Delaware Debates 2010 10-year anniversary: U.S. Senate
Delaware Debates 2010 10-year anniversary: U.S. Senate


I’m Nancy Karibjanian for delaware first media. Good evening. I’m Wolf Blitzer from CNN thank you so much for joining us for what’s certain to be one of the most widely watched events of this the 2010 midterm election season Let’s introduce the candidates joining us for this debate this evening Democrat, Chris Coons Welcome and Republican Christine O’Donnell welcome We also want to thank a AARP Delaware and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network For their support making this debate possible and let’s go through some of the rules some of the ground rules for this 90 minute debate It’s divided into two parts following a two-minute opening Statement from each candidate Nancy and I will pose questions responses to that initial question Limited to two minutes with a one-minute rebuttal from the other candidate and then there will be an opportunity for all of us to mix it up a little bit to get into a discussion and follow-up that’s the first hour the first 60 minutes of this debate that will be followed by a 30-minute segment during which we turn to the students here at the University of Delaware. They have questions Responses to their questions will be limited to one minute Each candidate will also have two minutes at the end for a closing statement our live audience here in Mitchell Hall Understands, we hope that there will be no applause during tonight’s debate we want everyone to be quiet and listen and learn from these two candidates a Coin toss determined earlier the order for this evening We begin with two minute opening statements from each of the candidates and we begin with Chris Coons Thank you Thank You president Harker to our moderators Wolf Blitzer Nancy care of Jane Ian and to our hosts AUD Center for political communications in Delaware first media There’s a great deal at stake in this election For our state for our families and for our country all of us regardless of our political leanings recognized that Washington is broken As I’ve traveled up and down the state the last nine months as a candidate Listening to voters talk about the issues facing them in their daily lives I’ve heard again and again their frustration with Washington and with elected officials Who are putting narrow partisan agendas ahead of the good of our country and doing little to help millions of Americans out of work? Or on the verge of losing their homes or who are anxious about their futures The partisan gridlock in Washington has real implications for us here in Delaware. There’s more than 35,000 Delawareans still out of work and nearly 3,000 families that have faced foreclosure this year These aren’t just numbers in Delaware These are our neighbors and we can’t simply stand by and watch Washington ignore us or them any longer in this election Delaware’s voters face a clear and important choice between on the one hand my opponent a Candidate who wants to take our state and country back to the failed economic policies of the past Who values partisan bickering over compromise in solutions and who I believe has extreme positions that threaten? vital education programs and what abandon our commitment to our veterans and on the other hand in my case a candidate with a proven track record of balancing budgets Finding bipartisan solutions working with Delaware’s businesses large and small Helping to create jobs and spur growth over the next 90 minutes I look forward to the chance to share with you my ideas and values Delaware values that I learned growing up in Hoch Essen working here in Newark with one of Delaware’s most innovative manufacturing Companies and leading Delaware’s second largest government I take seriously the idea. This is a campaign this campaign is a job interview and tonight’s debate is about giving Delaware’s voters an insight into which candidate has the Experience the values and the ideas to best represent them and do the hard work of fixing what’s broken in Washington. Thank you Your opening statement. Thank you. Thank you to our host and for everyone being here tonight I’m running because I’m concerned about the direction of our country The America we knew and grew up with this being threatened in the most serious way in just three years We will be paying 1 billion dollars a day on the interest alone on our national debt the common sense men and women in this room and all across Delaware know that this is Not sustainable Yet my opponent wants to go to Washington and rubber stamp the failed spending bills that are coming from that have cost us 2.5 million jobs. This is wrong Uncle Sam needs be cut off with your vote and your support I want to go to Washington to create jobs based on private Business, not your tax dollars. I want to fight to have our nation become debt-free I want to stop the tax hikes that are coming in January. I want to reach Sustainable energy independence support the military and strengthen the security of our homeland I want to fight to safeguard Social Security improve education and protect our constitutional liberties In an election year when so much is at stake just about every candidate says this yet what? Distinguishes one candidate from another are their proposed solutions to reach these goals I very much look forward to getting down to brass tacks with all of you over the next 90 minutes Because I believe there is a clear choice in this election a vote from my opponent will cost the average Delaware family ten thousand dollars instantly between the January tax hikes and his vote for cap and trade most of us can’t afford that if you think that government is too small and that you’re taxed too little if you’ve ever Questioned whether America is a beacon of freedom and justice then he’s your guy, but if you want a u.s Senator who will stand up to the Washington elite who will put your interests ahead of the special interests and make the tough Decisions needed to rein in and out-of-control Washington then I humbly ask you to vote O’Donnell for US Senate, right? We’re now getting into our question portion of the evening and I’ll begin with you. Mr Coons creating jobs to get America back to work clearly has to be a priority to do Americans voted overwhelmingly for Democrats during the last election because most felt that the Democrats would be able to fix the failing economy Unemployment is at 9.6 percent Almost three-quarters of Americans in the most recent CNN opinion Research Corporation poll Said that the economy is still in a recession So why should the voters of Delaware trust a Democrat this time around? Well, Nancy, thanks for your question I think the voters of Delaware should trust this Democrat because of my combination of experience Working in the private sector and working with the private sector hands on work helping one of Delaware’s most innovative company Expand and grow jobs and concrete and engaged work as County Executive working with our Chamber of Commerce our Business Roundtable The committee of a hundred lots of groups who represent businesses large and small to effectively grow the economy I’ve also presented as a candidate for the Senate concrete and real ideas They’re on my website, but I look forward to the chance to go over them in some detail tonight I would advocate for a research and development tax credit and expanded our new Tax Credit that’s combined with a new Manufacturing tax credit that advocates for companies that invent things here and make them here getting an extra incentive I also think we need to change the crazy tax policy in Washington That gives an incentive to American companies to shut down operations here and ship jobs overseas There’s other things I’ve proposed Expanding the home office Tax Credit expanding a tax credit for starting a new business that employs folks within the first couple of years fighting harder in trade policy to make sure That we’re not letting our trading partners take advantage of us in trade deals that were signed over previous years Doing more in investment and innovation at the end of the day I think Delaware has a long tradition of inventing and manufacturing world-class products The best way for us to get out of this recession is through growth The best way to growth is by taking advantage of the skills and resources of a world-class University like this one where we’re having this debate this evening and tying that to a stronger more qualified more capable workforce Giving it the resources and the energy it needs to be once again the leader in the world in creating high quality High value manufacturing jobs. Those are some of the ideas. I look forward to discussing more this evening Thank You. Mr. Donner You have one minute for a rebuttal? Well, first of all we have to keep in mind that my opponent has a history of Promising not to raise taxes on the campaign trail and then breaking those promises as soon as he takes office Unemployment here in New Castle County rose almost doubled in the last two years under his watches, New Castle County Executive now when it comes to the policies that he has said on the campaign trail He will continue to rubber stamp the spending policies coming from Washington We were promised that the stimulus bill would create jobs, but instead it cost us 2.6 million jobs We were promised that it would keep unemployment at 8% But instead We see unemployment at nine point seven percent The Democrats are bragging that unemployment has leveled out but while unemployment has leveled out More people than ever are on food stamps and our welfare spending is higher than ever This is not the right move. This is not a move towards real economic recovery This is a move towards creating a culture of dependency. I believe the best thing the government to it. That’s the time Sorry, but now we do get to open it to discussion. Great. Well what specifically? Miss O’Donnell would you do specifically to create jobs? Well what I think the best thing the government can do to get our economy back on real economic recovery is for to get out of the way of the small business owner to get out of the way of the Entrepreneur and the way you do that is to make sure these tax hikes don’t come in January You begin to roll back some of the regulation that’s forced them to to close their doors a couple things that I’m Proposing and number one a temporary two year tax holiday on the capital gains tax to give investors the money they need to reinvest in Business to permanently eliminate the death tax that’s not only an unjust bill because we paid taxes while we saved it But it will also create 1.5 million new jobs Let me just remind that we are in the discussion portion. So you Can interject here as well as we continue to discuss that point? I’m not sure I understand what mrs O’Donnell means when she says this is simply creating a culture of dependency and that her primary objective would be to end all the endless Regulation and red tape she denounces the Obama administration says it’s done Nothing to promote job growth when frankly just a few weeks ago a new bill that would provide expanded SBA loan capacity 30 billion dollars worth of new lending Capability tarp funds that have been repaid and are being repurposed towards small and mid-sized banks all over the United States Real and concrete steps are being taken. I also frankly Can’t imagine where she found the numbers that unemployment doubled in just the past year under my watch I Suspect we’re going to need to keep a close eye this evening on the numbers that go flying that let’s ask her Where did you find believer statistics and we’ll have them on our website by tomorrow? But I want to point out that he said That we’re not creating a culture of dependency How would you explain what is happening when unemployment is leveled out but more and more people on foot are on food stamps We’ve got to ask ourselves. What do we want Delawareans to be receiving food stamps or paychecks? I say paychecks obviously pictures We’d like to have Americans the way able to receive the benefits that they need to get through incredibly difficult times But to simply denounce people as being dependent because they’re applying for and receiving food stats worst recession. It’s not fair Slandering people who are in incredibly difficult times. That’s not fair of you to say that because that’s not at all what I’m doing I’m not the person who would cut the tax benefits for disabled and low-income senior citizens as you did as County as County Executive But what I’m proposing is to give these tax To make sure that the tax cuts for all Delawareans do not expire this January you have said that you will stop the tax cuts for the so-called rich What you fail to realize is that the so-called rich are the small business owner the drycleaner down the street the pizza shop owner Who makes 300 thousand dollars before they pay their four employees before they feed their or her family I think this is gonna come to court We’re gonna try and have a conversation here this evening rather than just a diatribe If we possibly could I think it’d be helpful for us to be able to have an exchange of ideas? And let each of us take turns. So thank you for moderating Well, I think it’s important for folks to look closely at some of the things miss O’Donnell’s thrown out on her new website Most of them are untrue. Some of them are just flat-out lies. Some of them are mischaracterizations. Some of them are just factually untrue So I’m not going to stop every single time There’s something she throws out that I disagree with or I think is factually untrue But let me just say at the outset that much of what you’ve put out much of how you’ve characterized My record is incorrect and if we simply sit here this evening and say that’s not true. That’s not true We’re not gonna make much problem. Do you excuse support keeping the Bush tax cuts for all Americans or only for those making under? $250,000 I support extending the Bush tax cuts for the overwhelming majority of Americans. I don’t think we should draw an arbitrary line at $250,000 but the value that I will apply as Deciding how much to extend whether it goes up to a million or two million or five million is that we’ve got a tough choice to make every increased tax cut Extension that’s giving is going to cost it’s going to increase the deficit it adds to the debt And here’s the primary value. I would apply in deciding whether to extend all of the Bush tax cuts And for how long I think we should do those tax cuts that have the best chance of getting our economy going again An opportunity to get back into this discussion because this is issue number one jobs jobs jobs Also the deficit I want to get into the deficit right now You’ve made the point that the the national debt is exploding. The budget deficit is exploding right now I want some specific meaningful cuts if you were elected a senator from Delaware what would you cut in the federal budget and don’t just say waste fraud and abuse because everybody says that What would you cut specifically? It’s a great question because first of all we have got to tackle the deficit and the debt because our deficit is almost becoming equal to our national GDP when your deficit a country’s deficit equals your GDP that’s when your currency collapses your market collapses We’ve got what would your politic measures first of all cancel the unspent stimulus bill second of all put a freeze on on Non-discretionary on discretionary spending put a hiring freeze on non-security Personnel, and then of course when we’re talking about cutting government spending We’ve got to talk about waste fraud and abuse a recent report came out so that we spend over 1 billion dollars in medical medicaid waste fraud and abuse we’re talking about Pharmacies billing for prescriptions giving to dead people we’re talking about Home health care companies billing for patients who were in the hospital senator Coburn recently put out a report called schoolhouse pork that that disclosed millions of dollars that were supposed to go to to education funding that instead went to special favors now special favors are something that my opponent knows very much about because he created 12 Contingency funds so that he could pay out Favors to special interest groups the courts forced him to close 11 of them But of the one that remained open, he paid 53 thousand dollars in a men’s fashion show He paid another PO more than fifty thousand dollars to appease liberal special interest groups at a time When he brags about balancing the budget by raising our taxes cutting Policeman pay this is how he chooses to spend our tax dollars We’ve got to ask do we want to send this gentleman to Washington DC? I would say no, he’s a career politician who has proven he knows how to pay play the all right you Rebecca You scratch my game. You have a minute to respond. There’s so much to respond to well I mean it may not be enough Let me get back to the focus of the question, which is what would you do to tackle the deficit and the debt? I think we have some very large challenges in front of us the overwhelming majority federal spending is made up by defense spending Medicare Medicaid Social Security and interest on the debt While the president has proposed and I would seriously consider supporting a freeze on non-defense discretionary spending for three years Which would achieve significant reductions I’ve also identified on my website a series of reductions that I would support Some of them are in agricultural price of ports Some of them are in federal office space for example or hiring and several of them are in defense programs defense acquisition that the Pentagon itself has already said they no longer need the c-17 program for example where the second engine for the f-35 there’s a variety of platforms and programs that I think we can simply do away with as We invest in making our defense and our military more modern more flexible more responsive to the real threats We face in the modern world And as we continue to achieve some savings through the back the brac program and other things that have shown a real capacity to say let’s open the discussion on correcting some of the financial issues here by Talking about some of your own personal financial problems and most people know about it by now Including an IRS lien that was for about $12,000 in taxes and penalties from 2005 There was the 2008 mortgage default judgment on your home You just received your bachelor degree. As you said because it took you a decade to pay off the tuition The question then is how can voters? Rely upon your thoughts on To manage the deficit if you’re having such personal financial issues of your own well First of all that IRS tax lien the IRS already admitted that it was a computer error and my opponent should not be bringing that up because as I’ve gone up and down the campaign trail I’ve discovered that there are Thousands of Delawareans who are who who have faced the same thing an IRS mistake? Has caused them greatly which is all the more reason why we need to reform the IRS not put them in Control of our health care second of all you mentioned education. I don’t have a trust fund I didn’t come from a privileged sheltered background as my opponent says he did let my issue of paying bills a Finding I paid for my own college education. I also have a graduate fellowship in constitutional government from the Claremont Institute I know how hard it is to earn and keep a dollar and one of the reasons why the Delawareans should be able to trust me is because when I did in this economy, I worked for nonprofit groups Nonprofit groups were the first to have been hurt when I when I fell upon difficult times. I made the sacrifices Needed to set things, right? I sold my house and I sold a lot of my possessions in order to pay off my personal debt and to become in a Stronger position. I have worked hard in order to get to the position that I am so I can relate to The the thousands of Delaware families that are suffering right now and I’m stronger for it I made it through to the other side and that’s where leadership doesn’t count in whether or not you fall It counts and whether or not you’ve gotten up and that’s what I’ve done. But let’s just remember. We’re in the discussion portion So if you have anything that you want to address within that response where things that have been said on This topic thus far go for it Well Nancy, I frankly think that we need to focus in this debate this evening and in the campaign not on personal financial difficulties or background issues but really on the issues in front of us the things that delawarians are concerned about How do we tackle the deficit and debt? How do we get Delaware back to work? There’s been lots of discussion in the national media about things my opponent has said or done that I frankly think are distraction from the core issues that delawarians asked about ask both of us about your just I’m dying to see who’s going to premiere Chris Well, let’s on a serious note Let’s get through some of the accusations that she’d made and we’ll give you a chance to Respond that on the idea that somehow I was the one responsible for and being sued for creating 11:12 – she’s confusing me with my predator. We’re talking about as County Executive New Castle County Executive you raise property taxes According to reports three times 25 percent hike in the last fiscal year you proposed new taxes on hotels Paramedic services even 9-1-1 calls from cell phones. Is that true? No It’s not true that we proposed a tax on calls to the 911 center in any research into that would reveal that It’s difficult. It’s complicated but on Taxes, did you increase taxes as the county executive? Well, let me walk you through it for a moment. What’s happened? Because one of the attacks my opponents made repeatedly is that I’ve driven the county to the edge of bankruptcy That’s on her newest attack ad. Nothing could be further from the truth Today New Castle County has a surplus when I became executive in o-5 it had a deficit I have worked hard over six years to defend a very significant reserve which has made it possible for us to continue to have a Triple-a bond rating out of three thousand roughly three thousand counties in America roughly thirty have a triple-a bond rating and I reached a Bipartisan solution to stop that cut more in spending than was raised in a quick response of them. We’ll move you’ve been criticized for saying That you brought the county to a triple-a bond rating you inherited that good rating and how would you justify? cutting the tax exemption for low income seniors and disabled seniors cutting our policemen pay when you Wastefully spent so much money on appeasing the special interest groups You simply can’t justify that that is a career politician. That is cronyism We don’t need any more very quickly because we got to move to the next series of questions. You want to respond to that There’s a lot to respond to and do it in 30 seconds that’s going to be difficult. Well But I’ll tell you that I’m proud of my record is Newcastle County Executive the very hard choices that had to be made to clean up the government Every time you get bond rating you earned the bond rating MS O’Donnell’s not familiar with how bond ratings work each time you go to the bond market you are rear ated Moody’s in their letter of rating just two weeks ago said that it was because of the conservative fiscal policies of my Administration that we had re earned a triple-a bond rating from all three agencies alright Let’s move on to the next series of questions on national security foreign policy right now a hundred thousand American men and women are serving in the military in Afghanistan right now The President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai has now acknowledged. He’s in direct talks with the Taliban Leadership wants to create what he calls a peace Council here’s the question and it goes to mr. Coons would you support a negotiated settlement in Afghanistan that includes Taliban Representation would that be acceptable to you a deal between Hamid Karzai and the Tollan Taliban? well, if I’m concerned about the security of our troops in the field and about honoring the service and the sacrifice of our veterans the War in Afghanistan is the war of the two that we’ve been engaged in Iraq and Afghanistan That I think was justified by a direct attack on the United States by the Taliban who were offering harbor to al-qaeda Who were the authors of the 9/11 attack and I think in our tenth year now on the ground in Afghanistan? We have to look hard at whether we’re continuing to contribute to America’s security by having a hundred thousand troops on the ground I would support a Negotiated resolution to the war that allowed us to leave security and intelligence assets in place and that allowed us the opportunity To reengage should the Taliban take control again or allow al-qaeda to re-emerge as a real threat to the region or to the United States? We’ve spent 1.3 trillion dollars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It has significantly contributed to our debt We have lost within 5,000 American servicemen and women and I’ve got folks who I am personally close to who are deployed now for the third or fourth tour We have asked a lot of our men and women in the field They have delivered brilliantly, but frankly, the mission has exceeded the scope that I think we could initially reasonably expect of them I am far more concerned about the threats to our security posed by an unstable Pakistan posed by Iran and posed by an endless war in a Where we’re trying to build a nation where there really hasn’t been one in modern times. You have one minutes of response Well, I would ask him if he’s serious about making sure that Afghanistan doesn’t become a safe haven for terrorists Why on the campaign trail? He has said that he supports this random time withdrawal We have to support our men and women who are risking their lives many of them have already given their lives over there a random Withdraw that he has said his support will simply embolden the terrorists to come out After us even more saying I’ve chased away the super power when we withdraw from Iraq We need to make sure that there are benchmarks in place. Those benchmarks are making sure that there is a government that Representative government over there that serves the needs of the people and that can defend themselves When we’ve reached these benchmarks, that’s when we withdraw You want to respond to them? She said withdrawal from Iraq. I suspect you man withdrawn Did I say Iraq? I’m sorry. Thank you Chris if we’re talking about You know frankly I come from a family of veterans I come from a family that has dedicated a lot to the service of our nation and I wear a flag pin every day To remind me of the young man who grew up next door to me who was killed in Iraq in December of 2005 I never take lightly the enormous sacrifices that our servicemen and women have made now and that we ask them to continue making I Don’t know. How long is too long? but ten years strikes me as awfully long and I question whether your standard whether your principles give us any hope of winding up this war on any reasonable timeline because frankly the Government of Hamid Karzai has proven itself to be largely corrupt and to be frankly ineffective at establishing control over the whole country We are doing our best we have dedicated Trillions hundreds of billions of dollars to this conflict and I’m frankly deeply concerned that it’s a conflict without a reasonable end in sight there Are times in history the best way to honor the sacrifice of servicemen and women is to come up with a plan to? Responsibly wind down a conflict and that plan should be based on those benchmarks of benchmarks. That means that we have had success again You’re saying how Loretta Requin you’re you say that your top Priority is the concern for the safety of us on the homeland if you serious they support this random time withdrawal because again, All we’re gonna do is emboldened the terrorists to think that they have more power than they do and I would ask you You know a couple times whether it’s the tax cuts or even here in this kind of veiled You’ve gone back and forth in what you just said in Afghanistan Do you support the President or don’t you support the president with the tax cuts? You’re saying that you don’t support the president. You can tell it comes on Let’s stay focused on the issue in front of us, which is Afghanistan. You suggested Ghazi benchmarks no, we’re staying focused on the issue of Afghanistan rather the Core issue here is what reasonable prospect do you have for these Ghazi benchmarks and timelines you suggest to ever actually result in a withdrawal? In Iraq, there was a modern nation. There was a central government. There was infrastructure in place in Afghanistan There hasn’t been a nation in decades. And so despite our 10 years of incredible effort We are not succeeding in building a nation as you put it if the benchmark is self-governance stability security We had a decent shot at that in Iraq when we were fighting the Soviets over there in Afghanistan in the 80s and 90s We did not finish the job. So now we have a responsibility to finish the job And if you’re going to make these politically correct statements that it’s costing us too much money You are threatening the security out to wrap up this topic Let’s just get there real quickly and ask yes or no answer or is this nation more secure? Than it was under President Bush Yes or no. Yes today. Yes Okay, we’ll move on to our next topic and this question goes to mr. Don. Thank you. Can I say why we Really attack. We do need to move on. I know that we’ve said that The statements out in the national media of the Saturday Night Live skits are distractions. I appreciate that but to the voter in, Delaware It is the message that they are receiving so we would be remiss if we did not address this issue So the comments that you’ve made in the past which are in your own words because they’re on the videotape have become the fodder for the late-night TV shows you even released an ad that opened up by saying I am NOT a witch and A local newspaper columnist said that the comments that you have been seen to be making make delawarians cringe So what do you say to voters who want the change but are uncomfortable by these remarks? This election cycle should not be about comments I made on a comedy show over a decade and a half ago This election cycle should be about what is important to the people of Delaware how we’re going to get real jobs Back to Delaware how we’re going to get our economy back on track How we’re going to protect our senior citizens and safeguard our social security. These are the issues that Delawareans are concerned about You know as wolf you can attest. I have not welcomed this media attention. You’ve been asking for an interview for quite a long time my priority has been getting back to the Delaware voters meeting as many voters going to as many community forums as Possible so that we can counter these things my opponent has said that the the the statements that we made in our twenties should be off the table and After he made that statement Days later he started running ads in his own campaign materials He’s going back on his word using those statements to to misrepresent my character so again I thank you for the opportunity for the Delaware voters to get to know who I am and what I’m all about Because what I can assure them is why I made statements my my faith has matured over the years but regardless of my personal faith when I go down to Washington DC it is the Constitution that I will defend and it is by the Constitution by that I will make all of my decisions and that will be the standard-bearer for every piece of legislation That I will vote on Mr. Coons, you have a one-minute rebuttal. I Was surprised to see in the newspaper in an interview profile of both of us a MS O’Donnell statement pretty similar to what you just heard from her that she would not have her faith be a central a Driver of her decisions if elected and I’m interested if we can explore further your suggestion that the Constitution would be your guide because I’m interested in hearing whether it’s the Constitution as passed by the founders the Constitution of 19:20 19:30 the constitution of 1975 the Constitution of today because to me protecting a woman’s right to choose Protecting reproductive freedom and making sure that we’ve got on the record MS. Donald’s views on things like prayer abortion Evolution is important. These aren’t just random statements on some late-night TV show. These are relevant to her service the United States Senate What sort of judges she would confirm what sort of issues she would take up I am someone who stands firmly behind the Constitution as it stands today. I respect stare decisis The decided cases the case law that governs the United States Sorry, but let’s go to the issue of faith in politics because you were a student pastor at Yale You also said in an interview, once that you thought you would either end up a preacher a professor or a politician You’ve occasionally been a guest speaker at some of the churches here in our community Baptist churches Presbyterian churches to name a few So how much of an influence does this? Faith in your life have on your politics Faith is a central part of how my wife and I are raising our three children Of why we decide to do the community service and the outreach that we do but ours is a faith that we think is a general motivation towards public service towards trying to create a community that’s more tolerant inclusive and just and Towards the sort of forgiveness healing and Reconciliation that we think is the central message of our faith But I also think as someone who’s been elected 10 years I’ve learned to reach a balance where my private faith the aspects of my faith that are religious doctrine Don’t influence the decisions that I’ve made for the public in my 10 years in county office. Well Let’s get me give you a chance to respond to some of the things. She said because in a television appearance back in 1998 on Bill Maher’s show now you said evolution is a myth. Do you believe evolutionism myth I Believe that the local I was talking about. What a local school Taught and that should be taught that should be decided on the local community But please let me respond to what he just will let you respond But answer the question, do you know evolution is a myth local local schools should make that decision. I made that remark base What do you do? What do you believe what I believe is irrelevant? because what is warmer would be what I will support in Washington DC is the Ability for the local school system to decide what is taught in their in their classrooms and what I was about on that show Was a classroom that was not allowed to teach creationism as an equal theory as evolution. That is Against their constitutional rights and that is is an overreaching arm of the government But please allow me at least the full minute to respond to what he said because he said these statements that we made Should be taken into consideration When casting your your vote so then I would be remiss not to bring up the fact that my opponent has recently Said that it was studying under a Marxist professor that made him become a Democrat So when you look at his position on things like raising taxes Which is one of the tenets of Marxism not supporting eliminating the death tax which is a tenet of Marxism I would argue that there are more people who support my Catholic faith faith in his Marxist beliefs And I’m using his own words but we’re gonna we’re in a Clara because a lot of people Remember because they’ve learned in the last few weeks You did once describe yourself when you were in college a long time ago as a bearded Marxist great question wolf I hope folks will go and read the article It’s an article that I wrote as a senior the day of our commencement speech and the title and the content of that Clearly makes it obvious that it was a joke there was a group of folks who I had shared a room with my roommates junior year who were in the young Republican Club and Who thought when I returned from Kenya and registered as a Democrat? That doing so was proof that I’d gone all the way over to the far left end And so they jokingly called me a bearded Marxist If you take five minutes and read the article, it’s clear on the face of it it was a joke despite that my opponent and lots of folks in the right-wing media have endlessly spun this I am not now nor Have I ever been anything but a clean shaven capitalist? Well, I would I would I would stand to Disagree because first of all, if you’re saying what I said on a comedy show is relevant to this election then absolutely you writing an article forget the beer dismiss comment you writing an article saying that you learned your beliefs from an articulate intelligent Marxist professor and that’s what made you come a Democrat. That should send chills up the spine of every Delaware voter because then if you compare That’s different If it were true, I’d agree You said that is the only issue that you brought up about being schools and and this this goes to you first, mr Coons and this is and the issue of education in our country and in many public school districts all across America as they’re trying to get in accountability in the classroom It is very difficult to dismiss an underperforming teacher because of the stringent Contracts that have been negotiated with the individual school districts and teacher unions. So do you feel that teacher unions are too powerful? Nancy one of the things that I’ve Complimented both Delaware’s teachers and Delaware’s governor for is their remarkable progress under the race to the top program One of I think the best parts of the obama-biden Administration’s progress on education. I like both the process and the outcome. They set a very high bar They offered a federal pot of money that was available For those states that were willing to make significant changes in Delaware and Tennessee were two states that made that progress Delaware’s teachers union the DSCA came to the table and with the leadership of governor Markell made significant changes Things that a lot of folks predicted they wouldn’t do To embrace charters and to make them more powerful to make it possible for schools that are underperforming To be shut down or restructured and to change a system So that teacher compensation could be tied towards improvement by students in the classroom I think our teachers deserve our support and I think our teachers have a long tradition of contributing significantly Not just to educating our children but to building a stronger and better community my own mother and grandmother were school teachers and I deeply respect the hard work that they Do earlier today I was at Isenberg School In Newcastle because this is National School Lunch week the work that our teachers do the work that’s done in early education From head start to full-day kindergarten through K through 12 education the work that’s done here and at other great public universities around the state and country is critical to laying the groundwork for our future and I have no problem with recognizing that the folks who do the hard work the teachers and the Paraprofessionals are entitled to a good standard of living are entitled to be able to live A life where they have health care. They have a pension and they have job security I do think there are issues that we have to tackle and I think race to the top made significant progress in them in Making sure that our schools are performing as best they can you notice, he didn’t answer the question as to whether or not he thought the teachers unions were too powerful and that’s probably because he got Their endorsement I would say that what we need to do especially here in Delaware where we spend so much money on education It ends up going to the six-figure salaries of our bureaucrats and our superintendents not to the teachers in the classroom It’s it’s appalling that in a state where we spend so much federal and state dollars on education Good teachers who want to get extra materials have to do so out of their pocket. I’ve met many teachers I’ve sat down with them and talked to them about their concerns with race from the top and whether they’re Democrat or Republican A lot of them express that we are not spending our education dollars appropriately We are not helping the classroom and what’s going to happen when this race to the top funding dries up We have a broken system, especially in Wilmington where I live we have an extremely high dropout rate Throwing more money on a broken system is not going to work instead What we need to do is sit down and have conversations with the teachers not the unions about what they need us to do help them in their cut over the years a number of Conservatives have proposed eliminating the Department of Education in Washington do you support? Eliminating the Department of Education. I don’t think that we need to go to that drastic of a step But there as I said senator Coburn has released a report that shows where millions of dollars in Department Department of Education money has been Abused that’s the kind of stuff we have to stop We also have to make sure that the money we are putting in to education does go to the classroom and make them More effective. That’s something that we’re ignoring every time that there’s a problem We just throw more money in it to appease the special interest groups. We’re not getting to the root of the problem And that’s what we need to do start getting to the root of the problem which means talking to the teachers and not only that Putting the power back to the parents over where they send their children to school in a recent survey of 30 industrialized country the United States ranked 25th in math 21st in science Finland was first in in math, South Korea was first in science specifically What would you do to make the United States number one once again in math and science? Great question and as someone who spent 20 years working with a non-profit foundation The I have a dream foundation that raises money from private individuals and helps provide scholarships for students for teachers and for a college education I’ve been hands-on and engaged with some of the toughest schools in America and some teachers who are significantly Under supported by their districts and who needed additional resources to deliver on the promise of an effective education I think there’s a significant role though for the federal government in providing financial support and encouragement Scholarships for those teachers in sta, and science and technology and engineering and math We need a new generation of teachers who are fully prepared fully qualified to engage their students in the classroom To use the latest teaching tools and media to teach to the standards that No Child Left Behind established and that need to be modernized and made more flexible and responsive and we frankly need to use Collaborative learning techniques. I’m sorry, but we’re tired of keeping here. I’ll give you a very quick chance to respond What would you do specifically to make the United States number one again? What I would say to improve our education we have to empower the teachers To do what they need to do to be more effective. They’re the ones on the first line of defense they’re the ones who have the most influence over our Students but we also have to empower the parents. So I support charter schools and I support Student vouchers or school vouchers so that it gives parents regardless of income regardless of status and opportunity for their students to have a shot at a great education until our public schools do improve let’s switch gears and talk about health care Which is such an important issue to millions and millions of Americans Right now under the new health care law that was recently signed into law by the president Children now can stay on their parent’s insurance policies until the age of 26 People can no longer be denied coverage for pre-existing conditions insurers the big insurance companies are prohibited from Rescinding coverage if a customer becomes sick and they can’t impose any lifetime limits on Essential benefits like hospital stays or expensive treatments you say you want to repeal all of that Well, first of all, no one’s disputing that our health care system before Obamacare didn’t need reform Those are very important things that are part of Insurance reform not health care reform in the course of the public debate over health care reform We’ve begun to confuse coverage with care Our goal should be to make health care more affordable even with Obamacare Our most vulnerable in Delaware are still left Uninsured and still left without access to quality health care when we passed Obamacare We were promised that it would make more people insured well recent CBO reports say that it’s not it’s it’s actually Causing businesses to drop their policies because compliance standards are so high Our laws especially when it comes to health care should not force businesses to break our laws second of all, we were promised that More people that that healthcare costs would be lowered It hasn’t it has increased health care cost according to recent reports So what I want to do is to fight to fully repeal that so that we can begin to enact real reform and that real reform would include allowing policy portability when you change jobs allowing Delawareans to get Policies across state lines right now. We only have three options That’s not right and I would also fight for some sort of tort reform that allowed Doctors to not have to worry and practice medicine to prepare for the courtroom as opposed to the examination room But at the same time this tort reform has to protect those patients who are victims of true medical malpractice you have one minute to respond so much to say I support the implementation of the Affordable Care Act I think it made significant advances and you outlined many of them but there’s additional Investments in the bill to make sure that there is a breadth of coverage to rural areas Through Health Services Corps by recruiting and training a whole new generation of doctors and nurses By expanding support for community health centers and by also improving the efficiency of our health care system It makes a landmark investment of 350 million dollars over a decade to try and fight waste fraud and abuse and to increase those savings and there were Strategic investments in electronic medical systems that would allow electronic medical records to reduce injuries to patients mistaken diagnosis and mistaken Treatments all of these in combination I think argue for extending perfecting and implementing this landmark bill It’s not perfect. There’s problems with it But I think rather than turning it back and repealing and going for another year or two of endless partisan bickering This was a critical piece of legislation Not a pretty pop process that passed it, but I would stand for it and implement it responsible Well, we’re now into the part of the discussion on it. So let me just ask you that the issue was brought up about malpractice reform and Democrats are often accused of being too close to trial lawyers and Republicans say that’s why that there has not been The opportunity for reform in this area and why it was not included in the health care bill if you were elected Would you work to amend that bill to include malpractice reform? I think it is critical that folks in this country be able to stand up to and take on powerful interests and where individuals are harmed that they’re able to go into court and to seek redress whether they’re harmed by someone who misled them in a securities investment a product that they purchased that hurt them because it wasn’t designed or delivered right or a Medical procedure that went horribly wrong. I don’t support putting caps on liability because I frankly think in our current system It is only the threat of a significant recovery that allows protection for consumers for patients for investors I frankly think that’s an important part of the American legal system I do think as I just mentioned there’s significant advances in this bill that allow us to make healthcare safer Stronger more transparent and if I’ve got a major concern about this bill It’s that we’re going to reduce costs without squelching innovation Delaware in this country has made incredible advance. It is discussion Okay, that’s what I was trying to okay first of all You say that you’re concerned about reducing costs But reports have showed that this health care bill has caused costs to skyrocket Second of all you say that it was no what report say that it’s partisan victory But one out of four Democrats have gone on record saying that they oppose Obamacare They’ve realized that we made a bad mistake and what this bill does Is it gives a massive general for control over? How secare? there’s no business coming in the Examination room coming between you and your doctor and that’s exactly if some concrete example of how that’s a great slogan You toss it around everywhere you go. But how does this bill actually put Uncle Sam in the examination room? what kind of and if so why did the organization that fights for and represents America’s nurses America’s seniors America’s hospitals and America’s doctors all Endorsed and in support as many of those branches on the state level Including here in Delaware have said that we don’t support what the national office has done it gives the government the ability to say what kind of Treatment a doctor can and can’t do what kind it will fund it forces businesses to have to Comply to these standards where many businesses especially here in Delaware have said that they can’t afford to it and it’s cheaper to pay Donald the State chain, it’s hard. So cut this this that health care bill has cut Let’s get his point out because we’re down into the last 30 seconds of this discussion I was just gonna say the State Chamber of Commerce and Christiana Care hosted a debate earlier today I was sorry you chose not to join us It would have been great to hear the response of the physicians and the nurses and the hospital administrators to you’re suggesting that they didn’t Support a bill they lobbied for I just I want to be precise on this specific health care related issue you oppose the government mandating that Everyone must purchase health insurance. Is that right? Yes, because we’re confusing coverage with care. Our goal needs to be to make health care affordable Well, here’s the question let’s say someone decides not to purchase health insurance makes that conscientious decision even though this person Can’t afford to buy health insurance, but decides doesn’t want to this person gets critically ill is rushed to an emergency room Should we people who pay for health insurance? Provide him or her with that kind of treatment or should we kick him out of the emergency room said you made Decision, you’re not gonna get this kind of treatment If we do the things that I said that will help to address that I’m proposing that will help to address the issue of healthcare Then that person can afford to buy a catastrophic only policy from across state lines They’ll be able to what if that person doesn’t want to buy it Well, then we should take care of that person in order to address that would we all of us? Anything that they do when they have another bill that they can’t pay make them pay it hold them accountable for that before right now Right now well, that’s up to the hospital But right now we’re forcing them to we’re forcing them that they have to give care to illegal aliens So this is something that we’re already doing what I’m proposing. You’re also talking about a very small hypothetical using scare tactics to make people support this health care bill what I’m Proposing and the healthcare reforms that I’m proposing will help address those situations and help alleviate those situations Nobody should be forced to pay for anyone else’s health care and that’s what Obamacare is doing And that’s what’s happening today before the health care reform bill passed All of us who have health insurance who have health coverage have been bearing the costs paying the freight For those who don’t have insurance and who don’t have coverage. They’re getting health care through emergency rooms now, that’s partly why small businesses? employers like Newcastle County have faced Double-digit increases in our insurance costs year after year after year because that’s how we provide care now. It’s inefficient it’s inhumane and it’s not effective we have to Let’s move on to immigration right now and this question will be from mr. Coons a pathway to Citizenship for illegal immigrants you support that right? No, I support a pathway to being here legally and let me take a moment if I was that your whole question well, the question is what is your position on a pathway to citizenship citizenship for illegal immigrants We’ve got roughly 12 million illegal immigrants in the United States today This is a huge problem and immigration is a federal responsibility And I think we should look to the federal government to step up and fix it The federal government has failed states like Arizona like Delaware like many, but we need to recognize the situation We’re in there are whole industries that rely on the labor of those who are here illegally and there is a long tradition of failing to deliver the border security that our country needs The current administration has stepped up and invested millions of dollars in additional troops and additional services additional support at the border my path forward on immigration would be Strengthen the borders make it much tougher for folks to come here illegally and increase the penalties when they do second hold employers accountable Particularly those who routinely employ folks who are here illegally by giving them real ID that can work that is much more difficult to counterfeit and then holding them accountable if they repeatedly violate that by employing those Who are here illegally and then allow those who are here illegally and do not commit further crimes To come out of the shadows if they will pay taxes learn English Pay a fine say I committed a crime and pay a fine and go to the back of the line behind those who applied to Come here. Legally. I would give them a path towards legal residents. I think there’s more they’d have to do to ever earn citizenship I Respect the tradition of those who go and serve our nation overseas for example being offered a chance at citizenship But in my view the pathway I’m suggesting is one towards legal residents I want to see us focus our resources law enforcement resources on Finding and deporting those who pose a real threat to our community as someone responsible for a County Police Department I’ve seen over and over Instances where neighborhoods are threatened by people who are here Illegally and where the IC e does not have the resources to deport them when we deliver them to them That should be our top priority again He’s backtracking on things that he has said earlier on the campaign trail and I would ask you when you say that you support border enforcement this Administration recently stopped the efforts to put a virtual fence on our border When Barack Obama is standing with you on the campaign trail this Friday. You’re gonna tell him that you disagree with him on his immigration reform efforts I believe however that Securing our borders should be our first priority Before we get into any discussion of whether we’re going to give social security benefits to illegal aliens America is a Magnet for those all over the country who do believe or all over the world who do believe that America? Does stand as a beacon of hope and justice for the world and therefore I support a legal pathway? To those who are coming over here especially for political asylum to seek a better life than they do in our country and to reward those who break our laws is to cheat those who honor them and this is not a message that our federal into the discussion portion of it because you say that you Agreed to the pathway to citizenship citizenship for legal, but you don’t want to provide amnesty I don’t want to provide amnesty but one without the other because what I’m saying is we have to get rid of all the bureaucratic Messes that make the legal pathway difficult But when someone willingly breaks our laws that sends a message that don’t worry about the laws that we’ve set up Don’t worry about those who are on long waiting lists for political asylum break our laws and will grant you these benefits It’s sending the wrong message. It’s economically hurting us and it’s also a national security issue So Donald, but I do support responsible work I do respond I do support responsible guest worker programs. And that’s the difference if you can reconcile all those comments You’re an even more talented reporter than I think you are Nancy One of the challenges that we face is getting past the endless bickering and the partisan divide on this Senator John McCain was someone who before this election cycle had been a real advocate for working with the business community working with Democrats and Congress to find a path forward as the years and years have rolled by the number of folks who are here illegally and who pose real threats to our community continue to Grow and we are not taking the actions We need to take to separate those who are willing to pay a fine to accept responsibility for coming here illegally and to begin paying taxes and Contributing to our community and the benefits that they’re earning I would rather have us begin to provide a path so that those who are here illegally all stand up and take responsibility For that or are deported. That way we can make progress Well, he just took a hard-line position again I would ask you to who are you gonna tell President Obama that that you disagree with him? And you think that illegal aliens should be deported but we have to keep in mind that When we try to M nasty in the 80s if backfired it only increased the problem So we’ve got to address the issue of securing our borders and this is something that President Obama’s administration stopped this year we’ve got to secure our borders first and then begin the discussion on guest worker programs and how to Eliminate some of the bureaucracies that keep the legal pathway to citizenship so difficult We’re gonna get to student questions in a moment We’re gonna get to another question that I have, but I just want to clarify one thing on the national security front on China Which is a huge issue right now in 2006 and correct me if I’m wrong you said that China has quote a carefully thought-out and Strategic plan to take over America and if they pretend to be our friend it’s because they’ve got something up their sleeve You also said you wish you weren’t privy to some of the classified information I am privy to I’d like if possible for you to clarify what you been Well, first of all I was talking about when I was working with the humanitarian group that was going to China We are given some security briefs about China’s position with some potentially Hostile nations and some security threats that my clients would be facing But we do have to look at China very seriously because we owned so they own so much of our debt it Prohibits a lot of decisions that we need to make in regard to our foreign policy. Number one is Iran with nuclear weapons China stands in a big way they’re these gasoline Sanctions that we have are not as for enforced as strictly as they could be because we have allies like France and Italy Participating in the gasoline embargo, but then China comes in and swoops up all that business We need to be putting sanctions on those Chinese companies Because right now when it comes around getting nuclear weapons is our biggest threat to our national security And when we go to China and we say please stop these companies They probably smirk because we’re not economically in a position to really hold them to that China could be a bigger ally with us in North Korea But they’re not they’re not putting the pressure on North Korea that they could so first of all We have got to tackle that national debt We’ve got to stop these things like these these reckless spending bills coming from Washington that only contribute to to further our national debt Because it is putting a pass on the specific quote that you said that China has a plan to take over America Do you know about this plan? Well, they misquoting me at the time I believe but look at what’s going on right now Monetarily China could take us up over monetarily before they could Militarily you want to quickly respond? Because I know that we want to get to the students questions It’s hard for me to respond effectively Well to all the different issues that my opponents raised in previous statements and I’ll just let that stand. I don’t have any classified information about China or its plans But what I think we really need to focus on in this debate on this particular question is the steady degradation of our security posture in the Pacific Rim the Australian Navy engaged in joint exercises with the Chinese and Specifically excluded us recently a dramatic shift in the Australian policy And as the Chinese have become economically stronger, they are seeking to become militarily stronger They’re pushing the envelope on issues from Taiwan to trade to intellectual property It is a profound threat not just to the vitality of our economy and our innovation and our manufacturing businesses But also to our safety and security to have widespread Counterfeiting of everything from pharmaceuticals to aircraft parts to garments going on in China without our standing up and fighting against the addict in trade war We’re out of time at this. Are you saying that China? we’re gonna close out this conversation and move on to the student questions because we do want to involve the University of Delaware students and First up. We have a question from a student who brings us the issue of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell I Was wondering if you’re planning on bringing it back up the issue of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell as possible appeal? Mr. Coons your response one minute. I would move swiftly as a senator to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell I think it is discrimination plain and simple I’ve met with and spoken to veterans here in Delaware who served our nation honorably for decades several with top-secret clearances But who could do so on? At the expense of denying who they were and the relationships that they wanted to have in my view we should be making progress in this country towards recognizing the full range of human experience and Repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell to me is an important next step in the civil rights movement a Federal judge recently ruled that we had to overturn Don’t Ask Don’t Tell there are a couple things we need to say about that first Of all judges should not be legislating from the bench second of all it’s up to the military to set the policy that the military believes is in the best interest of unit cohesiveness and military readiness the Military already regulates personal behavior in that. It doesn’t allow affairs to go on within your Chain of command it doesn’t allow if you’re married to have an adulterous affair within the military so the military already regulates personal behavior because it feels that it is in the best interest of our military readiness I don’t think that Congress should be forcing a social agenda onto our military Think we should leave that to the military to decide. We have another student question on the issue of embryonic stem-cell research and this Comes what are your view on the federal allocation of funds used for stem-cell research. I Would support stem-cell research and I we’re talking about embryonic stem cell, correct? I would support federal funding for medical research that includes embryonic stem cell research I think there are critical advances that are being made and can be made in addressing some of the most difficult Diseases that affect millions of Americans and I frankly think if it is possible to do so we ought to be investing in making progress in this critical area of research I think if we took an intellectually honest look at the research that’s been put out there. You will see that there’s Incredible advances with adult stem cell research not as much with embryonic stem cell research So that’s where this were on the private sector that’s where investors would be putting their money Second of all the government the federal government should not be in the business of creating Life simply to destroy it when it comes to the issue of so-called medical waste I would point to a program called the snowflake babies where they’ve had incredible success adopting these human embryos that are going to be discarded for medical waste where they’ve given millions or I’m sorry hundreds and potentially thousands Infertile couples the opportunity to have babies. It’s the snowflake program It’s a wonderful program and I suggest everyone take a look at it. Our next student question brings us the issue of abortion What is your stance on abortion including in cases of rape and incest I believe that there’s been a profound loss of respect for the dignity of human life and that’s reflected in a lot of our policies whether it’s Cutting tax exemptions for disabled low income citizens in New Castle County or with abortion I respect the the human dignity on all levels the unrepeatable precious human dignity on all levels in My opponent and others will use the scare tactic about rape And incest when that is less than 1% of all abortions performed in America. Mr. Koontz I strongly support a woman’s right to choose. It is settled constitutional law. It is an important part of our nation and it’s freedoms I personally am opposed to abortion But I don’t think it is my place to put that view on women. I think abortion should be safe legal and rare Let’s get into some of these issues and then we’ll go back and get some more students questions on the issues of gays serving openly In the United States military almost all the NATO allies allow gays to serve openly in the military Israel which has a fine military as you know allows gays to serve openly in the military Why specifically do you believe gays should not be allowed to serve openly in our military because it’s a military Policy that our military set forth. It’s the same thing as I said in my remarks about Adultery not being allowed in the military. It’s a military policy that they regulate because they believe that is in the best interest of unit cohesiveness and our effective military So if the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff says he believes gays should be allowed to serve in the military Would that be good enough for you if all? Foreheads, if the heads of all four branches of the military said that then it would be up to them not me as a u.s Senator to impose my social agenda whether it’s for or against don’t asked us. Well, what about that? What if the chairman of the army the Navy the Air Force and the Marine Corps the respective chairman said you know what? We’ll do whatever the commander-in-chief tells us to do, but we don’t think it’s a good idea because of these issues that that mr Donnell raises unit cohesion And and those other issues. Well, what would you say that one of my real heroes? He’s Harry Truman Harry Truman made a very difficult decision to compel the racial integration of the United States Armed Forces At a point when most of the leadership most of the generals said for exactly the same sorts of reasons unit cohesion Performance in the battlefield we should not have a racially integrated military. That was a brave decision It was an important decision and the ultimate long-term impact has made our United States military one of the most progressive in terms of promotion advancement opportunities for racial minorities of any Organization in our country as you said earlier Most of our NATO allies have long ago realized that we are giving up on the service of thousands of potential volunteers who could be serving our nation at home and abroad I Don’t think it makes any sense because of a narrow social agenda to continue to exclude them from open service in our military our next question we’re going to We don’t we’re not necessarily going to open discussion on that right now because we want to get the student questions in our next student question comes on the issue of campaign finance reform What is your position on campaign finance reform and what is your reaction to the recent Supreme Court ruling Allowing corporations to donate to political campaigns Mr. Coons your first one minute I think the Citizens United decision the decision to which the students referring Was an unfortunate and ill decided decision one that opens the floodgates to increased corporate contributions, that could have the unintended Consequence I think unintended in the decision of significantly distorting our electoral process here in the United States and I would support reforms that further disclose who’s behind these shadowy groups whether Individuals or corporations that are trying to influence our elections by pouring money into it sunshine is the best Disinfectant and in politics it is best for us to disclose as fully and as broadly as possible who’s making contributions And yet the legislative efforts to do exactly that have failed to do that. The disclose act that You know Harry Reid, which he’s called my opponent his pet has put out there to do just that has exempt the major corporations from disclosing it instead what these efforts do is only serve to infringe on the First Amendment right of private citizens I’ll use my own campaign as an example from our FEC reports. My supporters have been getting harassing phone calls not just from Reporters, but from all kinds of people who oppose my candidacy they’re using intimidation Tactics because we are forced to disclose who is contributing to my campaign so this this so-called campaign finance or finance reform is Is exempting the corporations whether on the left or the right? It’s those who are in Washington already those who are over 10 years old who have over a half a million members and who are already playing playing in the backroom deals so this is a misguided do the American people have a right to know where all this money in these campaigns is coming from Yes, and no, I believe that there are ways to do that where we can report to the FEC But we don’t have to make them public unless there’s a question of corruption and then that would prevent a lot of the harassment that my supporters are getting that would prevent a lot of the discussion about our First Amendment rights We can disclose that to the FEC but they don’t have to put it up on a website that makes anyone vulnerable to further fundraising calls I mean over and over that’s a repeated violation in many campaigns not my own But even my own party has said go look on someone’s FEC a report and call them up for a donation and I’ve said absolutely not that’s against the law So these so-called disclosure attempts are being abused. I Just there’s so much there wolf. I don’t know Frankly, I support full disclosure of campaign contributions as I said before I think it is the best way to ensure that we’ve got fair open and clean campaigns folks should know Who the folks are who are contributing to campaigns? It’s an important way to hold candidates and elected officials accountable We have another student question on the sensitive issue of religion in America and the light of the events in the past decade Islam has been viewed as a religion for Extremists and terrorists where Muslims including myself can attest that Islam is far from that now recently There’s been much controversy over the mosque being built in the vicinity of Ground Zero and also the Florida pastor making outrageous Remarks about the Koran now my question to you is as Senator Where is the line between the freedom of speech and the respect of other religions? Both of which freedoms are found in the First Amendment of the Constitution Mr. Cruz a Great question and a difficult one the Florida pastor who caused a lot of outrage by threatening to burn the Koran showed a profound misunderstanding of the difference between The Islamic terrorists the extremists who genuinely attacked America and I think deserve our condemnation and the vast majority of Muslims who participate in a religion whose fundamental principle is commitment to peace and to embracing the rest of humanity if that Florida pastor wanted to make the right point he should Have threatened to burn the readings and the teachings of Osama bin Laden or of other folks who are part of the Islamist extremist groups It is an important challenge a key role for the United States Supreme Court to continue to draw the line in the First Amendment between those who would do the equivalent of calling fire in a crowded theater who would be inciting to attack and right such as the sama bin Laden has in some Extremist and hateful writings and those who have Scripture religious traditions that are deserving and worthy of broad support Those are difficult lines to police and that’s a central world that the Supreme Court plays in our democracy Well, I would agree. The Supreme Court has said that there are restrictions on our First Amendment rights again, you know You can’t as you said go into a crowded theater and yell fire. You can’t stand up on a plane and yell. Hijack You can’t slander and libel someone however where the question has come Between what is protected free speech and what not has what has not protected free. Speech the Supreme Court has always ruled that the Communities the local community has the right to decide and in the issue with the 9/11 mosque That’s exactly where the battle is being fought by the community members who were impacted by that and I support that but this immunity the community members have at least the City Council the mayor and the representatives the elected representatives support this this mosque community center that’s supposed to be built near nine and a lot of the people on the ground do not and they’re gonna have a lot to face from their constituents and maybe the reelection is even going to be Jeopardized should this cultural center and mosque near 9/11 be built. There’s already cultures There’s already mosques in many locations in Manhattan And as you mentioned I would defer to the decision of the local land use authorities the folks who were elected by that community To make decisions about where when and how things ought to be built I don’t think it was a wise choice of location But I can’t stand here and say that we should prevent folks from practicing their religion Anywhere in the United States to say that we will say you can’t build a mosque here violates one of our most fundamental principles well We’ve talked about the Supreme Court and obviously United States Senator has the opportunity to determine in a way the makeup of that court so what opinions of late that have come from our High Court do you most object to oh Gosh give me a specific one. I’m sorry. Actually, I can’t because the I need you to tell me which one’s you object to I’m very sorry right off the top of my head I know that there are a lot but I’ll put it up on my website. I promise you Well, we know you disagree with Roe versus Wade. Yeah, but that was she said a recent one instead of late. Yeah Well, Roe versus Wade would not put the power. It’s not it’s 30-some other Supreme Court decision But let me say about Roe versus Wade, Roe versus Wade If that were overturned would not make abortion illegal in the United States It would put the power back to the states. But besides that decision anything else you disagree with Oh, there are several when it comes to pornography when it comes to court decisions To not just Supreme Court, but federal court decisions to give terrorists Mirandized rights I mean there’s a lot of things that I believe that this this California decision to overturn Don’t Ask Don’t Tell I believe that there are a lot of federal judges, who are Legislating that wasn’t the Supreme Court. So that was a federal judge said in, California Which Supreme Court decisions if any do you do do you? Disagree with the most recent one that I’ve been engaged and we’ve talked about it says United I think the Citizens United case takes a sort of logical extension in the law, but takes it to a ridiculous extreme Corporations really aren’t entitled to the same free speech rights in my view as people And in Delaware America’s corporate capital you would think we would be fighting for the rights of corporations But in terms of political contributions the free speech rights of corporations I don’t think deserve the same protections as the free speech rights of real living breathing voting humans and so I would disagree with that decision and I would act to try and find ways to limit it and narrow it or even Overturn it anything else. That’s the most importantly Let’s take another question from a student on energy right now My question is where do you think funding should be placed in order to move towards the United States decreasing its carbon footprint? Mr. Koontz, well the most effective investment in reducing emissions Of co2 and other things that cause greenhouse gas warming is energy efficiency and conservation there was a significant investment in the stimulus bill in getting Municipalities local governments of the private sector to invest in efficiency and conservation and those are investments that reduce emissions Put people to work and can develop cutting-edge technologies that make our systems Operate better and to reduce not just the emissions, but also the operating expenses in Newcastle County we took three point eight million dollars in EE CBG grants and combined it with four million dollars of our own and Retrofit 20 County buildings. We reduced our operating costs we reduced our emissions and we ultimately put folks to work here in our own community as You look at those kinds of investments around the country. They’re the most important They’re the they have the most impact of anything. You can do that will actually reduce greenhouse gas emissions There’s many more things we need to do to improve the efficiency of operation of entire power plants. Excuse me well I think the best way to address that that is most relevant to this US Senate race is to talk about the issue of cap-and-trade Because the winner of this US Senate race can be immediately sworn in and servant in Harry Reid’s lame-duck session and vote on cap-and-trade Well, I do believe that we have to be good stewards of this earth We don’t need to do it at the expense of our citizens and cap-and-trade will do that I whether it’s farmers senior citizens or realtor’s who are concerned about its green compliance standards Nobody wants this bill this bill is a national energy tax that will ration energy use and Increase our utility bills senior citizens are concerned about the cost of the their utility bills going up farmers are concerned about the green compliance standards and the raised utility bills shutting down their operations and Realtors are concerned about the green compliance standards hurting an already hurting housing market, but I would have to ask my opponent speaking of cap and trade your family business stand to financially benefit from some environmental legislation under under Bush The minute let’s toss this to your business a fascinating question. That really makes no sense yet. So if you’d like to What’s he talking about I’d like to know if your family business stands to have a financial gain of cap-and-trade has passed and if so, Would you recuse yourself in the lame-duck session from voting with Harry Reid a fascinating question? No to the best of my knowledge There is no direct financial benefit and I do think it’s important for folks in public office to conduct themselves Ethically to be transparent and to be accountable for decisions they make and for votes that they cast I Am someone who thinks that greenhouse gases are a concern or a problem for the long term and I think we need to take steps To rein them in and to deal with the environmental consequences that they might present. Well, let me ask Miss O’Donnell what evidence do you have that any family business that he has? Would stand to gain from a cap-and-trade because they make fuel cells whose very good WL Gore they Make some of the stuff that will be required by these businesses to regulate cap-and-trade. So It’s not truth. That’s quite a stretch Gore makes over a thousand products it was difficult for me to understand from her question what she was talking about Gore is a company that makes lots and lots of products from implantable medical devices to dental floss to some Membranes that are component parts that go into systems that go into fuel cells Fuel cells are not currently fielded broadly in the United States It’s a cutting edge technology that someday has the promise of being a significant contributor to making a more energy efficient cleaner transportation future but to me the impact is so distant from any particular proposal on cap-and-trade It took a couple minutes to even understand what I was talking about on this issue of energy Let’s just wrap up this section section with this yesterday the Obama administration announced it was lifting the moratorium on deepwater oil Drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. Do you support this kind of offshore oil drilling? well that that has raised the issue of whether or not we supported here in Delaware because that Moved by Obama would allow that. No, I don’t want to say oil rigs off the state of Delaware. However It should be up to the states to decide and if governor Markell and our state legislatures in Dover were to pass legislation For that then but I shouldn’t as a congressman Over stepa states rights, Virginia wants it Not only that we have got to begin to wean ourselves off of foreign oil We are dependent on Potentially hostile countries like Russia and Venezuela while our own homeland is rich with natural resources Whether it’s oil or natural gas and there are states that do want to begin exploration, Alaska, Virginia We as a government need to support those states who do want it you agree or disagree? I Opposed the president’s proposal to open the Outer Continental Shelf off of Delaware to oil drilling when it was first made months ago I frankly think that Delaware’s world-class beaches shouldn’t be at risk of being spoiled by oil spills We depend on tourism on our fisheries. There’s lots of reasons I think why it just doesn’t make sense for most of the Atlantic coast I do think there are natural energy resources in this country We can and should beginning begin to explore it more fully But I’d also prioritize investments in alternative energy technologies The University of Delaware has long been a world leader in solar power for example and has a key role to play in making wind power real offshore wind power solar power These are the sorts of areas where I’d prefer to see federal investment and new innovative opportunities. That could create good jobs for the long-term Let’s move time to throw in one more issue here where we go to closing statements We are kind of drawing down on time. And this is an issue that I think that can really illustrate the differences perhaps between the two of you and that is what specifically would you and could you do to actually help and Any of the bitter partisan bipartisan? Non-partisanship in Washington. So what would you be able to do as an individual once you arrive in, Washington? Well, I’ve had to fight my party to be here on this stage to win the nomination in to some extent I am still fighting my party. So my when I go to Washington, my allegiance will be to the voters of Delaware not any special interests My whole campaign has been about returning the political process Back to the people of Delaware and to me that’s a great thing So what I would do is I would stand strong on legislation that benefits The interest of our citizens not the special interests in Washington DC and I would stand there and not just vote against a piece of legislation, but make the floor speeches that would try to convince my colleagues on both sides of the aisle who’ve lost their way and given into partisanship so much that it has caused several stalemates as to why this is in the best interest of their Constituents and I would stand firm Regardless of what kind of pressure was on me from either party to stand firm and doing what is right for the people of Delaware Not the interests in Washington. I Frankly don’t think my opponent can or has pointed to one single Example where she supports the current administration or an initiative of the Democratic Party I have a real practical record of having reached bipartisan solutions here in county government of Working with the elected Republicans who’ve served with me on County Council and on council while I’ve been County Executive I’ve got a real hands-on record here in the private sector and in my service and partnership with the private sector of Reaching out to folks from different political backgrounds from different experiences and from different worldviews to work with them to find solutions I think that’s the kind of record that Delawareans will look at in judging whether or not I’ve got the capacity to address some of this endless parties on this specific issue And mrs. O’Donnell raised it earlier. I’ll give you a chance to clarify to explain She says that Harry Reid the Senate Majority Leader has called you his pet I don’t know why Harry Reid said that I’m nobody’s pet. I’m going to be a bulldog for Delaware I’m running to represent all Delawareans of whatever party not just the Democrats and I’ve got a significant amount of support from independents from Republicans from Democrats from all three counties I’ve got a record of independence and of fighting for the public interest as County Executive and I would continue that in Washington and just to clarify another point From earlier just to make sure we tie this up earlier. You said you didn’t want to have to talk about Comments you made years ago about witchcraft and stuff like that But in this commercial, that’s so widely seen you begin the commercial with the words. I am NOT a witch What were you thinking to put it to rest to put it but didn’t you realize if you do that in a commercial it would Just revive it and everybody would be talking about that. Well, we’re moving past that we’re talking about the issues I’d like to what address what my opponent just said about being a bulldog for delaware yet in a fundraising letter He promises to support the read obama pelosi agenda lockstep and barrel. That’s not non-partisanship and again Why are the why is the Democratic Party pulling out all the stops to get him elected because they see him as a rubber stamp for their agenda there are many things that I have publicly said that I support the Obama administration on I Support Obama’s decision to send troops to Afghanistan. I support Obama’s decision for drones I support Obama’s decision to treat the American who’s recruiting terrorists on American soil. Who’s hiding in Yemen I support the decision for our intelligence agencies to do whatever it takes to take him out so there are things that I would proudly support when it is in the best interest of delawarians, but I believe that a lot of the policies coming from this administration Are not in the best interest of Delawareans and most of them are the failed stimulus bills where we’ve been promised one thing and then received another but breaking promises is something that my opponent is is very Comfortable doing but even local party leaders have questioned your candidacy Especially after the primary and you criticized the man you beat in that primary for being someone who went with what he felt was in the best interest of Delawareans for being someone who was Borrowing Republican principles, but going with the Democrats so How can you rationalize what I did in the Republican primary and what I will continue to do is bust up the backroom deals we have a lot of our leaders have an obnoxious sense of entitlement about who should get in office and who should represent them on the battlekey what my Campaign did is I need to interrupt just because we have to get to the closing stage And we will begin the closing statements. Both of you will have a chance to make your final comments. We’ll begin with mrs. O’Donnell Thank you once again I’d like to thank the host of this to debate and Nancy Ann wolf and I hope now that the Delaware voters better Understand the clear choice we face in November My opponent has a record of raising taxes and a record of wasting wasteful spending like so many career politicians He says he’d do one thing and then only breaks his promises after he’s assumed office. My opponent will rubber-stamp the same failed policies That have caused unemployment and our national debt to sky rocket He’s in lockstep with Barack Obama and Harry Reid and that’s why Harry Reid has called him his pet I’m not a Democrat, but I know that what’s happening in this country right now is not what my Democratic friends Voted for when they voted for change in 2008 what washington needs now are new voices and new Ideas that look to the people and not to the government to the solutions to our economic problems My opponent is addicted to a culture of spending waste fraud and abuse Whether it’s spending tax dollars on men’s fashion shows or to pay off his cronies with sweetheart pension deals and special interests We already have enough politicians in Washington like that I want to go to Washington and be the voice of the people of Delaware. Not any party or special interest group I want to go to Washington and Represent the people who put me on this stage tonight and who are willing to work hard to get our country back on track again It’s not going to be easy but I do believe that America is the greatest force of good in the world, and I have never questioned whether America is a beacon of freedom and justice We will get our financial house in order We will cut spending we will reform our government and we will defeat our enemies and see triumph over freedom again so with that said I hope that you will support me and cast your vote for O’Donnell for US Senate. God bless you and God bless Delaware. I Appreciate your attention to tonight’s debate Thank you for the tough questions. You’ve asked and for the open and good conversation. We’ve had over the last 90 minutes I think you’ve heard there is a real and clear difference between my opponent and me and our values our experience and in our approach Ms O’Donnell has experienced at running for office, but not at really running anything at delivering catchy slogans But at not delivering on any real solutions and frankly at sharpening the partisan divide not at bridging it She’s focused too little on the issues that really matter to Delawareans and too much on the issues that make for good sound bites I think what Delaware needs what Delaware deserves is someone as their next United States Senator who has real hands-on experience Experience solving problems fixing what’s wrong here with our community and in Washington and tackling the real problems that face us in America I believe I offer you real ideas based on that experience I’m the only candidate on this stage tonight With experience working in and with the private sector and I’m a grateful for your vote. My apologies for interrupting But thank you so much time is up what Blitzer it’s been a pleasure. Thank you very much And for all of you who are watching. Thank you so much for joining us for Delaware first media I’m nancy care of Jane Ian. Goodnight Delaware debates 2010 is a joint initiative of the University of Delaware’s Center for political communication and Delaware first media with support from AARP Delaware and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network

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