Senate Debate: Fireworks at LSU
With less than a week left before Election Day, the leading candidates for U.S. Senate unloaded their verbal firepower during Wednesday night’s final debate.
The questions were tough.
“At what point, if any, would you support American troops on the ground in the Middle East?”
“Should Americans, suspected of having Ebola, be forced into quarantine?”
“What is the role of government, if any, in ensuring economic prosperity for future generations?”
But the candidates—Bill Cassidy, Mary Landrieu and Rob Maness—were tough, too…on each other.
“Senator Landrieu has clout, but she uses it for Barack Obama. She doesn’t use it for us,” Cassidy declared.
“My opponent, Congressman Cassidy, voted to cut CDC funding by 600 million dollars,” Landrieu stated. She also went after Maness.
“Colonel Maness has no plan for Social Security.”
Maness took Landrieu and Cassidy to task.
“Both of you should be in Washington right now, but you’re here. Both of you are ducking responsibility,” Maness said, regarding the potential of war in the Middle East.
The lively debate was held in the Journalism building at LSU. A small audience, composed of media professionals, university officials, and students, didn’t react overtly to the fireworks between the candidates. But one particularly cringe-worthy moment came courtesy of Rob Maness. When asked about quarantining for Ebola, Maness critiqued the Centers for Disease Control, saying, “Our lives are in the hands of an agency full of politicized academics and nutty professors.” Not the best way to win the higher education vote.
Some of the sharpest exchanges came in response to the candidates being asked how they felt about Governor Bobby Jindal’s refusal to accept the Medicaid expansion under Obamacare.
“I think it is tragic,” Landrieu stated unequivocally. “You know, our governor talks a lot about a workforce? It’s hard to have a strong workforce if it’s not healthy.”
Maness said he thinks Jindal is right.
“We shouldn’t accept the Medicaid expansion because after just a few years Louisiana taxpayers get left holding the bag,” Maness said.
Cassidy indicated he had a low opinion of Medicaid as a form of health care coverage.
“You know, I’m a doctor that’s been working in Louisiana’s Charity Hospital System for 25 years, treating the uninsured and those on Medicaid. And really, Medicaid is the illusion of coverage.”
Landrieu fired back, saying, ““Bill Cassidy is a doctor that has been paid a salary from Medicaid. He’s made his living from Medicaid, but it’s not good enough?”
And while the debate over Medicaid expansion won’t end soon, the time for voters to decide who will take up this issue and others, as Louisiana’s next senator, is coming up next Tuesday.
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