From the Virginia Bar Association: “Candidates for one of Virginia’s U.S. Senate seats will meet in the first debate of the election season. The free, public event will occur at The Greenbrier during the 124th Summer Meeting of The Virginia Bar Association. Thanks to The Virginia Bar Association/PBS NewsHour live stream broadcast we can more broadly share the event that features Sen. Mark Warner (D) and challenger Ed Gillespie (R) – and is moderated by PBS NewsHour’s Judy Woodruff.”
UPDATE 12:30 pm: Gillespie’s closing statement…same old b.s. as in his intro. Claims Sen. Warner wouldn’t recognize Gov. Warner. Funny, because he looks about the same to most Virginians – the most popular politician in Virginia. Nice try, Ed, but YOU LOSE. 😉 Warner says Gillespie offers a VERY different approach, both substantively and stylistically. Says he’s proud of his record on debt, veterans, etc. Says Gillespie just keeps repeating false charges like a broken record, that if they were true he wouldn’t be supported by John Warner and so many Republicans. Says Gillespie blames everything on the President, everything is hyper-partisan, that is the LAST thing Washington needs. If you want a problem solver, business-minded, work-across-party-lines, vote for Mark Warner.
UPDATE 12:24 pm: Question on whether Virginia should recognize same-sex marriage. Gillespie says he respects and loves people for who they are, believes marriage is between one man/one woman, not his role as a Senator to legislate on this, it’s up to the states. #FAIL/#DODGE/#COWARD Warner says he supports marriage equality, it’s the right thing to do, smart business thing to do. Warner says he and Gillespie have very large/different views on “personhood,” contraception, Hobby Lobby, women’s right to choose, invasive ultrasound legislation, he hasn’t repudiated any of that. Gillespie says Warner is making up his views (HUH?!? he doesn’t believe those things?!? if so, that’s big news!). Gillespie says his religious views should not be at issue, that we should make it easier for women to get contraception over the counter. Warner: would you vote to overturn Roe vs. Wade, did you not also support a personhood amendment? Warner promises he will get the documentation to prove it, says there won’t be a vote in the Senate on Roe vs. Wade. Gillespie squirming and wriggling here…love it.
UPDATE 12:20 pm: Question on sexual assault in the military, who should prosecute. Warner says we should not accept any culture of harassment in the military or on college campuses. Need protection for whistleblowers. Need to see progress, shouldn’t take outside the chain of command. Gillespie agrees.
UPDATE 12:13 pm: Are your views on foreign policy closer to John McCain’s or Rand Paul’s on Afghanistan. Gillespie says we have national security concerns in Afghanistan, need to make decisions based on what Pentagon, State Department believe. Blames Iraq’s chaos on President Obama, which is another Big Lie – in fact, the Iraqis refused to sign a Status of Forces Agreement. Warner says Afghanistan is very complicated, need a unity government, would be open to leaving forces longer but can’t be open-ended commitment. Warner says we offered Iraq our deepest treasure, a chance to succeed, and both Afghanistan and Iraq need to both step up, form unity governments, seize the opportunity we gave them. We do NOT want to be in the middle of civil wars in those countries. Gillespie says Americans are war weary, so unless it’s in our national security interest we shouldn’t intervene militarily (I wonder if he agrees with his pal Dick Cheney on that one). Warner says Colin Powell got it right with the Pottery Barn rule, “if you break it you own it” – that’s a lesson we need to take to heart. But we also need to be prepared to intervene when American interests are at stake in an interconnected world and with a weary American public.
UPDATE 12:06 pm: Question on China, is it a major adversary of the U.S.? Warner says tilt towards Asia was appropriate policy decision a few years back, but we couldn’t predict eruptions in Middle East and Russia. We have to be very guarded with the Chinese, need to do more to work with Vietnam and other countries in the region. Debt is causing cuts to the military and domestic discretionary (R&D, infrastructure, etc.). That’s not the way to have a strong America. Sequestration is “stupidity” (agreed – and many/most Republicans supported it). Gillespie says China is emboldened due to our shrinking military budget, but of course doesn’t mention his party’s overwhelming role in causing that budget to shrink. Claims, completely falsely, that the Obama administration is slashing military spending to “pay for more Obamacare.” LIAR. Warner calls out Gillespie for lying, says that’s what political operatives do, just say something over and over again but it doesn’t make it true. As a business guy, the Romney/Gillespie business plan would not make America strong, since it doesn’t invest in America. Need to do entitlement reform, tax reform, haven’t heard that from Gillespie. Gillespie claims he’s not sure what he said wasn’t true. Hint to Enron Ed: listen to yourself, then do some Googling. Ugh, now he’s claiming the price of “gas” doubled since Warner took office, completely ignoring the fact that “gas” prices were low in early 2009 because we were in the midst of the Bush/Cheney economic meltdown/Great Recession. Warner says the rhetoric doesn’t match the record, that Gillespie has lobbied against higher fuel efficiency standards, lobbied for Enron.
UPDATE 12:01 pm: Question on possible military action against Iran. Gillespie says don’t take any options off the table, time is Iran’s friend, keep tough sanctions on Iran (I agree). Warner says he generally agrees with Gillespie on this one (wow, all three of us agree on something!), that Iran can’t have nuclear weapon, that we should stand shoulder to shoulder with our most important ally in the reason, Israel. Says Israel has a right to defend itself, that Hamas uses citizens to defend its missiles, Israel has right to go in and clean them out. Gillespie says he agrees with Warner on this one as well (again, I agree with both of them on this one). Gillespie says it’s not smart to undercut Israeli government, is concerned with the Administration’s approach in that regard. Warner says he’s worried about signs of increasing isolationism on both left and right (again, I strongly agree). We need a strong America economically and militarily (again, I agree).
UPDATE 11:55 am: Question about Ukraine, shoot-down of Malaysian passenger plane, Putin escalation. Warner says we live in dangerous world, President Obama should have acted sooner/tougher on Russia sanctions. Important for NATO and the West to stand up to this aggression. Says he supports permitting of Liquefied Natural Gas exports and Keystone (god, so wrong!). Gillespie agrees that we should have acted sooner on sanctions, we should send lethal weapons to Ukrainian military. Gillespie also supports lifting ban on oil and gas exports as a way to reduce Putin’s hold on Europe (extremely unlikely/dubious). Warner points out Gillespie was part of Bush-Cheney administration and supported Iraq War, was wrong on all of it. Gillespie says his wrong assessment was shared by many people, including Senators on both sides of the aisle (true, but the point is, what’s Gillespie’s foreign policy expertise? NONE). Warner says there should have been firmer actions on Russia during the Bush administration (I would have noted that Bush infamously said he looked into Putin’s soul and liked what he saw).
UPDATE 11:52 am: Warner asks Gillespie about being lead lobbyist for Enron, a company which created the greatest fraud in history, gouge consumers with higher electric bills, kill jobs. Was that really fair? Gillespie now trying to defend Enron…or something, who knows, because he has no answer. Claims ignorance of what Enron and Ken Lay were doing. Uh huh. Warner says Gillespie didn’t say whether it was fair for his firm to make $700k when 20,000 folks lost their jobs in this huge scandal. Then, afterwards, Gillespie lobbied against regulations that might prevent future Enron scandals. SLAM!!!
UPDATE 11:46 am: Question on Ex-Im Bank. Warner says he absolutely supports it – supports American business, has been extraordinarily bipartisan over the years until Tea Party wing (which Gillespie embraces) has taken this on as a cause to oppose the Ex-Im Bank. “I’m not going to unilaterally disarm American businesses…” By the way, of all people to complain about “crony capitalism,” seriously “Enron Ed?!?” LOL Gillespie claims he didn’t say the words “crony capitalism.” Raises the issue of the debt, which of course is irrelevant in this case since Ex-Im (more than?) pays for itself. He’s just flat wrong that we’d get savings from Ex-Im or that this has ANYTHING WHATSOEVER to do with the debt (nor does any domestic discretionary spending – it’s simply not growing). Gillespie is either totally ignorant or just lying. Warner notes that Ex-Im not only doesn’t cost any money, it RETURNS money every year. A polite way of calling Gillespie a liar. As for debt/deficit, Warner notes that he’s taken many arrows from the left on this (very true). Says he’s heard only platitudes and sound bites from Gillespie. Gillespie claims Ex-Im Bank doesn’t generate money (uh huh). Gillespie now yet again failing to take responsibility for the Bush Administration racking up enormous debts.
UPDATE 11:42 am: Question on Gillespie working as a lobbyist, with Karl Rove, American Crossroads, etc., isn’t he just part of Washington? Gillespie claims that his work experience can actually help him standard up to special interests (having never done so ONCE in his freakin’ LIFE! LOL). Warner says it’s not that you’re a lobbyist it’s who you’re a lobbyist for – Enron, against financial regulations that might have stopped the financial crisis. Gillespie’s record is as a lobbyist and a partisan warrior. If that’s what you want, “he’s your guy!” Warner says he’s an independent voice with more Republican support this time than in 2008, always starts with a Republican partner. Gillespie notes that Warner was a party chair, says 47 former Warner donors are giving to him (need to check that claim). Says reaching across the aisle isn’t end in itself, you have to pass bills – ignoring the fact that House Republicans and Republican Senators who have filibustered anything and everything have blocked basically everything. Warner says he’s proud of his record and bipartisan approach.
UPDATE 11:37 am: Gillespie asks Warner about Obamacare supposedly not bringing down costs, also the DC Court decision (which, by the way, was a wild outlier and almost certainly will be overturned). Warner says he supports the Virginia court, Gillespie supports the DC court. Warner says health care was consuming a larger and larger % of our economy, system was broken, people don’t want to go back to pre-existing condition, etc. People want us to roll up our sleeves and fix it, “I’ve laid out three specific alternatives.” Gillespie claims there are “damaging effects of this policy,” which is totally untrue. Obamacare hasn’t done any of the things Gillespie warned about. Just blatantly lying yet again.
UPDATE 11:34 am: Specific question on kids being housed in Staunton, Virginia, and whether they should be deported. Warner says they are due a level of legal process, that there is a humane, appropriate process that requires comprehensive immigration reform. Gillespie says this is heartbreaking, but of course offers no solutions, just like Ted Cruz and other right-wingnut friends of his.
UPDATE 11:30 am: Question on kids coming to America. Gillespie, predictably, blames…yep, Obama (can we say “Obama Derangement Syndrome?”). Gillespie spews out the usual rhetoric but offers nothing, as usual, on this humanitarian tragedy with KIDS fleeing drug-fueled violence in Central America. Disgusting. Gillespie dodges question about whether he’d vote with extremist nutjob Ted Cruz, goes back to Obama Derangement Syndrome. Warner points out, correctly, that our current immigration system is broken and that the Senate passed a bipartisan (e.g, John McCain, Lindsey Graham supported it), comprehensive immigration reform. On Central America, Warner says we need to speed up the processing of the children and intervene more aggressively to prevent the children from coming here in the first place. Gillespie had said the Senate bill was a good approach, so Warner asks why his position has changed. Gillespie claims his position’s been consistent, which is false yet again.
UPDATE 11:28 am: Gillespie says he thinks the evidence indicates there is climate change, but dodges on whether man is the cause (which is what 97% of scientists agree on), also says it’s wrong to sneer at people with different views. #FAIL #FAIL #FAIL Gillespie says the EPA regulations go too far, which is just factually, absurdly untrue. More lies from the Lying Liar “Enron Ed!”
UPDATE 11:24 am: Warner points to great success story of American energy. I strongly disagree with Warner on this “all of the above” garbage. As for the EPA regulations, they are long overdue and too mild, in my view. Warner points out that Gillespie won’t even acknowledge climate science (!!!). Gillespie’s two energy credentials were to lobby against efficiency and for Enron being able to gouge Americans. Gillespie claims Warner’s yet again not the Senator he said he would be and proceeds to recite coal industry talking points. What a complete tool. Now he’s just piling lie upon lie, bull**** upon bull**** with no connection to science, economics, etc. It’s really hard to even listen to this guy. Meanwhile, he still hasn’t responded on climate science. Warner mocks Gillespie’s ridiculous, insulting, clueless minimum wage comments. Well deserved mocking; Gillespie is utterly disconnected from the real world. Gillespie has no defense, of course, claims Warner supports destroying jobs (oh yeah, like ANY Democratic politician supports destroying jobs – riiiiiight). Warner notes that the minimum wage has less purchasing power today than when Warner and Gillespie worked for minimum wage many years ago.
UPDATE 11:20 am: Gillespie says if you’re for economic growth, you’re for me, ignoring the fact that we inherited the Great Recession from the Bush/Cheney administration, and that the DEMOCRATS – with no help from Gillespie’s Republicans – got us out of it, so that we’ve had several years now of job gains and plummeting unemployment rates. Says he would “double” the economic growth rate, but of course offers no policies to do so. I mean, which politician wouldn’t offer to “double” economic growth? But without details, it’s meaningless. Plus, the record of Gillespie’s party is absolutely abysmal, as Warner is now pointing out – increased debt, fought two unpaid-for wars, etc. Warner: We can’t afford “EG much less EG Squared.” LOL, great line. 🙂 Gillespie throws out “intrusive government regulation” (another hoary right-wing myth) as a bogeyman, including the modest proposed EPA rule on carbon pollution. Yawn. Warner points out that a balanced budget amendment, as Gillespie supports, is gimmick.
UPDATE 11:15 am: Warner calls out Gillespie for not having his facts straight (aka, lying). Also calls out Gillespie for being big supporter of individual mandate in his lobbying days. Also notes that Gillespie has no specifics to reform Obamacare. Gillespie just outright lies and denies it.
UPDATE 11:13 am: Gillespie claims Warner doesn’t support offshore oil drilling, when of course he does (unfortunately). Same thing with Keystone (also unfortunately). Gillespie claims Warner’s not the Senator he said he would be. Says he’ll replace Obamacare, except doesn’t mention that Republicans HAVE NO PLAN to replace Obamacare. #FAIL yet again. Oh yeah, and Gillespie makes clear he’s a puppet of the fossil fuel industry.
UPDATE 11:11 am: Question about Sen. Warner’s voting record on Obamacare, etc. “Let’s set the record straight.” National Journal ranks him in the “sensible center,” which is why Sen. John Warner endorsed Mark Warner. Virginians are tired of the health care issue being used as political football, don’t want to go back to days when you could be denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions, etc. Warner has a plan to reform Obamacare and make it better.
UPDATE 11:09 am: Mark Warner now delivering his opening statement. “In American, everybody ought to get a fair shot.” Reviews his superb record as Governor of Virginia, working across the aisle. Says Gillespie is a DC lobbyist and partisan operative, views everything through the lens of a “partisan warrior.” “The last thing Washington needs is another partisan warrior.” Instead, we need people who will work to get things done.
UPDATE 11:07 am: “Enron Ed” delivers his opening statement. And quickly, Gillespie starts talking down our economy, blaming the government (which he falsely claims has grown too big, when in fact it’s shrunk significantly the past 6 years). Lies, lies, and more lies.
UPDATE 11:05 am: The candidates – “Enron Red” and Sen. Mark Warner – take the stage.
UPDATE 11:04 am: Gotta love it, the reception afterwards is sponsored by…wait for it…yep, Dominion Resources, which basically OWNS our politicians. Legalized corruption. Ugh.