The Rural Patriot

October 11, 2006

Kuhl/Massa Debate; Notes from the 10/10/06 Debate

Filed under: Eric Massa,New York State,November 2006 Election,Randy Kuhl — ellicatt @ 10:56 am

Below are my notes from last night’s debate. I watched the live-streamed broadcast from the WETM website. Unfortunately, due to technical problems, I missed at least the first 15 or so minutes of the program, and the debate is not available for viewing at the present time (I checked the website this morning; perhaps it will be up later in the day.) Be advised that most of the following is paraphrased and not all verbage was transcribed.

[UPDATE:  Video now available]

Foley/Congressional Page Scandal

Kuhl: Talked about the current investigation by FBI and Ethics committee; also wants a private investigation.

Massa: Talked about the importance of those who are elected to not lie, cheat or steal to begin with, comparing it to the code he honored while serving in active military duty.

Kuhl: you need to understand fully the nature of what is going on and to understand that this is not party-oriented. Its an institution problem that needs to be addressed.

Illegal Immigration

Massa: Must secure our borders immediately. 12 to 14 million illegals in our country now. We must address the problem in a way that does not make felons out of farmers in upstate NY. Must address the problem of why illegals cross our borders. Failed trade policies such as NAFTA and CAFTA contribute to the problem.

Kuhl: It is the most pervasive question as I traveled (the district). I don’t think anybody can disagree that you have to cut off the flow of them into this country. The first step is to secure the border. The “catch and release” program has been changed and is no longer used since 7/31/06; all are being detained for purposes of deportation. You have to come up with a policy that does not reward illegals. I don’t support amnesty

Massa: You heard here that you have to understand whats going on in Washington DC; no one understands what is going on in Washington DC. The reality on immigration is that no one understands the policy. Time for straight cost and action from Congress.

Medicare D and Health Insurance – Catastrophic Care – Help for those Without Adequate Insurance

Kuhl – There are 300 million in this country, 47.9 million are uninsured. Many of those have had insurance or have been employed in the last year. Many of them have made the decision to not (continue to carry insurance). Access to affordable health insurance (can include) health savings accounts, community health associations, and to allow government and people commissions to identify where that may be possible.

Massa – 47 million Americans without the ability to see a doctor is a crime and unamerican. All I want to do is to help provide what 27 other nations have figured out to do. Every parent without insurance lives in fear that they (and their children) are not going to be able to see a doctor. Its not a matter of “we don’t need healthcare”. HMOs put profit before patients; we need to provide for all Americans now.

Kuhl – We all know that the cost is expanding upwards. Families of 4 (paying) $10-12,000 policies with all of the add-ons. (My) proposal would allow people to formulate different options.

US Involvement in Iraq – Is America More or Less Secure

Massa – Speaking from years of experience, the misbegotten way is making us less secure and we are creating the insecurity. He speaks of a letter from a marine relaying his experiences that have moved him to see the reality of failure. We need a new strategy, we need to move now (to form) three economic, viable states. We will never be successful creating a Jeffersonian Democracy at the end of a bayonet.

Kuhl – Believes that it has safened our country from attack. We are there now and we dethroned a dictator. Do we continue to complete the mission to set up for the success of this new soveriegnty called Iraq? We owe it to the people to fight and want to complete (the mission). If we remove (ourselves from the Iraq war,)  it will create a larger tragedy than Darfur and Sudan. The fact that we are there fighting on their shores protects us on our shores.

Massa – WMD’s that did not exist; titanic clash of cultures. The mission is not defined; despite the “flight suit” …, mission was never accomplished. We need new leadership.

Government Debt – Is a large Deficit Unavoidable or Can We Slow the Growing Debt

Kuhl – (we need) a balanced budget; part of the process should be contingency funds available at a state level should also be available at the federal level to cover items such as the war, (Katrina), so that you can control the debt…and live without this debt. I would like this war to end today, but I will not walk away from our commitment to Iraq.

Massa – I’m not asking for your vote to commit to the Iraqi people, but to commit to the people of the 29th District. (I can’t) vote for a budget that adds trillion(s); we know that Washington is currently running off course. We need new leadership to bring this about. The heart and soul of America is not in Washington DC.

Kuhl – I think it can be done; can you do it tomorrow? No, it takes planning that hasn’t been there. Need a line-item veto. There is a way to do it, but its not going to happen overnight.

Do you Pledge to not engage in negative campaigning and advertising?

Massa – There have been ads that have lies about my platform and myself. He then speaks of the ad that was against Kuhl. Just a few days later, my opponent ran the exact same ad against me. … Not democratic or republican values; it is about American values and we need a higher standard of debate. It does not help to tell lies on TV; we deserve better.

Kuhl – Absolutely not (meaning he will not run a negative campaign). I have never run a negative campaign and never will. 527’s are organizations that have no reporting requirements…the first ad run against me was from, the liberal organization from George Soros that accused me (of taking part) of a giveaway from the Iraq War and was negative and misleading. My opponent said that there might be some accuracy to the ad. Speaking on his own ads against Massa:  any issue is based on comments my opponent has made in one place or another.

Massa – I’m not in the election business; I’m not a politician. You asked me to condemn that ad and I did. (You called me) MoveOn’s candidate – it doesn’t get any clearer than that.

Wind Farms

Kuhl – Energy bill last July encourages wind farm development, but not where it is to be placed. It should be a local decision by the people in the community.

Massa – This is another example of corporate America going awry and imposing their will on the local community without benefit to that community. Nothing is done to improve the quality of life to neighbors and families. These companies have ignored the protests of locals, but also the reality of ignorance, environment, and maintenance factors. Local control; can’t let the wolves into the sheep pen.

Kuhl – These agreements will (bring) dollars to support schools, roads, etc. If my opponent would just get out and…(gets cut off)

Lightening Round – Yes or No

Should Iraqi People have the final say by referendum popular vote if our troops should stay in Iraq?
Kuhl – yes; Massa – no

Should the Electoral College System be eliminated?
Kuhl – no; Massa – no

Should the US have one-on-one talks with North Korea?
Kuhl – no; Massa – yes

Support Federal funding for Stem cell research?
Massa – yes; Kuhl – yes

Should Americans be allowed to privatize part of their social security contributions?
Massa – no; Kuhl – no

Should we legalize marijuana for medical purposes?
Massa – no; Kuhl – no

Should burning of the U.S. flag be outlawed?
Kuhl – yes; Massa – no

Candidates question each other:

Massa to Kuhl – Asks about the change to Kuhl’s website from 10/3 to 10/4. Website said on 10/3 that the War on Terror – the new government of Iraq is making progress, 188 provinces by this year’s end; then it changed to the “end of next year”. Which year is it?

Kuhl – When I was in Iraq, I had the opportunity to visit with General Casey; had a discussion; its a complex situation, the evolution of war. We are in the process of turning control to Iraqi government. Then there was a statement from the President of Iraq that initially said by year end and was then modified to say at the end of 2007. The website was modified to reflect the change.

Massa – that’s the problem; 16 hours in Iraq won’t give you much of an understanding. He then read a paragraph from the Marine that states:

Biggest Hassle — High-ranking visitors. More disruptive to work than a rocket attack. VIPs demand briefs and “battlefield” tours (we take them to quiet sections of Fallujah, which is plenty scary for them). Our briefs and commentary seem to have no effect on their preconceived notions of what’s going on in Iraq. Their trips allow them to say that they’ve been to Fallujah, which gives them an unfortunate degree of credibility in perpetuating their fantasies about the insurgency here.   (note from me:  I have read the same article; therefore, I was able to source this verbage.)

Kuhl to Massa: On your website, you (say) universal health care will cost $1.8 trillion annually; 3% automatic tax increase and will eliminate all tax reductions to people married, marriage penalty, college deductions…how are you going to pay for this?

Massa: We are in far more than the $1.8 trillion in stealth taxes in (all we buy; gas, bread, etc.). (average) $1200 in all we buy. Talks about the tax breaks for the wealthy – Paris Hilton tax break, etc.

Kuhl – No rebuttle.

Closing Statments

Kuhl – Thanks the panel and those who have sponsored the debate. I have tremendous concentration on the people of the district; dedicated to the people; I’m a problem solver; I don’t want to solve national or international problems per say.

Massa – Added his thanks to those who took time out to listen to the debate. Its a question of experience, whether 24 years of legislation in Albany will get us what we need in Washington, or will we get more of the same. He spoke of his years in the military and that he and his family chose to live and grow roots here in the district. There is a tremendous failure in Washington DC. Do we stay the course or change? It is an important election and I ask all of you to vote.


In print today:

Kuhl, Massa tangle on Iraq, free trade

Massa offered more solutions than Kuhl

Massa would offer a change in status quo

Massa had upper hand throughout the evening

Choice comes down to staying the course

New York’s 29th Congressional Candidates Debate

And, from the Massa Campaign website: Massa Wins A Second Debate

Massa continued to articulate a strong message for change, repeatedly attacked the status quo in Washington as being out-of-touch with the values of real Americans and voters in the district, and linked Kuhl to what he called a “Washington insider” culture. Massa presented a clear list of positions on Iraq, health care, jobs, and veteran’s benefits, which have been the linch-pins of his campaign.Kuhl, in contrast, seemed uncomfortable with the debate situation, rambled in his statements, and focused his remarks almost entirely on the panel rather than addressing the live or the TV audiences. Many in the audience mentioned that he was hard to hear. Kuhl defended Bush administration positions consistently, particularly in Iraq, where he advocated that we “stay the course.” Massa argued that in fact Iraq is now a failed course, and that we need to “change the course.”

Kuhl made several remarks that startled the audience, including a denial of ever having run a negative campaign, when his current campaign features a series of extremely negative ads; a statement in support of stem cell research, when he voted this past July to block funding for such research; and a statement that he has voted for some unspecified bill that will balance the federal budget (he has voted for the series of Republican spending bills that have produced a wave of skyrocketing deficits and record levels of debt that Massa called “a stealth tax.” Panelists asked several questions about jobs and trade, particularly the controversial NAFTA and CAFTA trade agreements. When asked about the negative impact of NAFTA on the job situation in the district Kuhl said, “It’s a real question. I don’t really know.” “That,” Massa said, “is the problem.”

I have not been able to source a statement from Mr. Kuhl as of this report.



  1. Nice writeup.

    According to WETM, a copy of the debate will be available for streaming before 5 p.m. today.

    Comment by Rottenchester — October 11, 2006 @ 11:09 am | Reply

  2. Clearly Eric Massa wins this debate! Randy did some major switches in the Lighting Round and got caught with his pants on fire. Certainly he would not vote for funding Stem cell research or against privitizing Social Security. It would put him on the bad side of GB. To bad we can’t have this type forum in the Western Southern Tier. We certainly have large enough places to hold a debate here and I am sure Eric Massa would come.

    Comment by LV Veteran — October 11, 2006 @ 11:31 am | Reply

  3. Here we go again. I’m going to cancel my cable subscription you all are so entertaining. Randy Kuhl has voted against EMBRYONIC stem cell research. That was not the question asked. President Bush has already but in place federal funding for adult stem cell research and was the first President to ever do so. As for the Social Security issue, you bash leaders/representatives for not listening or representing their constituents with their priorities at heart. Clearly, Congressman Kuhl found that the majority of his constituents didn’t like the idea of privatization, so he no longer supports it. Now you bash him for changing his stance. How incredibly hypocritical of you and what a double standard you live by.

    Now on to the winner. If you think that someone wins a debate after announcing his support for INCREASING our taxes, you must not be happy with where are taxes are now. I commend you on how easy your life must be and that you welcome paying more to the government.

    Comment by jnd — October 11, 2006 @ 2:05 pm | Reply

  4. To #3 jnd: I am glad that Rep. Kuhl has changed his stance on SS privatization since listening to his constituents. It is good that he did that.

    Don’t be too hard on those who see the term “stem cell” and immediately connect it to embryonic stem cell. I would have gently pointed out the differences between embryonic and adult stem cell research.

    As far as increases in taxes, I believe that Massa is promoting further tax relief for the middle class, which actually would benefit me and most of those that I know. I also believe that, as citizens, we must support the country’s programs, policies, and infrastracture through fair and realistic taxation policies. Borrowing is fine when it is done “within your means”, but borrowing extreme amounts of funds from other countries to keep our country running makes me uncomfortable, and those funds will have to be paid back with interest some day. I don’t believe that the tax cuts are generating and will generate enough revenue to take care of this situation, and it will come back to bite us in some form. I also don’t like the fact that funding for programs that benefit our citizens, such as student loans, are being cut back in order to help reign in the budget. So no, I don’t mind paying my fair share of taxes, and no, I don’t have an easy life.

    Comment by theruralpatriot — October 11, 2006 @ 3:19 pm | Reply

  5. Regarding local control and wind farms. Kuhl’s vote in favor of H.R. 6, the Energy Act, includes in section 1221 authorization for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to overrule state and local governments in the siting of transmission lines, including the use of eminent domain if necessary to secure the right-of-way. And the ethanol section regarding use in fuel is only about 10 pages out of hundreds – hardly an ethanol bill.
    And as rural patriot says re: taxes, I’d rather tax and spend than borrow and spend, passing the bill to my daughter and her children. I would like to see the math on Kuhl’s statement that our taxes would go up on average $2,000. Mine certainly did not go down by that much with the Bush tax cuts. And, although he didn’t say it in the debate, Massa supports returning to the pay-go rules of the 1990’s that gave us a surplus and actually started paying down the national debt. The balanced budget amendment Kuhl supports only covers spending – rather like being ok to take a part-time job as long as you can cover your day-to-day bills but ignoring the mortgage, retirement savings, and maybe even your health savings account. Not the way I want to run my household budget.
    As for listening to his constituents – maybe he should be aware that a majority support stem cell research even using embryonic stem cells – at least if we bear any resemblance to national polls we do.

    Comment by Kathy Bambrick — October 11, 2006 @ 4:34 pm | Reply

  6. […] * The Rural Patriot (includes a nice roundup of local media coverage as well) […]

    Pingback by turning the tide upstate — October 11, 2006 @ 9:56 pm | Reply

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