Filed under: Election 2008, MSM, Strategy and Tactics, Technology and Politics
I missed the debate myself on Friday night, but here’s some good press from that night for Gilmore, plus complete articles from around the state. I’ll post the audio when I find it:
Although it’s difficult to know how many people were watching, Gilmore delivered a strong performance by framing it as a contrast between two candidates with differing views of the bailout.
Gilmore came out strongly against the $700 billion plan, arguing in a concise way that it amounted to government run amok. Warner supported the bailout, saying it was needed to prevent economic turmoil. Warner tried to pin the need for Congressional intervention on lax oversight by the Bush administration and “greed” on Wall Street.
For once, Warner’s efforts to turn the contest into a referendum on Gilmore’s record as governor was overshadowed by an issue of more immediate concern. The only thing anyone who watched the debate will probably remember tomorrow is the word “bailout.”
It remains unclear how Virginia’s electorate views the action taken by Congress today. Members of the Virginia delegation say they have been deluged with phone calls and letters from people opposing it, but there are also plenty of investors in Virginia who have been nervously watching their 401 K plans.
The reason the bailout may works for Gilmore as an issue is that it fits neatly into his message since June that he will be a friend of the “working men and women of Virginia” while Warner is aligned with the elite.
The blue collar workers who Gilmore envisions can carry him to victory are probably the same voters are most likely to be opposed to the bailout, creating a potential hurdle for Warner in rural Virginia.
Fredericksburg Freelance Star:
The just-passed $700 billion financial bailout in Congress dominated last night’s debate between U.S. Senate candidates Mark Warner and Jim Gilmore.
Gilmore, a Republican, cast himself as a candidate who would protect the taxpayer. He hammered the point that he would not have voted for the bailout bill and believes it to be fiscally irresponsible, bringing it up as part of his answer to nearly every question.
“I’m telling you, it was wrong. It is wrong and I would have voted no,” Gilmore said. “Sure, there’s a crisis and there are problems that have to be dealt with, but not this way.”
Gilmore said he will oppose earmarks, the money for local projects lawmakers slide into bills. The revised bailout bill contained a number of earmarks.
The race has largely centered on the opponents’ records as governor, but the financial rescue package provided Gilmore with a new way to emphasize the differences between them and highlight what he called his fight for the taxpayer.
Gilmore attacked Warner for his support of the emergency economic plan signed by President Bush, and he told a statewide television audience that he would have saved taxpayers’ money by not handing it to “Wall Street high rollers.”
“The next bailout is on the way,” Gilmore said. “Who is going to stand up for the taxpayers?”
The differences between the two former governors, who have never held federal elective office, were clear in both their leadership styles and on the issues. They repeatedly interrupted each other in a series of feisty exchanges, but Gilmore was by far the more aggressive, returning to the nation’s growing financial crisis at almost every answer.
“Don’t talk down to me,” Gilmore snapped at Warner at one point. “Don’t tell me I don’t understand. You don’t understand.”
Gilmore said he opposed the plan because it rewards individuals and businesses that took risks with their money.
“This bailout is wrong. It is wrong,” he said. “I can say, I would have voted no. I would have protected the taxpayer. Mark Warner would have not.”
Gilmore accused Warner of being a “flip-flopper” because he changed his stand from last year, when he said troops should start to leave in January 2009. Gilmore said the troops should stay as long as needed.
On energy, 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 and to encourage coal and nuclear power sources. “I say we go get that oil,” Gilmore said.
Gilmore said he wants illegal immigrants to be deported. “People who are here illegally have to obey the law,” he said
Gilmore touted his record trimming the car tax and balancing the budget as well as other successes, including increasing the number of teachers in public schools.
“There was never a budget shortfall in Virginia,” Gilmore said. “The law does not permit that.”
The two also clashed on potential Supreme Court nominees. Gilmore said he would vote to confirm justices who support overturning Roe v. Wade; Warner said he wants to protect the landmark abortion case.
Gilmore repeatedly steered the debate back to the bailout, replying to a question about Congressional earmark funding by listing interest groups that get tax breaks in the financial rescue package.
“Listen to some of them — Puerto Rican rum producers, wooden-arrow producers, Hollywood — everything was put in this bill to buy votes to get it passed,” Gilmore said.
Gilmore condemned the $700 billion rescue plan signed earlier in the day by President Bush. “It’s not right to take $700 billion of money from taxpayers, men and women who work hard everyday, and put it in the arms of the high rollers of Wall Street,” he said.
Gilmore denounced legislation before Congress that would strip requirements that workers vote on secret ballots in union certification elections. Warner appeared open to the bill but declined to say whether he would vote for it.
Gilmore’s constant criticism of the Wall Street rescue seemed to auger a new campaign focus. Previously, Gilmore stressed a “drill here, drill now” energy policy, urging oil production off U.S. shores and in Alaska. He did not mention energy until he responded to a question.
Leave a Comment so far
Leave a comment