Sometimes I wish that I had cable tv instead of satellite service. Looks like I missed a good “knock-down, drag-out” spectacle last night – the GOP Senate Primary debate between KT McFarland and John Spencer.
August 10, 2006 2:37 pm — After being criticized last night by GOP U.S. Senate opponent Kathleen Trioa “KT” McFarland over his personal and private life, Republican John Spencer today in Rochester said he won’t debate her again and claimed she was “of questionable mental stability.”
From early on in their only debate, Spencer had to defend attacks by McFarland about his personal life while he served as Yonkers mayor from 1996 to 2004. Spencer said today that he saw no reason to debate McFarland again, expecting the discussion would center on her “lies, innuendo and smear campaign.”
Seems that McFarland also accused Spencer of hiring numerous relatives, of increasing spending, and raising taxes while he was mayor of Yonkers. She went on to attack Spencer’s personal life, which included having an affair with his chief of staff which produced two children. He married her after divorcing his first wife. She also referred to him as ‘the Clintons’ – “You taxed and spent like Hillary and behaved like Bill.”
“That’s something that, in 1998, the Republican Party impeached President Clinton for exactly the same behavior,” McFarland said to gasps from the audience. “If you’d been in the military, you would have been court-martialed. If you worked in the federal government, you would have been subject to indictment.”
“It would be a waste my time allowing her to stand next to me and tell lies about my family, and attack my wife and children,” he said. “I think she should go get some help.”
Moderator Dominic Carter decided that it was time for McFarland to address some of her own personal background issues.
McFarland has also had personal issues to deal with during the campaign. She has been embroiled in family fight over her claims in old letters, recently published, that she was abused as a child by her father. Her father has denied it and one of her brothers has called her evil.
“That was 50 years ago. I’ve addressed it. I have nothing further to add,”
Some of the debate time did cover the issues of abortion (Spencer against it in almost all situations; McFarland supports abortion rights and would not overturn Roe v Wade), the Iraq war, upstate NY’s economy, energy issues, and Hillary Clinton. But, it wasn’t too long before the personal attacks started anew. (No wonder Spencer doesn’t desire another debate!)
On one hand, it sounds like it was one heck of a show; on the other, I think it’s pretty sad that a good amount of time was spent on personal attacks rather than on a true debate on positions and issues.
The NYS Republican Party and Conservative Party have endorsed Spencer. The winner of the September primary will face the winner of the Clinton-Tasini Democratic Primary.