Tom Perriello will debate Robert Hurt for the third time tonight, in a debate from Danville sponsored by the Sorenson Institute for Political Leadership.
Watch tonight on Channel 13 in Southside, Channel 29 in Charlottesville or streaming online here.
Lowell is unavailable, so I’ll be doing my best to live blog at BV, starting at 7 tonight.
In their first debate, Robert Hurt called for repeal of health care reform legislation, even though he also admitted he had never read the legislation and had little idea of what it contained.
In their second debate, Robert Hurt said the federal government had no role in the education of our children.
The mind reels at the thought of what might pop out of Hurt this evening.
In all seriousness, polls show this race neck and neck, with Tom catching up as voters have gotten a better look at the two candidates together in the two debates over the last ten days.
(Live blog on the flip)
Bob Gibson, Sorenson director
Three journalist panel, and an opportunity for audience questions.
Opening statements about to begin.
Tom: Danville area has seen tough times. Despite this, business leaders and citizens have said we can compete again.
The question is what are the specific plans for job creation.
We need innovation.
We have to focus on solutions.
First Question – Has the stimulus been a failure?
It has been a failure
Resulted in 11,000 fewer jobs for the fifth district
Hitting the fact that unemployment is 10% instead of the 8% Obama promised
The problem is that it is a trillion dollars in unsupported spending.
Would not say what parts of the stiulus he would support (Aznew: What about the tax cuts in there, Robert?)
We need tax cuts.
This is a time for bold vision and hope.
Campaign is about the future of the American Dream.
I believe that American Dream is threatened.
Perriello is not “independent minded”
He has voted with Pelosi
Voted for cap and trade, stimulus, health care, blah blah blah
Tom Perriello is not our congressman, he is Nancy Pelosi’s congresssman.
Hurt’s supporter are pretty loud.
Hurt’s position is the height of irresponsibility.
Stimulus prevented a Depression.
So, hurt’s position is we should have sat there and done nothing.
You opposed unemployment extension.
“How out of touch can you be?”
Asking pointed questions of Hurt – what didn’t you want in there? Broadband expansion? Tax cuts?
Hurt has not identified a single place where he differed with the policies that got us into this mess in the first place.
Q – Anything you don’t like about how this campaign has transpired?
Prevalence of TV ads — 30 second spots result in simplistic solutions
Undisclosed cash coming into the campaign. Hurt opposes disclosure.
We have had several debates in rural counties that Hurt has not attended. “We need to have respect for all the counties in the district.”
Whining about negative ads
(aznew: Hurt seems a little bit angrier tonight than in the last two debates. I wonder if he is feeling some pressure from the polling showing the race tightening?)
Q – Asking about what Hurt would do to bring high speed rail to Central Virginia?
Transportation is important.
High speed rail and expanded rail are important.
I support the ideas, but don’t think we should fund it, because of budget difficulties.
You supported a transportation bill that was ruled unconstitutional, because it tried to raise taxes without telling people what was happening.
For ten years, you have not delivered on transportation.
We have built the Robinson Ave. Bridge, and it has made a difference (applause)
Q – How would you improve Danville area’s education?
Commitment to Veterans under GI Bill (applause)
Stand by teachers
Doesn’t answer the question. Goes off on health care. “Get your facts, since you’re so proud of the fact that you read the bill.” Hilarious!
Hurt is definitely the angry man. He doesn;t even bother to answer the question, just goes off on Tom.
Q – What is your philosophy of government
Listen to the people
Seen people lose jobs “because of the crushing oppression of the Federal government.”
All kids should have the chance to reach their potential
Cites his dad, who got a chance to become a pediatrician.
Both Sen. Hurt and I are blessed.
But not everybody has that.
Part of the American Dream is making sure every child has the same chance.
Government is one small part of that.
We’re meeting with faith leaders.
We have marches in the street.
Q – What is the difference between lobbyists and corporate interets? Do you take money form them?
I do not take money from registered lobbyists or corporate PACs, notwithstanding Hurt’s efforts to muddy the waters.
I voted for the diclsoe act. I think voters have a fundamental right to know where the money is coming from.
He refuses to take money from American business. Why is that?
Is he afraid they might have some influence?
Hurt – slamming SEIU support of Tom, drawing out the word “International” when he talks about them, as if the union is sinister.
Q – What would you tell undecided voters to get their vote?
Doesn’t talk about himself. Rather, attacks Tom on the economic problems in the district.
His message basically seems to be, don’t support me, attack Tom.
Vote for me for what I’ve done in the General Assembly representing this area.
The problem is your district is our district.
“I’ll put my year and a half up against your ten years any day” (wild applause)
“Why are you afraid of nurses and janitors?” (More wild applause)
WOW – TOM KILLED HIM ON THAT!
Q – What have you doen to help farmers?
Helping them develop new methods, new uses for crops (future fuel sources).
Know you famrer – more local use of farm products.
Ag is still the biggest sector of the Virginia economy.
I can’t keep up – he’s got an incredible list.
Says he did not vote to increase electric rates.
Hurt has not named a single thing he has done to help farmers.
Just, yet again, says Tom voted to raise taxes, assault on free enterprise, blah blah blah.
Q – What about China?
I’ve been in the General Assembly. I haven’t voted to send any jobs overseas.
“It just ain’t so.”
You signed the pledge to support the outsourcing loophole that rewards comanies for sending jobs overseas.
Are we going to stand with America, or the outsourcers?
On trade agreements, Hurt has flipped-flopped.
“My challenge in Washington has been against the elites in both parties, and then come home for the photo-ops.”
Q – What would you do to balance the budget? Be specific?)
I support the bipartisan commission, and want an up or down vote on the entire thing.
Everything has to be on the table (again, I don’t agree)
We are going to have to cut things across the board, including things I like.
We’re going to have to make difficult decisions.
We need leaders who are willing to step up and do that.
I am a fighter.
I will fight for Southside harder than anyone else.
I will fight for Virginia.
Unsurprisingly, he is not answering the question, but critcizing Tom for stuff he did not do and clearly does not support.
Across the board cuts – that’s not very intelligent. Do you really mean you want to cut funding for our soldiers in Afghanistan dying over there (I cannot friggin’ believe he said this)..
How about social security.
How could Washington have spent the social security trust fund down to zero?
We need to ablance our budget.
Q – Are we doing enough to prevent another terrorist attack?
“I’m glad to see Obama has waked up.” hahahahaha (I’m not joking – this is a direct quote)
Again, in comparison to Hurt’s angry, ignorant rant, Tom provides a cogent analysis of our military situation.
My responsibility as a member of Congress is to demand information on our strategy.
We have asked the military to bear the entire burden. We have to step up and support them.
We have to take care of our veterans when they return home.
Taking a break now. Seriously, Hurt seems like he is coming unglued. It doesn’t come across a passion, but rather as frustration that folks are not longer buying his bullsh*t.
Q – Health care reform – what should we do?
We were willing to take on the challenges of making Medicare solvent.
Th $500 billion we cut is gtting rid of waste.
Under Hurt’s plan, there are reduced benefits.
Robert “The Angry Man” Hurt
Tom didn’t listen at the town halls.
Repeats lie that plan has $500 billion in cuts to seniors.
Wants market-oriented solutions
Debate is over. Thoughts in a moment.
Some thoughts: Obviously, I strongly support Tom Perriello, but I am shocked at how unprepared Robert Hurt seems to be at these debates. Asked what he will do to solve problems, he tends to simply fall back on his talking-point criticisms of Perriello, and not talk about what he would do.
Beyond opposing Tom, Hurt seems to have no agenda, no plan and no clue how to address the problems confronting this country and this district.
High drop-out rates? Hurt says the federal government has no role in education.
High speed rail? It would help the district, but we have no money to fund it.
What have you done for farmers? Uh….
And on and on it goes.
One of the more significant differences in tonight’s debate was that Hurt just seemed plain angry all night, as if he should not be bothered with having to debate. I can’t help but wonder whether Hurt saw some polling today showing that as voters have absorbed his dismal performance in the last two debates that his support is crumbling. I wonder whether Hurt concluded that if he couldn’t beat Tom on the merits of the debate, perhaps he could somehow shout him down.
I don’t know, but tonight was a different, and quite unappealing Robert Hurt. As the debate unfolded, it seemed to me (watching on TV) that Tom gained support from the Danville audience, while applause for Hurt waned.
Finally, in closing, I apologize for my lousy typing. I’m going on 30 years, professionally, behind a keyboard, and still use only two fingers.