In NC Senate Debate Talking Point Addict Tillis Says Hagan uses Talking Points

Hagan Tillis Haugh debate

Senator Kay Hagan outperformed her Republican opponent Thom Tillis and Libertarian candidate Sean Haugh during North Carolina’s third and final debate for the Senate race, on Thursday night.  Hosted by WECT and sponsored by the League of Women Voters, this debate was the candidates final chance to reach a large block of voters.

The addition of Haugh added a new dynamic, but the focus was on Hagen and Tillis.

From the beginning of the hour-long debate, Hagan used the opening statement to clearly state her views on the issues and defend her record. Conversely, Tillis followed the GOP’s generic approach to this election campaign.  He attacked Hagen and the President but avoided, at all costs, stating his policy alternatives.

The question and answer section began with a discussion on ethics. Earlier in the week, ethics complaints were filed against both candidates, alleging that both of them benefited financially from the votes they cast in the Senate and the House.  In Hagan’s case, the complaint alleged that her husband’s business benefited from the stimulus package.  Hagan said categorically “I’ve had no role in my husband’s business.”  Before pointing out that Tillis voted to benefit from his investment in a bank.

In a moment of irony, Tillis accused Hagan of reciting talking points, while using Republican attack dog talking points. Once again, Tillis dodged when asked to identify the policy areas where he departs company with the Republican Party’s leadership. That infers that he wouldn’t part company with the leadership on anything. The inference is strengthened by the fact that Tillis relied on the Republican Party’s formula for candidates’ debates of running on a platform of attacking the President and the candidate while dodging questions and avoiding disclosure of policy alternatives at all costs.

A striking example is seen in the discussion on ISIS. Hagan restated her view that U.S. needs to use airstrikes and keep American ground troops out of the fight. Conversely, Tillis used the occasion to attack Hagan’s attendance record at Armed Service Committee records, without offering a policy alternative.

During the discussion on Ebola, Hagan outlined a comprehensive approach in which a travel ban would be part of the strategy of boots on the ground for logistics and building better healthcare facilities in affected countries as well as training and developing treatments for the disease.  Hagan also noted, if needed, North Carolina is “well prepared” to deal with a potential Ebola outbreak.

After saying Hagan’s plan wasn’t a plan, Tillis depended on the standard Republican formula of fear mongering and calling for a travel ban.

“We’re not safe and secure. We’ve got to get this situation under control, we’re not ready.”

When the discussion turned to same sex marriage, Tillis relied on populist rhetoric to justify his opposition to marriage equality. It was clear that Tillis really didn’t want talk about this issue when he could use the opportunity to recite a litany of GOP talking points including the debunked claim that Obamcare will cost jobs. It really got interesting when he went on yet another tangent to claim the state’s cuts in education weren’t really cuts. Then Tillis launched into a screed in defense of his vote suppression law.

Senator Hagan’s approach to the question showed she had a far better grasp of the issue and that she wasn’t ashamed of her opinion on the subject of marriage equality.   First, she said very directly that she opposes the state’s ban on same sex marriage. Hagan used the opportunity to remind voters that Tillis is going to waste tax dollars defending the ban despite developments at the Supreme Court. Earlier this week, the Court refused to hear cases brought by several states seeking a reversal of lower court rulings that marriage bans are unconstitutional.  She went on to discuss the economic costs that go with a ban on same sex marriages.

Haugh said he also opposes the marriage ban before launching into a discussion of the lawmaker’s role in upholding the constitution rights of everyone.

During a discussion on income inequality, Hagan hit Tillis hard for his opposition to the minimum wage and his opposition to pay equity. Hagan’s decision to remind voters of Tillis’ opposition to pay equity had to hurt because Hagan has a solid lead over Tillis among women.

Tillis stuck to the standard GOP talking points of deregulation and blaming Democrats for unemployment.  He avoided answering the question of what the candidates thought is a fair wage and if the minimum wage should be raised.  Once again he resorted to Republican mythology and fear mongering with the claim that a minimum wage increase would cost jobs and hurt the economy. By this point in the debate, Tillis’ use of the GOP debate formula was getting old fast.

The debate included a discussion on energy and dredging.  Hagan used the opportunity to attack Tillis’ record on fracking.

“Tillis has made it a crime to disclose the fluids used in fracking,” Hagan said, referring to the passage of a law that opens the door to hydraulic fracturing in the state.

“I think we’ve got to be sure that we protect our water and we protect our coastal economies,”

In a nod to corporate interests including the Koch brothers, Tillis ranted about the EPA being “out of control” but then he said the Federal government falls short on dredging.

The last phase of the debate was closing statements.  Tillis’ final appeal to the voters of North Carolina conformed to the formula of pretending that the American dream is attainable with hard work, attacking Obama, calling Hagan a part of the establishment.

Hagan began her closing remarks with important information about the election. She reminded voters that Friday is the deadline to register and that early voting ends on October 23. She reminded voters that Tillis still can’t (or won’t) name a single issue where he parts company with the Republican leadership.  Hagan used the opportunity to say that governing involves reaching across the aisle to get things done. She closed with a sentence that summarizes the difference between her and Tillis: it is not how you grow up, but how you treat people.

There weren’t any knockdown punches, nor were there any surprises.  Hagan continued to show voters that she cares about the issues that matter to North Carolina by answering the questions directly while Tillis dodged.  Hagan showed a comprehensive understanding of complex issues, while Tillis stuck to GOP talking points filled with jingoistic phrases. On the rare occasion that he ventured into policy, Tillis parroted the same simplistic ideas offered by Republicans across the country.

Most importantly, Hagan showed leadership ability. During the discussion on marriage equality, Hagan defended the constitution and the constitutional process, while Tillis emulated other Republicans by placing ideology above everything – including the U.S. Constitution.

24 Replies to “In NC Senate Debate Talking Point Addict Tillis Says Hagan uses Talking Points”

  1. I expect Hagan to return to D.C. The fact that Tillis cannot distinguish talking points from facts is very revealing. So is his inability to answer which policies he would break away from that the GOP support. Probably because their policies only appeal to the RWNJ’S, and not the remaining 97% of the country.
    Hagan’s husband may have benefited from the stimulus package, but so did many Repubs who attacked it with one hand, but made sure the camera’s were there to photograph them holding the check!
    The stimulus is so 2009. If this is all Tillis has on Hagan, then my girl is doing alright.

  2. I live in the Charlotte area and I have been hearing anti- Kay Hagan commercials since Nov 7, 2012 and pro- Tillis commercials for at least a year. I have never heard Tillis utter a coherent sentence. He’s an absolute talking head with talking points.

  3. How about that deal Tillis made to buy the
    tun down trailer park, he then got into the NC legislature and went about rezoning or something to put his property up in value.
    Not sure of all the details but they are probably on line.

  4. It sure looked to me like Tillis made a very good case for reelecting Kay Hagan. Kay Hagan made a better case for reelecting Kay Hagan.

  5. I don’t know any one who believes a word of what Tillis says. Heck, he even distorted about where he got his degree and then blamed in on “staffers”. Look, if you can’t proof read your own website, then how can we believe that you will read or understand anything? You will have a “staffer” read the legislation because you are to stupid to understand it, and then you will blame them for your voting record. Again, unwilling to take responsibility for even his own website. That says it all about Tillis.

  6. To Thom Tillis-better to keep your mouth shut and be thought the fool than to open your mouth and prove it.

    Really though, can you blame Tillis for doing nothing but reciting vague talking points? The GOP has only 1 policy…protect corporate interests at all costs. They have no other coherent plank in their platform. GOP candidates will say anything, lie, cheat, suppress votes, sell their souls for dirty money just to get elected. But once elected, they serve only 1 constituency…the wealthy.

    Ultimately history will note that the American Century reached it’s zenith the day before Ronnie RayGun was inaugurated. It’s been rapid decline since.

  7. Tillis pushed through those draconian anti voting laws in NC, to be sure these poor 90 year old black ladies who suffered under Jim Crow laws and do not have a photo ID are
    unable to vote.

    What is making me gag at the moment is thinking about Ted Cruz the nasty oily and smarmy Cuban Canadian, he said last May that he had given up his Canadian citizenship, that means I guess that he gets to vote – something wrong here.
    And anyway has anyone ever located the truth about his ‘american’ mother?

  8. A vote for Hagen is a vote for Obama policies…those policies that are ruining our country. North Carolina needs Republican leadership in the State and in the Senate.

  9. And what policies of Obamas are ruining this country? If you choose to answer which being a dumbass you wont please be specific

  10. Diane – which policies are ruining the country, health care, fair wages, not letting banks ruin the economy again,reducing the deficit, fair immigrations laws – I would say states like NC are really having problems under republican rule, Jim Crow voting laws, losing teachers, giving the rich tax breaks,
    cutting medicaid and poisoning our water with coal ash!

  11. Thanks for the article!
    But I disagree with the premise Hagan won this one, though she slaughtered in the other two, she lost this one handily.

  12. I didn’t see the debate but from other articles I have read they said Hagan cleaned his clock. So what makes you think Tillis won when he didn’t answer the questions put forth to him?

  13. Tillis is hitting Hagan about missing meetings on Isis, seems to me Boehner was not interested in debating it – along with all republicans who wanted to go fundraising.

  14. Attacks on Senate attendance often unwarranted
    WASHINGTON — The worst-kept secret on Capitol Hill? Senators miss committee hearings and meetings. All the time.

    Unless the senators wield a gavel, they may show up for only five minutes or when it is their turn to ask questions. The results include guffaw-inducing scenes where even senior lawmakers enter the wrong hearing room, misidentify a witness and question the wrong person on the other side of the dais.

    But out on the campaign trail, a less-than-stellar attendance record has become the political ammo in a number of Senate races, with criticism of incumbent lawmakers flying in Alaska, Kentucky, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Colorado and Iowa.

    This cycle, much of the fodder has come from committee attendance records, at least compared with floor votes. It might look bad back home, but consistent committee attendance defies a reality on Capitol Hill.
    Read More

  15. Tillis and Haugh won, tied roughly. Hagan was too tense in this one, and Tillis for whatever reason reversed the roll of previous debates, with him as the tense one, and Hagan as the more relaxed, charismatic one.

  16. I believe the majority of the Rep & Sen have their staff read what ever is on the floor and tell them the basic ideas.

  17. At least Diane Munkirs forced a laugh out of me this morning. I needed it after having a front row seat all these years watching what “the Democrats” in power here in NC have done to a great state. We have always had a problem with republicans pretending to be Democrats until they are elected. But this is the first time I have heard the republican carpet baggers really ARE secretly Democrats. And Washington too. I wonder if she is telling us Ted Cruz is a lying “illegitimate” but a secret Democrat?

  18. no go on u tp bagger no good pice of trash gop crook, ur wrong dems will keep us senate a big turnout of dems, now bugger off idiot republican

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