best for the people of Virginia. Before the debate began, two former governor’s were all smiles. They even agreed on one issue. 

Mark Warner, (D) U.S. Senate Candidate – “As I travel Virginia I also hear about high gas prices.” 

That’s also where the agreeing ended and the debate began. Each has a different energy plan to solve the pain at the pump. Warner wants attention on alternative energy and calls Gilmore’s plan to boost domestic production as a quick way to lower prices a gimmick. 

Jim Gilmore, (R) U.S. Senate Candidate – “It is not a gimmick, and it is not a soundbite to talk about the necessity or bringing in our own domestic oil production in this country and to characterize it that way is to brush off that which will help Virginians immediately.”

From the Staunton News Leader:

Energy policy and taxes dominated the 75-minute debate, as Gilmore, the Republican candidate, repeatedly touted his plan to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling and hammered Warner over tax increases during his term as governor.

“We have to have a United States with a decisive energy policy,” Gilmore said, which he added includes more domestic oil production by drilling in ANWR and increaing off-shore oil exploration.

From the Washington Post:

Gilmore occasionally raised his voice while accusing Warner of being a “typical Washington politician” who hid crucial information from Virginians and continues to change his positions.

“You can’t trust what Mark Warner would do in the United States Senate,” Gilmore said.


Gilmore, who served from 1998 until 2002, and Warner, who replaced him, clashed on such topics as taxes and spending, the Iraq war, the Supreme Court confirmation process and children’s health insurance. But much of the 75-minute debate focused on the nation’s growing energy crisis.

Gilmore insisted that the only way to reduce the price of gas is to drill along the nation’s coastlines and in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska.

“Someone has to do something for these people out there,” Gilmore said. “People out there are hurting. People can’t pay their bills. We’ve got to help the people who are in trouble. The best way we are going to do that is bring that oil in.”

The Washington Post had some initial post debate observations as well.

From Roanoke’s WSLS-TV:

Governor Gilmore asked Warner, “Yes or no, when you go to the US Senate will you support offshore oil drilling and production to reduce gas prices and relieve the burden on the people of Virginia?”

Warner responded, “I will support what Senator McCain has supported which is to lift the federal moratorium to allow states to make that decision.”

That wasn’t good enough for Gilmore who called the answer “vague.”

“Clarity is what is necessary and without that clarity you can’t trust what Mark Warner will do in the US Senate,” he said.


Gilmore went after Warner’s signature tax reform plan that raised taxes 1.4 billion dollars.

“Can you be trusted to go forward and do what’s necessary,” Gilmore asked. “You said previously that you would not raise taxes and you raised taxes. You said you’d finish out the car tax cut and you didn’t do it. You hid information to get a tax increase while you were governor.”

From all the interaction it was obvious that this is going to be a bare knuckle, bloody campaign.


Gilmore complained, “He’s had a tendency to just toss a name around and usually he says you’re being negative or you’re mischaracterizing and he gets away with that. He’s not getting away with that this time.”

Charlottesville’s NBC29:

“America has three percent of the world’s oil–we use 25 percent.  Drilling alone–the drill here, drill now, pay less sound bite–isn’t going to solve the whole problem,” said Warner.

Gilmore countered: “I guess he hopes people will go away today with a mischaracterization like the silver bullet…when he has heard repeatedly–and so have you–that we know we have to have a long-term comprehensive plan.”

After policy discussion it was back to the finger pointing, which will likely be the central issue of this campaign. 
“And the question is–are they just going to be a typical Washington politician, and do whatever they have to say to get elected, and then break their word, as Mark Warner has done repeatedly, said Gilmore.

From the Virginian Pilot:

Mark Warner said he would not raise taxes, and he raised taxes,” Gilmore, a Republican, said. “Mark Warner said he would finish the car tax, and he did not. The issue for the people of Virginia today is, ‘Who can you trust: A person who does what he says, or the person who says he’s not going to raise taxes and raises them anyway?’ “

From the Richmond Times Dispatch:

Gilmore said he would favor Supreme Court nominees in the conservative mold of Justices Scalia, Roberts, Alito and Thomas. Warner said he would not look for “a simple litmus test” but would consider the proposed nominees’ whole record.

Gilmore said he would not favor climate-control measures unless countries such as China and India are subject to the same controls. Warner said the United States must take the leadership role in climate control.

SWAC Girl was there as well and summed it all up this way:

The mainstream media have turned in their reports on Saturday’s debate at the Homestead between Republican Jim Gilmore and Democrat Mark Warner, and the general consensus was the debate was a draw.

Think about it. The MSM cannot bring themselves to say that Jim Gilmore scored more points and won that debate. The media’s “protective bubble” around Mark Warner continues … but Jim Gilmore is ready to pop that bubble with hard-hitting facts that, until now, have been mainly ignored by many in the press.

Gov. Gilmore punched hard at energy issues and the need for Virginians to be able to trust their leaders. At times he left Warner looking uncomfortable as the verbal barbs went back and forth between these two former Virginia governors … one who has been scrutinized to thenth degree by the media … the other who has been largely given a pass.

Finally, if you have the nerve for it, the whole debate can be heard here, courtesy of WRVA in Richmond.


4 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Great roundup, Craig … and thanks for the link.

It is always interesting to be at an event with the press so that I can know what really happened … and not just have to rely on their replay. As if often the case, their replay is a tad tilted in their direction. The MSM said the debate was a draw … that proves to me that Gov. Gilmore won it.

Comment by SWAC Girl

Thx for nice article.

Comment by Mehmet Yanki Yonel

Thanks SWAC Girl!

Yes, I think the contrast was fairly obvious. Little things got through though–the “Honesty” meme is picking up steam, and Gilmore is defining the issues. Even Gilmore seemed to be the more copy worthy one.

We’ll see how this plays out, but I think the Democrats may be in for a bit of a surprise in November.

Comment by Craig Orndorff

[…] Shenandoah County GOP’s has a debate recap (here).  This site includes an MP3 […]


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