Randy Kuhl and Eric Massa held their final debate last evening in Rochester. It was locally televised and from what I understand, will be rebroadcast in the Southern Tier on Time Warner Cable. (I don’t have an available schedule for the rebroadcast. If a reader knows when this will happen, please leave the information in the comments section. Thank you.)
The following are reports of the coverage:
The debate was a standard format. The moderator asked questions, each candidate answered, and whoever had been assigned to answer first got to do a rebuttal. Kuhl continued his habit of occassionally not taking his rebuttal. At the end of the debate, each candidate got to ask the other candidate a question (Massa’s was about personal attacks — more on that later — while Kuhl’s was about Massa’s health care plan).
The issues ranged from health care to the economy and imposing sanctions against North Korea.
The candidates for the 29th Congressional District also addressed last weekend’s devastating snowstorm in western New York and how FEMA can work more effectively when handling weather disasters.
Topics in tonight’s debate ranged across now-familiar issues, from North Korea to federal and state taxes. Massa responded successfully to Kuhl’s recent barrage of TV attack ads attempting to paint Massa negatively, explaining his fiscal policies (balanced budgets, PAYGO, and middle-class tax reform) and contrasting that approach with Republican deficit spending and “stealth” taxes. Kuhl, in contrast, stuck with his message about how things are going “wonderfully well,” particularly the national economy.
Tonight’s debate included some unusual topics that have not come up in the course of the campaign so far. Candidates were asked, for example, about the likelihood of a military draft, energy policy, and stemcell research. In all cases Kuhl seemed ill at ease, except on the subject of gay marriage, where he attempted to send amessage to his conservative base in the Southern Tier: “I support the sanctity of marriage.” Massa responded with a 100% commitment to protecting civil rights for all Americans equally.