Orman & Roberts Clash in Debate III
October 16, 2014

(AP) – Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts called independent candidate Greg Orman’s support of abortion rights “unconscionable” during their last debate Wednesday and suggested that helping fellow Republicans recapture a Senate majority was the top issue in their race.

Orman countered by saying he trusts women to make decisions about their reproductive health care and accused the three-term GOP incumbent of spreading “falsehoods” about him in his campaign as a centrist. Orman said that if voters believe Washington is working well, “I’m not your guy.”

Republicans have won every U.S. Senate race in the state since 1932, but this year’s race has received national attention since Democrat Chad Taylor dropped out last month, making Roberts more vulnerable and jeopardizing the GOP’s drive to win a Senate majority.

Roberts continued his attempts to unify the party by portraying Orman as a close ally of President Barack Obama and U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, both Democrats.

“What this boils down to is: A vote for Pat Roberts is a vote for a Republican majority in the Senate,” Roberts said in his opening statement. “The No. 1 thing is to get a Republican majority in the United States Senate to end the gridlock and stop the Obama-Reid agenda.”

Orman responded that Roberts’ campaign is “making up facts” in tying him to Obama and Reid and said “numerous Republicans” have endorsed his campaign.

“I think we need to look past those falsehoods and pay attention to what the truth is,” Orman said.

The candidates sparred on numerous issues, including immigration and the economy, but one of their sharpest exchanges came over abortion.

Orman noted the decades of debate over abortion and said, “It prevents us from talking about other important issues, and what I’d like to see us do is start focusing on some of the big problems that we absolutely need to get our arms around if we’re going to preserve the American dream and our financial futures.”

Roberts, a strong abortion opponent, took issue with Orman’s remarks. “Get past the rights of the unborn?” Roberts said.

Later, he told Orman, “I think that’s unconscionable, Greg, I really do.”

In reply, Orman acknowledged abortion is an important issue. “I just think we’ve spent a lot of time as a country debating it, and it’s time to start debating other important issues as well,” he said.

At one point during the debate, Roberts lost his place. He also stumbled on several responses and appeared fixated on touting his endorsements.

On the issue of immigration, Orman said the country needs a policy that secures the border but is practical. He noted that many industries rely on immigrant labor and said the U.S. can’t just deport 11 million people.

Roberts, who has accused Orman of supporting amnesty for people living in the U.S. illegally, seemed to nonetheless agree with Orman, saying he never suggested the country deport 11 million people.

The two candidates had their third joint appearance in the studio at Wichita station KSN.

Afterward, Orman told reporters he hopes to send the message to other independents that they should run for public office.

Republicans need a net gain of six seats to regain control of the Senate, and it has always counted on the 78-year-old Roberts winning re-election. Orman is a wealthy 45-year-old Olathe businessman and co-founder of a private equity firm who touts his business experience.

Akin and McCaskill’s Second Debate Produces One Surprise
October 19, 2012

Clayton,Mo.–Missouri Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill accused her Republican opponent of paying his female staff members 23% less than his male employees during a debate in suburban St.Louis Thursday night.
It was one of the few pieces of new information that emerged from the 60 minute debate at Clayton High School.
It is the second, and quite likely final, debate between the two US Senate candidates.
McCaskill’s campaign charges Akin with paying male employees on his Congressional staff and average of $15, 872 per quarter, while female staffer earn an average of $12, 872 per quarter.
Akin has been a Member of Congress for 12 years.
During the debate McCaskill cited it as another example of Akin’s lack of understanding of gender equality.
The St. Louis Beacon reports Akin’s Congressional spokesman, Steve Taylor said McCaskill’s claim is wrong.
The Beacon says a taylor says in the second quarter of this year, females staffer were paid, on average $3,158 more then the men on the staff.
It’s one of the central arguments McCaskill is making against the conservative Congressman.
Other than that, the candidates plowed familiar ground during the debate.
Akin accused McCakill of being a reliable vote in the Senate for the Obama White House.
He charged McCaskill with cutting Medicare by $716 billion dollars because she voted for President Obama’s health care reforms.
The law, which even President Obama now calls, “Obamcare”, reduces payments to Medicare providers like hospitals and insurance companies.
McCaskill said the cuts do not affect people on Medicare.
She returned the fire by saying Rep. Akin voted for the same cut twice when he cast votes in favor of the House Republican version of a federal budget, authored by Republican Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan.
McCaskill said the Republican plan would use the money to provide tax cuts for the nation’s wealthiest.
Akin’s hardest punch at McCaskill was his claim she “got rich” while in the US Senate.
He repeated the charge McCaskill’s husband, Joe Shepard, and companies he is affiliated with, received. $39 million in federal money since she has been in the Senate starting in 2007.
The money went to companies Shepard is connected with who received low-income housing funds from the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Dept. Of Agriculture’s Rural Housing programs.
Akin brought up the charge during his closing remarks of the debate. McCaskill had already completed her remarks and did not have a chance to respond.
Later during a post-debate news conference, The Democratic Senator called the charge, “a cheap shot”.
McCaskill’s campaign has repeatedly said the Akin’s charge the arrangement is improper is false.
Akin did not meet with reporters following the debate.
McCaskill campaign spokeswoman Catlin Legacki said Akin’s absence broke one of the debate rules that the candidates were to meet reporters after the debate in ‘Spin Alley’.
Akin’s chief strategist, Rick Tyler, told reporters the facts are clear, McCaskill’s husband, through his ownership in several companies, received the money.
When KMBC TV News asked Tyler if he could point to any improprieties or illegal action, he referred to his previous comments. He did not cite any improper or illegal activity.
It was the last question Tyler took from reporters.
The most well known incident of the entire campaign, Akin’s August 19th remark that a victim of “legitimate rape”, can biologically prevent a pregnancy, never came up.
McCaskill didn’t didn’t mention it. None of the panelists asking questions asked about it either.
That is sharp contrast to the first Senate debate on September 21 when it was the first question asked by that debate’s moderator, Associated Press reporter David Lieb.
McCaskill said she thought most people knew about it, and mentioning it might be considered “piling on”.
Tyler called it old news. he said most Missouri voters are ” over it”.
The debate’s strict structure, timed opening and closing remarks by the candidates; questions from a panel of five; and questions from the audience, left little room for give and take between the two.
Answers were limited by time, and so were the chances for one candidate to rebut the other’s remarks or charges.
As a result, the debate produced few, if any moments worth remembering.
It is not likely change the dynamics of the race.