(Shays whiny and petulant? What's new? - promoted by Scarce)
(Chris Shays defends failed Bush economic policies, Bridgeport Debate, 10/14)
(Jim Himes' Opening Statement at Bridgeport Debate, 10/14)
Just got back to the office from the debate in Bridgeport, which focused on health care. Congressman Shays was defensive for the entirety of the debate - defending his positions against allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices, his procedural vote against S-CHIP, and his support of the disastrous Bush economic policies.
U.S. Rep. Christopher Shays and Democratic challenger Jim Himes finally engaged, face-to-face this morning, exchanging charges on tax cuts, health care and the nation's perilous economic state.
During a nearly 90-minute debate in Housatonic Community College -- the first of seven candidate forums over the next week -- Shays called Himes' campaign attacks of the last few months "scurrilous" and "deceptive."...
"I frankly hope that this election is decided on the facts," Himes said in the college's new $55-million Beacon Hall. "If this election is decided on the facts we will see wholesale change in this country, the kind that we need. The fact is, for a long time Chris Shays has been wrong on the critical issues of the day: on the war and the economy."
And here is Mark Pazniokas on this morning's debate and Shays' bizzare characterization of allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices as some type of "price control" (isn't it exactly the opposite?):
The candidates disagreed on basic aspects on health policy, with Shays
standing by his refusal to allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices, a
policy that Himes said is driving up health costs. Himes said health
care consumed 5 percent of gross domestic economic activity 45 years
year ago during the presidency of John F. Kennedy, but it has reached
25 percent and threatens to climb.
"That's unsustainable," he said.
A Republican-controlled Congress, in expanding drug coverage for the
elderly under Medicare, forbid the federal government to negotiate
prices, an ability that the Veterans Administration has used to cut
costs for veterans.
Shays said the federal government and Medicare are so big that
negotiated prices are tantamount to government-controlled prices, a
curb that will discourage research by drug companies.
"I don't believe in price controls. I'm willing to lose the election over that," Shays said.
Paz also notes the best part of the debate (video above) - where the only sustained applause came for Jim after his discussion of Shays's support for the failed Bush borrow and spend policies:
Himes said he would oppose any tax increase in a recession, but that
the Bush cuts supported by Shays were "tax deferrals," not true cuts.
"That is double-speak," Shays said.
Himes replied that Bush and Shays cannot take credit for a tax cut,
since spending increased, pushing off the eventual tax bill to the next
"They didn't cut taxes. They put spending on a credit card," Himes said.
He was interrupted by applause from the rear of the room.