Perriello-Hurt Debate: Live Blog

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    I’m planning to watch Tom Perriello debate Robert Hurt on WSLS starting at 6 pm. I’m also going to try and live blog it. We’ll see how it goes, technically speaking, but my prediction is that Tom Perriello will kick Robert Hurt’s butt all over the stage. Stay tuned! 🙂

    6:01 pm: Welcoming the candidates, hopefully they’ll get going right away since this only 1/2 hour (why so short?).

    6:02 pm: No opening or closing statements, no timekeeper, no rules. Wild!

    6:03 pm: First question, the budget, should we balance it.  Both say “yes.”  WSLS points out, only 13% of budget goes to discretionary spending. So, how do you balance the budget? Hurt – surprised to hear Perriello in favor of balanced budget, supposedly said that was unrealistic, that’s a “slap in the face.”  Hurt says we have to “make tough decisions,” “get into entitlement spending,” “make health care cost less, not more.” Attacks Obama and Pelosi for “jamming down our throats” health care bill. Not in favor of raising taxes or cutting defense.

    Perriello – Everything has to be on the table, “I’ve fought for that.” Bipartisan budget commission. Hurt refused to support McDonnell on his balanced budget. We don’t need politicians who think solutions fit on a bumper sticker, we need leaders.  Balanced budget amendment will take 10 years to pass, we don’t have 10 years.  Find efficiency gains, “I’ve done it.”  Ran most efficient office in Virginia. We have to look at entitlements, defense, make tough choices.

    Hurt – Don’t raise retirement age. Find savings in healthcare costs. Problem is what he and Nancy Pelosi have given us is not health care reform. Market-based solutions into health care system. Allow insurance companies to sell policies across state lines, create competition, premiums now are going up.

    Perriello – Hurt clearly hasn’t been listening, premiums have been going through the roof for a long time. He’d raise taxes on small businesses. His plan would add $1 trillion to the national debt. Republican plan that just came out adds $4 trillion to the debt. We don’t need to go back to tired policies that got us into this mess in the first place. His plan would cut payments to seniors, increase cost of prescription drugs.

    Hurt – I don’t know what he’s talking about. His plan has led to higher costs, higher premiums. Adopt targeted, market-oriented solutions to drive health care costs down. Imposing $500 billion in new taxes will kill jobs. Benefit of increasing jobs, Perriello has had a deaf ear to that.

    Hurt – I’d vote to reduce salary of congressmen.

    Perriello – That’s just factually untrue, I’ve twice led the fight to block pay increases for members of Congress. Asks Hurt if he’s read the health care bill.

    Hurt – Uhhhh.

    Perriello – So, you have not read the bill. Your plan is a disaster. You have to read these plans before you say you’re against them.

    Hurt – Would repeal bill. You’ve had 22 town halls, people made it clear they didn’t want you to vote for the health care bill, you have increased cost of health care, insurance premiums, passing a legacy of debt and out-of-control spending to our children.

    Perriello – That’s a talking point, let’s get to the facts. You need to understand that your plan raises taxes on small business, you’ve raised taxes 27 times in Virginia so that’s nothing new to you.

    WSLS – Would you repeal popular provisions on preexisting conditions, kids able to stay under health care plan.

    Hurt – We can work towards those if we start from scratch, repeal this bill, market solutions…real tort reform, something that Perriello has refused to look at. There’s no way to save a bill that is $500 billion in new taxes that Perriello has voted for. Such a horrendous bill, cuts Medicare.

    Perriello – You need to read the bill, not the talking points.  

    WSLS – Cites Boucher opposition to health care bill.

    Perriello – Boucher’s wrong, we need to make tough choices and create a better system, there’s not one benefit cut.  Republicans would bankrupt Medicare, cut payments to doctors, we’ve made sure Medicare is there, put money towards people who are working hard and playing by the rules.

    6:14 – Commercial break. Half way through this way-too-short debate.  So far, Hurt spouting nonsense talking points, the “big lie,” Perriello trying to correct the lies in very limited time. Clearly, though, Hurt has no idea what the heck he’s talking about (e.g., didn’t even READ the health care bill!), Perriello actually knows the facts.  By the way, freezing Congressional pay would reduce the deficit by about 0.0000001%.  What a joke, but that’s about all Republicans like Hurt have got.

    6:17 – Question on earmarks. Hurt attached millions in earmarks to Virginia’s budget.

    Hurt – What goes on in Richmond is a lot different than what goes on in Washington. The big difference is we balance our budget. The earmark process is corrupt, needs to end, we need transparency in budgeting process so we don’t have backroom deals, tit-for-tat. Spending needs to be in context of balanced budget. Congressman Perriello doesn’t understand that.

    Perriello – I’ve been working on earmark reform, took me three weeks, Hurt has not in years.  I’ve proposed strong conflict of interest and transparency rules. I try to work with local officials to create jobs and competitive advantage. People are skeptical of election year conversions like Hurt’s.

    WSLS – Freezing Congressional salaries is miniscule, what programs would you cut to really reduce the deficit?

    Hurt – We have to look at all of bureaucracy, regulatory agencies doing a great deal of harm…can’t just say one program, have to look at everything in a systematic way…

    Perriello – Corn ethanol subsidies. Across the board cuts as Bloomberg did.

    Hurt – Perriello’s party can’t even get a budget.

    6:21 – Another long commercial break, this is ridiculous given the short time for the debate to begin with. Can’t get at almost any substance, just talking points and really fast talking. Lame.

    6:24 – Finally, back to the debate. Cost of living increase question.

    Hurt – The problem is we’ve got Congress refusing to take measures to promote job growth.

    Perriello – Leaving Hurt’s circular logic aside, seniors do need cost of living adjustments.

    Perriello – Should be military’s call on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.

    Hurt – I favor DADT.

    Perriello – The alternative to Pelosi is Boehner, the cream doesn’t always rise to the top. I’ve broken with leadership on guns, tax policy, bailout policy, challenged both parties which have lined up with the elites…

    Hurt – Congressman Perriello saying he’s been independent isn’t true.  We’ve got to balance our budget, regardless of what party leaders would say.

    6:27 – Debate is over.