WGBY Springfield Brown, Coakley, Kennedy Debate January 8th - photo WGBY
The following is an abridged transcript of the WGBY Debate on the program “The State We’re In”. The debate form was informal and by far allowed for a most lively debate, allowing each candidate’s personality to come forward. Joe Kennedy, the Libertarian candidate appeared more relaxed and even quipped that he agreed with Scott Brown for a change. Brown was also relaxed, and confident in each response, while Coakley appeared as if she were “scolding” at times, while trying to move to the middle, and accusing Brown of not stating a particular fact correctly, then countering with: (abridged) that’s not what I meant to say, what I mean to say was… Brown was most in control, with Kennedy appearing more competent than Coakley.
Transcript (abridged - unedited)
Moderator: This is not a formal debate there will be no time for rebuttals, we will be allowing two minutes for closing statements.
First Mr. Kennedy
National unemployment out holds at 10% net loss of 85M drops nationwide, what ‘s your interpretation, does it mean that the economy has leveled off and is improving or are we stalled
Kennedy: Not only are we stalled, more and more people have given up looking for work – that’s the worst thing you can see in the economy that figure is not reported in those numbers, it’s going to get worse because we haven’t started to do what we need to do, all we are doing is mixing the pie, and not creating jobs in the private sector.
Coakley: A little over a year ago, we were on the edge of the worst disaster in economic issues, the past administration caused this failure, and people said it was going to be a tough haul coming out of this – in some ways the news could be worse, we still have a lot more work to do, in order to get the economy moving, we need to look at how this is going to work, take the squeeze off the middle class,
Scott Brown: We’re 85000 jobs is not holding the line, it’s about differences were in a tough spot, and there are plenty of blame to go around, there difference between me and Martha is that I am looking at JFK style across the board tax cut, put more money in people’s pockets – you can’t put more taxes on business and expect them to expand, we have cap and trade scheme which is going to put businesses out of business, I’m going to go down there and hold the line on taxes
Coakley: Scott did you not agree with the tarp and stimulus?
Brown: No I do not agree with the stimulus, we’re 49th out of 50 in releasing the money and so that hasn’t work, I’d recall the money and use it to create job, I would have allowed it to help but not pay out huge bonuses that others were getting. I’m glad you brought that up as there are so many differences between us about taxing –
Martha you know we haven’t released that money –
Coakley: We held the line, we haven't lost jobs- we kept police and teachers,
Brown: no we were supposed to create jobs in Mass., it hasn’t worked, I wouldn’t support another stimulus
Coakley: it wasn’t supposed to create jobs; it was supposed to save jobs.
Kennedy: every single dollar of money that goes to the federal, we get 20 cents back – we are losers as a state. So the fact that were’ arguing about who gets a bailout or who doesn’t we are a state that every single time a citizen pays the federal tax, we lose money –we need to cut taxes, so that we can start spending money, and we need to get out of the way of business.
Coakley: people on Wall Street didn’t do their jobs, we were without a play book last year, and most people agreed that without some kind of bailout and the need to get stimulus money out there, we would have been in a great depression.
Kennedy: no there is a playbook, look at what Harding did, it is a playbook, look at what he did, and he pulled us out within a year.
Brown: we’re in a situation now were we have a sales tax, meal tax, we have so many taxes, we’ve gone from a surplus to being broke, marriage penalties are coming back, and this is where people need to do their research and see what people are going to do in Washington, Martha wants the tax cuts to expire, and if you look at what she wants is 2.2 million in additional taxes, no one has trust in them, I can do better , I can go down there and tell them to hold the line –
Coakley: Scott says this time and time again, and says he supports the status quo, that we don’t’ have a climate change issue, he ignores where we are – and I know that I am a fiscally responsively attorney general – and for people in the Commonwealth – I know we need to address the issue, and the only tax I talk about is that we have supported the top 2% of the country is the one that should expire, I think that the middle class is being squeezed,
Brown: With all due respect all the audience would think Martha is a tax cutter, I’ve been at the state house, I cut taxes, and voted to – this isn’t something I made it up – what we need is a tax cut, a JFK tax cut, we have very clear differences –
Martha: I said you’re wrong, and I support difference,
Moderator: Health care – some sort of final vote in will take place in mid-February or sooner, our new senator will be voting on this.
Ms. Coakley what needs to be in here and what won’t you vote for
Coakley: I support what the senate proposal is, I don’t love it, but I think in general it provides two important to get people covered and it addresses the costs – we haven’t done that in MA – we cannot afford the status qua in health care and it’s not sustainable at any level, I think we need more transparency, I don’t think the bill gets there yet, and I will say that over the past three years I’ve worked closely with the health care program in Mass., and if we don’t’ do it now, people won’t’ get the health care they want
Brown: Thank you for the question, the health care plan is not good for Bay State Health Center here in Springfield, I worked on that health care bill, the problem with it is that we have 98% of our people insured and we have to look at pricing it’s getting out of control – but the Federal plan, taking a half trillion from Medicare, why would we go and subsidize the failure of other states – not only would we be paying for our plan, we’d be paying for everyone else – and look at the back door deals – I think people have lost confidence – and I think that we need to go back – I’d work on it – why do we need a one size fits all government approach we already did it.
Kennedy: We did it and did it poorly, our premiums are going up faster – what s the one area in health care that goes down in price, elective surgery – but if you take a look there are a number of things that take place during both – anesthesia is cheaper, under elective, but because of regulations, it’s higher in most cases – 57% of the insurance benefits are regulated, and insurance companies are not allowed to compete, we didn’t do it in MA and we’re not going to do it in WA and we have to address that first,
Coakley: let me address ma first, it’s important to understand that cost is going up 8% so you’re going to tell me, Scott that your proposal to cut costs is to take away mammograms and give the insurance companies a break – the senate bill that we’re talking about is good for Mass we are going to get reimbursed we will get benefits from this bill including the ability to cross state lines
Brown: First it’s preposterous that you would say that I would cut women’s services - it is unfair – and disingenuous – I live in a house full of women – we need to look at mandates, we need to look at managed care and billings – when you look at what the Connector would do – make suggestions and look at people who fit that mold – people would have the ability to have different plans – we didn’t do that, but to think that we would actually take a plan we have already done and instead take a Federal plan that costs a trillion dollars, and cut Medicare, the fact that Kerry managed to save some of that by going to Washington hat in hand - we don’t’ need to take a tin can to Washington – we can fix this, we don’t need to subsidize what we need to do….
Coakley: if the mandates are in place, but if the mandate then the insurance company won’t do it to save costs, the people won’t use it, it’s better for people and its better for costs, don’t’ say your solution isn’t to cut benefits
Brown: To think that we would cut those covered - it was to get a basic plan – I never said I would remove mandates – your misrepresenting – certain mandates, so if they want certain elective benefits they can pay an additional fee – they need a basic plan. I agree to disagree
Kennedy: consumers lose because of mandates, this is one of the few things Scott and I agree upon,
Different people have different needs, and want certain things from their coverage. People are not getting equitable coverage – so they lose out on that bill – we should repeal Obama care and mass health care and then when costs are driven down, then we take the 8 or 10 percent hat are not covered.
All agreeing to disagree
Moderator: Mr. Brown - Your reaction to Obama’s reaction to the terror bombing on Christmas day
Making things tough, the Obama administration is asking for better coordination of intelligence, hold someone’s head have rolled?
Brown: the President reacted too slow, and as someone who's at 30 year member of National Guard I think about war and peace on a daily basis and this particular issue, there is nothing more important to me than protecting our citizens, but to lawyer the individual up and give him lawyers at the taxpayers’ expense, we should have treated him like an enemy combatant and we should have found out if there were other attacks coming – the difference between me and Martha, she's in favor of Mohammad in New York getting an at our expense, we’re all paying for it, it’s wrong –
Kennedy: I think someone’s head should roll, Janet Napolitano should step down, to address some of Scott’s issue, we need to take anyone who s a military combatant and bring them to a military tribunal they don’t belong here with our rights – from a security standpoint, I’m against policing the world, we have significant forces in Germany and Japan protecting them, we need to bring people back and focus on having a strong national defense, secure our borders and our airlines, if we are not able to do that , then the people sitting in the country are at risk, we cannot police the world, it makes us more vulnerable – it think it was telling when the gentlemen from Israel said we don’t have a security sys in America we have an annoyance system;
Coakley: we all agree, and how we knew that was with the wake up call on 9-11, I know in 2 and a half decades I’ve worked in keeping people safe, there is a way in which we do it, we have to do it smartly, look at Richard Reid, he was indicted and charged and convicted in MA – we have a very effective form of government in this country he will be tried, and convicted, and he will presumably be convicted, we have a dismal failure with the military tribunal system, we had people that had to be sent back – I think we have to keep people safe, and I think attorney general Holder has done this.
Brown: I am a jag and I think that to pay for attorneys for people who are trying to kill us is wrong - and when Mohamed was told us we were trying him in New York - he said I’ll see you in my with my attorneys - we’re at war in our airports and in our shopping centers and we can do better – making sure we are getting information pursuant to all applicable laws, Richard Reid was tried in a military tribunal first.
Coakley: We will disagree, and let’s see where history takes this – we will take the best course of action to keep people safe, we all agree that this is our worst nightmare; we need to step up as Obama said, and the way we hold people accountable I don’t think the military tribunals will be effective.
Brown: we’re paying 100's of millions of dollars and giving them constitutional rights which they don’t deserve, and were’ not getting the information – we are at war, with al Queda, and they are looking to kill our kids and to kill us –
Martha if you find Bin Ladin, do you want to Mirandize him?
Coakley: We’re not going to find him, if we find him he’s going to be tried as military tribunal
Brown: Why wasn’t Mohammed tried?
Coakley: Because Holder wanted to do it this way
Brown: It’s going to be a show for al Queda we’re making a huge mistake
Coakley: we can agree to disagree
Kennedy: – I think we’re giving him incentive – if you’re living in a cave, a jail center looks a lot more attractive, they attack us because we occupy their country’s and we have a history of meddling with their affairs, why isn’t it one of the other European countries, why isn’t it American, because we have a history of messing with them,
We will continue to incite this violence to this country
Coakley: – we’ve seen terrorism all over the world, especially with democracies – and they have to do whatever it takes to keep people safe –
Kennedy – When you hear al Queda on the radio - we must kill the American infidels, it is because we occupy their territories, and if I were a kid growing up and I had a foreign military person walking by it would be easy to convert me
Coakley: that’s why we need intelligence –
Moderator: Mr. Kennedy, UMass flagship campus – has had a significance increase in fees and costs, some of the federal stimulus dollars will help but what will happen when stimulus goes away –
What about the future, would you have any qualms or would you help fund higher public education in this tough time.
Kennedy: –I understand the laws of supply and demand, the reality is we create bubbles every time we push money into a situation, and from education the strain it puts on a new college graduate, before grants were in place, the college price increased with inflation, every time someone takes out a grant that institution is flush with cash – hey you can go to college and the college gets any money, it doesn’t increase tuition by 2 or 3 percent, it goes up to 8% the person who loses is the person who graduates, what we need to do is put solutions in place and see how to cap the increases in spending, not send money to them
Coakley: Mass is blessed we have an embarrassment of riches here - I believe that every child in this Bay Sate and the country should have access to college – I think UMass is a flagship university I think the money that went to keep jobs, as part of the stimulus, you cited a problem we already have, we save jobs, we hope that as the private sector comes back, and we maybe provide for tax credits for people that that are in college.
Brown: we’ve reviewed the budgets in the State Senate - every line - in the senate we’ve discussed at length - every issue that there will be an artificial – we asked them to do a top to bottom audit to see where they can save money –we haven’t seen any jobs created, so Umass and all the other systems we offered a billion dollars in cuts, the film tax credits, some of the naming rights, we had the ability to find real cuts and use the money we had in the rainy day fund – we could have funded those projects and we didn’t do it. (Talking about the Democrat Controlled Mass. Legislature) And the fact that we haven't done an across the board tax cut, a payroll reduction, the stimulus bill -the idea of fixing it by raising the tax burden, it’s not working
Kennedy: –Scott makes a good point, the issue isn’t taxes, it’s cuts, we need people in Washington that will cut spending, in the private sector we have a bad year, we have to lay off or cut back on the budget, we don’t’ do that in the public sector, we bring on a bailout or subsidize it, we create a bigger bubble and time an time again it -
Coakley: we had speculation and we had Washington not taking tract of what was going on – so we did have opt spend money to get out of it – we agree to disagree on stimulus – I think it was necessary to save jobs and keep us moving, we’ll see if a second stimulus is necessary –
You need a government with smart regulation to make sure there aren’t artificial bubbles; we don’t need to do nothing like Scott and the Bush Cheney administration
Brown: I’ve cut taxes,
Coakley: –you want to give the 2-1/2 % of the richest keep their money
Brown: – if I can finish my answer… when you’re talking about Bush Cheney you’re talking about the marriage penalty coming back – federal obligations will increase to the IRS, the child tax credit cut in half, you’re talking about an increase for every citizen across the country –we need to do more nationally– the out of control spending, our kids our great grand kids will never pay it back, to think we have to go to china that we have to pay everything back
Martha says its working, and we’re 49th in stimulus spending
The quick fixes are over, refer back to bush Cheney, I’m not looking back, I’m not bush Cheney, I’m Scott Brown from Wrentham you're running against me, the Bush Cheney thing is old, that jokes old – we need an across the board JFK tax cut.
Coakley: Can we get a simple answer – you would let the top 2% keep the tax cuts?
Brown: You asked me the question and I’ve answered it - the small business and not big corporations you’re talking about hurting mom and pop businesses, you want to hit them with health care bill that is going to crush hem in mass. I can appreciate your trying to come back to the center on this, you’re a very nice woman, but you’re wrong on these issues.
Coakley: Scott as attorney general I brought back money
Brown: – well that’s your job
Coakley: well I did it well
Brown: that’s your job
Kennedy: – I would keep them in place (Bush tax cuts), but no one wants to talk about spending, I will repeal every dime of Obama care
Coakley: Thanks for hosting us here today because on January 19th you can pick who goes to Washington to face the serious and other economic issues we need opt address, I grew up in MA, my dad was in the navy, he had his own insurance agency, we walked to school we came from a small city I brought those qualities with me, I have worked consistently to make sure I have been fiscally responsible, I was the one who brought money back from wall street, I understand exactly how you have to address the spending and how to address tax relief for the middle class and I worked hard to keep our kids safe, I know a little about public safe and balancing that with the constitution you want a senator that will address the problems not pretend we don’t’ have any
Kennedy: I have to start by saying no candidate hat advocates continued spending, understand how the economy works, no one wants to talk about cutting entitlements – you have to cut taxes, but before you cut taxes, you have to cut spending – if I got to Washington I will cut billions of dollars by cutting spending, I will bring back troops, I will repeal it, I will repeal increases on pay raises for federal government employees. I will repeal every hack job of the current administration since Obama took office I will file legislation to end the Federal Reserve, and I will look at waste under Bush Cheney and then I will go after the federal income tax; no one talks about the hard decision we have to make
Brown: – thank you very much it’s nice to be back in Springfield my mom has been divorced, my dad as well, and I was on welfare, and one of the reason I am a republican is because I believe in the value of a dollar I know we are spending too much, if you don't like the way things are going, the lack of transparency, the giveaways, increasing our taxes and giving rights to terrorists, you need to send me down to Washington I’ll fix that – its’ about differences you have a candidate that wants to decrease taxes and create jobs, I can stop the health care bill as the 41st senator , and the cap and trade, will put us out of business, and the expiring tax cuts, it’s a bad time, we’re in bad shape now, we need someone who is going to hold the line – wouldn’t it be nice to send someone different? Someone who would create dialogue?
As noted, this is an abridged transcript of the debate. The entire debate can be downloaded at WGBY.org in podcast format.