Carnahan & Clay Accuse Each Other of Telling ‘Whoppers’ at Radio Debate
July 30, 2012

(AP) – Debating a week before their Democratic primary, U.S. Reps. Russ Carnahan and William Lacy Clay competed to claim the liberal mantle Monday and accused one another of telling “whoppers” about the other’s actions and legislative voting records.

The congressmen also said they want to raise the minimum wage, though they incorrectly stated the current rate.

Clay and Carnahan debated Monday on KMOX radio and, despite sometimes-tense exchanges, pledged that the loser of the Aug. 7 primary will support the Democratic ticket in the November elections.

After the 2010 census showed Missouri’s population growth failed to keep pace with the nation, the state lost one of its nine congressional seats. Carnahan, whose current 3rd District was carved up and merged with nearby districts, chose to challenge Clay in the 1st District in St. Louis.

Clay said Monday that Carnahan should have run in a reconfigured suburban St. Louis district, which leans toward Republicans. Carnahan accused Clay of “throwing Democrats under the bus” by supporting the new redistricting plan enacted by Missouri’s Republican-led state Legislature.

“What my opponent has just said is really a whopper,” Clay responded. Clay said he issued a joint news release with Carnahan urging the Legislature to keep three congressional districts in the St. Louis region and – at Carnahan’s request – had urged a state lawmaker not to override Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of the redistricting legislation.

That led Carnahan to retort: “That is a whopper,” and to assert that Clay’s allies had actively lobbied state lawmakers to override the veto, which they ultimately did.