5:57 pm I had thought that Twitter put live blogging out of business, but others say Twitter in Montana political circles is still a tiny niche audience and live blogging reaches more people – would be interested in what readers think. You can follow the debate here for regular updates.
6:02 Audience asked not to clap, hiss or boo. Amanda Curtis introduced first as a Butte High School math teacher and Montana legislator.
6:04 pm Debate moderators introduced: Mike Dennison of Lee Newspapers, Jackie Yamanaka of Yellowstone Public Radio, and TV reporter and political director for KXLH, Sanjay Talwani.
6:06 pm First question on ISIS – Curtis says we can’t be the world’s police and we must ask where the money will come from
Daines claims the president lacks strategy and needs approval of congress. Daines tries to say the response to ISIS is “secure our borders.”
Daines asked how we will pay for ISIS threat but avoids question with “secure the homeland” platitudes.
6:08 pm Daines asked if he would shut down the government again. Tries to blame president Obama for government shut down. Says it “takes two” to shut down the government. Total cop-out. Tries to justify it by saying he didn’t take a salary during that time.
Curtis reminds audience that Daines voted for shutdown and is so out of touch he can afford to go without pay which is something most Montanans can’t do. Gets audible agreement from audience.
Daines asked again to answer the question of whether he would vote for the shut down again. Curtis points out that Daines didn’t say he would not vote for a shutdown again.
6:14 pm Talwani question for Daines on repealing Affordable Care Act and replacing it with “tort reform” Will this really help people get health insurance?
Daines says response to health care is “tax deductions” and tort reform to save money. Also Health Savings Accounts – doesn’t mention these mean nothing without health coverage. Daines also tries to say that ACA should be repealed because not everyone will have insurance coverage even though it passed. Makes no sense.
6:19 pm Sanjay T. points out in a question to Daines: if people can’t afford health insurance, can these people afford health savings accounts – will they benefit from tax cuts?
6:22 pm Dennison asks Daines about his statement that abortion should be illegal in most cases. His true position is that he opposes abortion in ALL cases, even when a woman is raped.
Curtis nails Daines for voting for a bill to ban most forms of birth control.
Daines is saying something weird about how the first amendment supposedly limits birth control. As Curtis points out, Daines is saying he supports Hobby Lobby decision to let corporations decide which women get birth control and which do not. Well done Curtis.
6:28 pm Debate is half over – taking a 1 minute break.
6:30 pm – Odd Question from Jay Kohn about whether “one of us” means a dumber U.S. Senate. Curtis points out that the founders did not intend corporations to run the U.S. Senate and Curtis says you don’t need to be a silver-spoon fed politician to be a good senator.
Follow up – asked if Curtis has the experience to be a good U.S. Senator. Curtis says she has dedicated her life to education because it is the pathway out of poverty. Daines is saying something weird about his grandparent’s high school mascot….trying to relate to normal people I guess after Amanda’s comments about relating to working families. Not really impressed by this pathetic response by Daines.
6:34 pm Daines called on carpet by Jay Kohn for touting a bill in one of his campaign ads that has never even passed – his so-called balanced budget act. In my opinion, it is disingenuous to take credit for a bill that never passed. As Jay said – “isn’t this just a symbolic bill with no teeth?” Kohn calls the ad false.
Glad to see moderator holding Daines accountable.
6:36 pm Jackie Y. asks Daines about what his real concrete specific Medicare reform proposals are. Daines is saying he supports “reforms” but is not saying what they are. He again avoids the question. It’s becoming a theme tonight (Daines avoiding answering.)
6:39 pm Daines claims the Affordable Care Act harms in-home health care for seniors, says he knows this anecdotally. Curtis reminds audience that Daines has a 10% (abysmal) rating with seniors groups.
6:40 pm Dennison to Curtis - Why should I support you if I’m a gun owner? Curtis points out she does not opposed guns and was just out shooting recently. Daines goes all TEA Party liberty and freedom language on guns, says guns are not about hunting….
6:41 pm Curtis points out that Daines has lowest rating on conservation/public lands of any politician ever in MT – a 4%.
6:42 pm Talwani asks Daines why he refuses to compromise on public lands solution proposed by Tester that would result in logging and timber jobs – a solution that can actually pass. Daines says Tester’s bill is “a good start.” But he doesn’t say why he wouldn’t vote for it.
Curtis said she supports Forest Jobs and Recreation Act as a true compromise by Tester. Says Daines didn’t support the Montana solution and instead is forcing a DC solution Montanans don’t back.
6:46 pm Jackie Y.: What do you think should be done on immigration to protect public health? Curtis supports doctors and agencies working to protect us from biological threats. Points out that Daines voted for shutdown, which harmed these agencies.
Daines repeats “secure the borders” pablum again. Starts telling some anecdote he heard from a Texas house member. Says “secure the borders” a few more times. Says the threat of ebola and national security is at stake.
Curtis says she supports immigration reform.
6:49 pm Dennison asks how Daines jobs rhetoric isn’t just warmed over trickle down economics. Daines launches into his same talking points in response. Seems to believe Keystone pipeline is some kind of magical talisman for the middle class.
6:52 pm And at this point, the live stream from KUFM’s website appears to be no longer functional. (Or Charter internet just stinks–always need to remember this possibility is probably the most likely.)
6:53 pm Last question about to be asked. MSU-B poll says 20-25% still decided in the race. Candidates asked to give their final pitches.
Curtis says people should be able to retire without worrying about where their groceries are from. Says out public lands shouldn’t be sold off and that Medicare shouldn’t be a voucher system. Daines thinks corporations are people and money is speech. Intermittent cheering.
Daines says he “grew up a sportsman” and has an A plus rating for NRA. Says “Montanans vote their guns.” More jobs blah blah blah – I’m not Obama, basically. (Curtis pointed out earlier that Obama isn’t on the ballot.) Daines tries to say his background is different than most in congress. Bwhahahahahha! Right. Basically keeps saying “I’m not Obama.” Really embarrassing.
Curtis says choice is between Daines, most extreme Congressman Montana has ever had, and a woman like herself. Says she’ll help all sectors of economy, not just big corporations. Says as Montana’s first female senator she’ll vote for equal pay for equal work and FOR the minimum wage. Loud cheering, louder and longer than for Daines.