17th CD candidates Laureen Cummings (R) and Matt Cartwright (D) met at Wilkes University for the first of at least 3 scheduled meetings.
Cartwight is an accomplished speaker and Cummings not so much and it showed. Right out of the gate Cartwright went after her Tea Party ideas and she latter told me she was not ready for it. He proudly said he was a lawyer that stands up for working families and the middle class. He blasted the Tea Party for being the "party of no".' Cummings said that she was offended as a woman by the treatment of Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin in 2008 and objected to the TARP and stimulus.
The first question was about to help small business. Laureen said stop regulating them then went off about cap and trade and said $4 gas was a war on women. Matt brought up something she posted to her Facebook wall in May 2010 that I can't find. She has posted so many nutty memes to her wall it's hard to pick out just one. Cartwright said we need to rebuild our infrastructure and have a fair trade policy. Then he defended regulations because they insure the the health and safety of workers then finished by saying we should be the Nation of YES!
When asked what has has prepared you for office Matt said the usual platitudes then added "I will bring home the bacon." Laureen missed this and defended her Facebook post saying prior to 2010 it was OK to oppose everything because the Dem's ran the show. She then attacked Cartwright because lawyers write bad laws and contended that being a lawyer is not good training for being a legislator.
On Defense spending and Tobyhanna Cummings said this Administration gave $90 Billion to Solyandra and other green energy projects. Then said peace through strength, Israel and superior firepower.. Cartwright noted that our local GOP Reps (Barletta and Marino) voted to cut spending for Tobyhanna.
Fracking came up and Carwright said you can't stop it (too much money involved) so do it right. Protect the environment and stop the mad rush to frack. Close the Halliburton loophole and tax the extraction. Cummings said drill baby drill. Repeated a lie about giving Brazil $2 Billion to drill offshore and the nonsense about a war on coal.
Poverty was the 5th question and Cummings told a personal story about her kids were kicked off the free/reduced lunch program because she was working 2 jobs that put her over the income limit. Screw the income test, give every kid lunch.
Cartwright said there was a climate of contempt when Republicans talk about poor people and brought up Romney's 47% remark.
On Transportation Cummings won't increase the the gas tax to fix our roads. She says the tax code is a failure ( I agree) and wants to replace it with a Value Added Tax . She contends that that would make under the table workers and illegal immigrants pay taxes . Then spewed off about some prebate program that sounds complicated. Cartwright said that wouldn't work and would result in a 23% Sales tax. He want's more rail and a big investment in infrastructure.
Common denominators in the district. Cummings had a clever answer For Rent, Foreclosure, For Sale. Cartwright had a sober answer. People count on federal programs such as Social Security, Medicare, Veterans Benefits, the FAA, the FBI, NOAA, the Border Patrol, National Institute of Health, Centers for Disease Control, etc.
They both oppose term limits and want transparency in campaign finance.
Cummings approach to the national debt is to repeal Obamacare and regulations and stop over spending. Cartwright wants a balanced approach citing President Clinton raising taxes in 1993 that led to a surplus. He blasted the Tea Party House members for holding the debt ceiling hostage.
When asked about the Middle East Cartwright sang the praises of Israel and said Iran should never get nuclear weapons. Cummings said he stole her answer then said the administration has weak policies.
Cummings touted the Fair Tax and said Cartwright has been watching too much MSNBC. She stated the Tea Party never forced anybody to sign any tax pledge. She was right about that, it was Grover Norquist who demands that GOP candidates kiss his ring.
In closing Cummings said the choice was between limited government or big government . She blamed the Obama administration for the 2008 housing crises. Cartwright said his opponent wants to turn the clock back to the time when Wall Street was the wild west and insurance companies could drop your coverage if you get sick. He said he would stand up to the Tea Party and stand up for Social Security, Medicare and Veterans benefits.
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