Archive for Saturday, September 6, 2008

Slattery, Roberts duel over issues

Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts, left, and his Democratic challenger, former Congressman Jim Slattery, laugh together about the color of their ties during their debate Saturday at the AT&T Arena on the Kansas State Fairgrounds in Hutchinson. The moderator, Kelly Lenz, commented on the fact that Slattery wore red and Roberts wore blue, but Roberts said his tie was purple.

Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts, left, and his Democratic challenger, former Congressman Jim Slattery, laugh together about the color of their ties during their debate Saturday at the AT&T Arena on the Kansas State Fairgrounds in Hutchinson. The moderator, Kelly Lenz, commented on the fact that Slattery wore red and Roberts wore blue, but Roberts said his tie was purple.

September 6, 2008


Election 2008

In-depth coverage of the candidates and the issues, all leading up to the Aug. 5 primary and the Nov. 4 general election.

— Democrat Jim Slattery and Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts dueled Saturday over the economy, war, energy and illegal immigration before a boisterous and wet crowd at the Kansas State Fair.

"Sen. Roberts has had 40 years to figure out Washington, and I'm just asking for six to try and fix it," Slattery said during the debate that took place during a light, steady rain.

But Roberts derided Slattery as a "millionaire Washington lobbyist," adding, "I am proud of my record for this state. I have never stopped working for you."

The two face each other in the Nov. 4 general election for a seat in the U.S. Senate.

Roberts, 72, who started as a congressional staffer in 1967, was elected to the House in 1980 and the Senate in 1996. Slattery, 60, served in the state legislature and then the U.S. House from 1983 to 1995. In 1994, he unsuccessfully ran for governor and then lobbied in Washington, D.C.

So far, Roberts has maintained a solid lead in the polls, but Slattery said he believes the race will tighten up as Kansans focus more attention on the contest.

Several hundred supporters of both candidates packed the outdoor AT&T; arena, although most sought seats protected by an overhang and out of the chilly rain.

Run-up to war

The two politicians argued sharply about the war in Iraq.

Slattery blamed Roberts, who chaired the Senate Intelligence Committee during the run-up to the war, for failing to discern the now discredited intelligence used by President Bush, who had said Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.

"He and his committee got it all wrong on the intel data," Slattery said. Those mistakes, he said, have overstretched the military and strengthened Iran. "There has to be accountability when our political leaders make these terrible mistakes," he said.

But Roberts said everyone was wrong on the intelligence, and it was his committee that brought the errors to light and put reforms in motion.

"Jim, you wouldn't even know about this information unless for the fact that I released it," Roberts said.

Fiscal policy dominates

The two spent much of the one-hour debate arguing over fiscal policy.

Roberts accused Slattery of voting for the largest tax increase in the history of the nation while he was serving in the U.S. House during the administration of President Clinton.

But Slattery said that tax increase was on the highest wage earners, helped reduce the deficit and started an enormous economic expansion.

Slattery said Roberts supported the "reckless" policies that combined the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy and government spending increases that have ballooned the national debt.

"The spend-and-borrow philosophy has to end. This is immoral. This is intergenerational robbery, and it has to stop," Slattery said.

Roberts criticized Slattery's complaints. "We've just heard a standard class warfare speech. I better start calling you Robin Hood," Roberts said. He said the Bush tax cuts helped Kansans and helped reduce the budget deficit.

Illegal immigration

On illegal immigration, Roberts accused Slattery of supporting amnesty while in Congress, but Slattery said the bill he voted for was also supported by top Republicans at the time, including Sens. Bob Dole and Nancy Kassebaum, both of Kansas, and signed into law by President Reagan. He said if that law had been enforced, there wouldn't be an illegal immigration problem now.

On energy, both said they support increased drilling, although Roberts said Slattery doesn't support drilling in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, while Slattery accused Roberts of voting against fuel efficiency standards in vehicles until recently when the election campaign season started.


elkwc36 9 years, 7 months ago

I'm a Republican who has had enough of Roberts. I hope this is his last stand and will send a message to all Republicans they are elected to serve everyone they represent and just not the wealthy, the lobbyists and big spenders. He doesn't realize just catering to a few special interests and also big farmers only covers a small percentage of the voters. I hope he gets the message in November. Time for new blood. I'm behind Slattery. Go Jim

Jennifer Forth 9 years, 7 months ago

Try Googling "Deng Xiao Ping" or better yet, talk to anyone from China in this country. Most of the local ones are at KU getting a degree in Finance. Communism in China is a political system, not the economic and it hasn't been since the early 80s. Roberts is a d-bag but he is not the biggest problem out there. Try Googling Fannie Mae and taxpayer burden while you're at it.

KEITHMILES05 9 years, 7 months ago

I've always thought Roberts an upstanding guy.He let us down tremendously as chairman of the committee.Then, he attempted to divert attention away from his faulty ways.However, the guy has served Kansas fairly well up to that time.I'm not sold on Slattery yet. He must define himself which I assume he will.

oldnavychief 9 years, 7 months ago

Senator Jim Slattery WINS debate! Great job. Stick with the facts - Roberts is W's lap dog. So long Pat and good riddance to you and your Republican War.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 7 months ago

Roberts-- "We've just heard a standard class warfare speech."Well, we've just seen 8 years of class warfare from BushCo, and if your household makes less than $250,000 a year, you lost.And it's not just China that's financing the spend and borrow policies of BushCo. Contrary to the fairy tale theory of trickle down economics, the wealthiest among us have not been investing their tax cuts in US economic development-- they've been investing it overseas where labor is cheaper (ie, slavery by another name) and instead of paying taxes to fund the government, they've been buying US Government bonds, which future generations will have to pay back.

KEITHMILES05 9 years, 7 months ago

Pat thinks the deficit is being reduced? What an insult to the voters. We know better.

Patrick Wilbur 9 years, 7 months ago

"They are both the same." Toe - you are absolutely right. Same can be said of the Republicans and Democrats in general (look at the actual results not the rhetoric). Vote Randall Hodgkinson

HMcMellon 9 years, 7 months ago

dagonpman, Clinton, Biden and all the other Senators were depending on the Senate Intelligence Committee for information. Roberts was in charge of that committee and was supposed to be responsible and competent. Perhaps other Senators could be faulted for trusting that Roberts was doing his job, but the fact is he didn't. As a result of Robert's incompetence, indifference or whatever, he caused the transfer of at least a trillion dollars worth of our Nation's wealth to be transferred to banks in China, Saudi Arabia and other countries that are not exactly our friends. Further, his failure led to the death of more than 4,000 American soldiers and the injury of tens of thousands.BuffyloGal, Apparently you think China is no longer called "Communist China," but you are wrong. China even still calls itself a communist country and so does everyone else. China's bank is run by the Communist Party. Try Googling "communist china" and you get 1.5 million hits:

Jennifer Forth 9 years, 7 months ago

The Communist Chinese? What century are you living in? Forget about the HSBC Bank of China and focus your attention on the real owners of America. Good riddance to Roberts, but good riddance to scapegoating as well.

jayhawklawrence 9 years, 7 months ago

Roberts has to go, but he has proven to be a very effective salesman and his commercials are very slick. He knows how to hide behind the ideological rhetoric and twist the truth.I agree that Jim Slattery needs to define himself more effectively and run a stronger campaign. Very few Kansans probably saw the debate but they are seeing Roberts slick commmercials

dagopman 9 years, 7 months ago

I too am angry that Roberts failed to recognize faulty intelligence. I am equally pissed at Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden for their ineptitude in spotting the faulty intelligence.

HMcMellon 9 years, 7 months ago

It's not just Democrats who want to get rid of Roberts. Many Republicans like me are also fed up with him. His decision to ignore the intelligence that would have kept America out of Iraq has already cost every man, woman and child in America about $2,000. Estimates are that when you add up the final bill, including the costs of providings services to the tens of thousands of US soldiers with lifetime injuries, the debt may end up being as much $20,000 per man woman and child. If our country can't extract ourselves from Iraq soon, the costs may be even more.And where is Roberts getting the money? So far, Roberts, Bush, Cheney and the other Neocons, who got us into this mess, are borrowing, in our name, primarily from the communist Chinese. Roberts and the Neocons have been passing out those borrowed funds as no-bid windfalls to Robert's buddies in the military-industrial complex. Much of it has been wasted or stolen through fraud, while Roberts looks the other way and is wined and dined by thieves.The Chinese used to be our enemies. Roberts sold us out to them. They are now America's "bank," and we dare not default. We have to kiss their rear ends from now on or else they could easily train an army that would have more people in it than we have people in our entire country. Thanks to Roberts, our children and grandchildren will have to pay higher taxes just to cover the interest on our debt to the commies from now until forever.When he is not spreading lies in his attack ads, Roberts plays television ads where he acts like he is serving our people. That too is a lie. Roberts primary loyalty is NOT to the people of Kansas. His first loyalty is to the tax-sucking monopolies who pay for all those dishonest ads he's been running. We need to join together as Kansans (Republicans, Democrats and Independents) to replace Roberts, so we will be able to say, "Good riddance to a very bad Senator."

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