Robin Carnahan wasted no time going after her Republican opponent, Roy Blunt, in the first face-off between the two candidates yesterday.
Sporting an aqua-marine blouse, Carnahan leaned on the dais during her two-minute opening statement and blasted Blunt with allegations made in her campaign ads -- referring to the current U.S. Congressman as a Washington insider who kowtows to lobbyists and wastes money on earmarks.
Blunt, outfitted in a charcoal gray suit that may have been developed by DuPont, readily deflected Carnahan's criticism as false and misleading while counter punching with barbs of his own -- mostly trying to associate Carnahan with the "extremist agenda" of Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi the two people (in Blunt's mind) responsible for all the world's problems.
But beyond the rhetoric, how did the candidates respond to the topics presented to them last night?
On whether or not earmarks are necessary to bring federal dollars to Missouri...Carnahan
: Says she'd work to do away with earmarks that she sees as wasteful. Federal money should be dispersed on merit with Missouri certainly able to compete with other states.Blunt
: Earmarks are a necessary evil. Everyone else uses them and Missouri must, too, in order to get federal money. On whether or not global warming is real...
: Yes it is. That's why she's for alternative forms of energy -- unlike her challenger who she accused of being in the pocket of big oil.Blunt
: Yes it is. But it's not just America's problem, which is why he was opposed to the failed cap and trade bill that he says would have doubled utility rates.
On whether lobbyists have undo influence in Washington...Carnahan
: Yes. The deck is stacked in favor of the lobbyists. Her opponent -- Blunt -- is one of the biggest recipients of lobbyist contributions in Washington. She proposes banning members of Congress from becoming lobbyists after their terms end and placing a time restriction on how soon congressional staffers can take lobbying jobs. Blunt
: Pretty much avoided the question all together to once again hammer on how cap and trade with impact utility bills.On whether or not the passage of federal health care law was good or bad...Carnahan
: Talked about being a breast-cancer survivor and seeing first-hand the problems with health care. Says allowing all Americans access to health care is a good thing and suggested her opponent wants to do away with Medicare and privatize Social Security. Blunt
: Would work to dismantle the health care law, which he says steals from Medicare. Says he's in favor of changing medical liability laws that increase the cost of health care. On whether or not the Wall Street bailout (TARP) was necessary...
: No. It placed the interest of silk-stocking bankers over the interest of the middle-class. Blamed Blunt for supporting the bailout and siding with the mega-banks.Blunt
: TARP was unfortunately necessary to stop further financial meltdown. Argued that it was not a "bailout" as the banks are required to pay back the money and many already have. Best zingers of the night...Carnahan
: After Blunt pretty much avoided the question on lobbyists' influence on Washington, Carnahan said Blunt reminded her of the Mark Twain quote that the U.S. has "the best government money can buy." All the more reason, in Carnahan's opinion, that Roy Blunt needs to go. Blunt
: Boasted that his jobs plan is 100 pages thick. Carnahan's, he said, is 500 words. "You could tweet that in four tweets."