Kay Hagan solidified her small lead when she won last night’s debate. She was well prepared and assertive. Unlike her opponent, Hagan answered moderator George Stephanopolis’ questions and stood by her record. This debate delved into the issues with more depth than occurred during the pair’s first debate, further emphasizing that Hagan is clearly more qualified to represent North Carolinians in the Senate.
Hagan successfully cut through Tillis’ Tea Party talking points and his attempts to spin the radical right wing agenda he ushered through the legislative assembly as its leader.
She did a masterful job of discrediting Tillis’ record on education. According to WRAL’s fact checkers.
“The 7 percent teacher pay raise claim has been questioned on several fronts, and some teachers did see sub-1 percent raises. And there is evidence to support that per-pupil spending, particularly when you look at things like textbook funding, hasn’t kept up with student population growth.”
Hagan discredited the radical right’s debunked talking point that Common Core was imposed on the states by the Federal Government when she said, “The Common Core was not put together by the Department of Education in Washington. It was put together by governors and by states.”
Tillis’ attempt to attack Hagan for the Obama Administration’s policy on ISIL was disastrous because it allowed Hagan to point out that he had no solutions.
Once again, Speaker Tillis has waffled. He has told the News & Record he had no idea what he would do. He has not articulated one thing, whether he would arm and train the moderate Syrian rebels, what his plan would be.
In direct contrast, to Hagan’s direct answers, Thom Tillis spent most of his time evading the questions George Stephanoplis asked, Twice, Stephanopolis asked Tillis when he would part company with the Republican leadership in the Senate. Both times Tillis tried to avoid answering the question, giving Hagan an opportunity highlight his evasiveness when she asked him, “You want to ask him your question again?”
He was obviously unprepared since among other things, Tillis placed Hagan on the Foreign Affairs committee. In fact, Hagan serves on the armed services committee.
Tillis was simply no match for Kay Hagan. That was evident when Tillis tried to attack Hagan’s support of the president’s policies in this exchange.
Tillis: “I assume you’re proud you voted with him 96 percent of the time, I think it’s fair to make this election about his policies.”
Hagan: ”One hundred percent of the time Speaker Tillis’ policies have hurt North Carolina,” she said. “He’s gutted education, killed the equal pay bill, no Medicaid expansion.”
During the discussion on marriage equality, Tillis said the state would continue to defend its ban on marriage equality, though he didn’t say why. However, he tried the right wing’s favorite go to tactic of fear mongering.
“I also think we’re in a dangerous time in this country where the president has appointed liberal activist judges and Sen. Hagan has confirmed them, and they’re literally trying to legislate from the bench,”
That also backfired because it gave Hagan a chance to point out that Tillis’ defense of the marriage ban is an attack on individual freedom.
I don’t think anybody, including the government, should tell people who they should love.”
Tillis proved to be no match for Hagan during their discussion on jobs. When Senator Hagan pointed to a bill she worked on with John McCain that would give tax breaks to companies that come back to the U.S. and hire Americans tried another attack that backfired badly.
”Sen. Hagan’s solution is spending more money,” Tillis said. “It’s very simple: Government needs to get out of the way. We need to get our spending under control and we need to reduce our regulations.”
Hagan blasted Tillis with the results of policies he and Republicans in the General Assembly passed.
“He’s sending our teachers to Texas, our film industry to Georgia, and Medicaid dollars to 28 other states. That’s his failed economic policy.”
Throughout the debate, Hagan proved able to stand her ground, but more importantly, she proved that she cares about the issues that concern North Carolina’s voters, Tillis proved that he didn’t even care enough about North Carolina’s concerns to adequately prepare for this important debate.
Hagan and Tillis will square off in a final debate on Thursday in Washington.