Minor Disagreements, No Insults in 2nd Democratic US Senate Debate

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Tomorrow morning I’ll join Logan Byrnes in the 8 a.m. hour on FOX-Connecticut to give some insight on today’s debate and where the candidates go from here.

They covered many of the hot topics facing Connecticut and the nation but the Democratic US Senate debate at UConn lacked fireworks and controversy. US Rep. Chris Murphy, former state Secretary of Susan Bysiewicz, state Rep. William Tong, newcomer Matt Oakes and well, anti-Israelist Lee Whitnum who didn’t engage in name calling this time.

The frontrunners continued to stake out what will be their approaches the rest of the way. Murphy is framing himself as the candidate not afraid to stand up to anyone in Washington. Bysiewicz sees herself as the true protector of the middle class and is quick to say Murphy is really just another pawn of Wall Street. Tong relies on his inspirational personal story—his parents came from nothing, ran a Chinese restaurant in Wethersfield, saved every penny and put Tong through college and law school.

The candidates agreed on nearly all the issues including:
• The need to keep tuition costs down as well as the interest rate on student loans

• Health care. They all support Obamacare and want action if the Supreme Court strikes it down. Curiously, Bysiewicz suggested that if it’s struck down, Congress should “continue to fight for it” and “make sure it gets put back in.” She suggested the same at last week’s debate. Murphy today quickly point out that something different had to be tried if it’s struck down, that they can’t just pass the same law.

• Foreign affairs. Each of the candidates wanted to bring the troops home from Afghanistan sooner than the president’s timetable.

• Defense spending. They all want it cut but are quick to point out their connections—sometimes familial—to Connecticut jobs reliant on the defense industry.

• The economy and jobs. This opened the door for Murphy to tout his “Buy American” program which he says can create 600,000 jobs. He also claimed the stimulus worked, saving the country from going into a depression.

The Shad was waiting for one of Whitnum’s anti-Israel rants. She didn’t disappoint. She claimed terrorists attacked on 9-11 because they felt sympathy for the Palestinians and how they were being treated by Israel. She contends that the US went into Iraq at Israel’s direction. At one point in referencing Egypt, Whitnum said, “Egypt recently gamed Israel and I loved it.”