Fifth Congressional District candidates Democrat Kurt Schrader & Republican Scott Bruun debated in an event sponsored jointly by KGW NewsChannel 8 and The Oregonian newspaper.
The event was live in the studios of KGW and streamed on line.
Schrader and Bruun clearly loved the format and were remarkably at ease with other. Both knew each other like a book as they had sometimes heated, sometimes humorous exchanges. Neither blinked during the hour.
On gay marriage:
They agreed that a marriage is a union between a man and a woman. Schrader said he would support civil unions at the state and federal level.
Bruun said Schrader's lack of support for construction of more F-22 fighter is a mistake. The Chinese Navy has more vessels than the U.S. Navy. The U.S. needs to be prepared to go up against China, a re-emerging Russia and Iran.
Schrader said it's how you spend defense money that's important. The U.S. has more aircraft carriers than all other countries combined.
On blame for the financial crisis:
Schrader said he inherited it from the Bush administration. Ultra-conservative pundits have tried to create an impression that bills passed in the Obama administration have failed. He has voted for bills that curb and control how stimulus money is used.
Bruun said Democrats have controlled the House since 2007. True, Bush walked away with a $400 billion shortfall, but it has grown to $1.2 trillion.
Name one thing you've done:
Schrader pointed to the NOAA Pacific fleet moving from Seattle to Newport. Bruun said he steered state legislation that raised nutrition standards in the state schools.
On the role of government:
Bruun said government has a limited role to provide a safety net. The stimulus bills were top down commands force fed to the private sector. The "summer of recovery" touted by Democrats never happened, with 95,00 net jobs list nationwide and Oregon unemployment still at 10.6 percent.
Schrader said shame on Bruun for throwing people off unemployment who had no control over losing their jobs. And small business loans have gone up 90 percent, 41,000 jobs were created in Oregon, teachers still have job.
On the Bush tax cuts:
Bruun said getting rid of the Bush tax equals $3.9 trillion over three years that could go towards private sector economic growth. He said the rest of the world lowered taxes to undercut the U.S. Capital has gone offshore.
Schrader said he wants to keep middle class tax cuts, which the wealthy would still get. The tax rates for the wealthy, after cuts, would be the same percentage as during the Reagan and Bush years, when the U.S. economy flourished.
On negative ads:
Schrader said he ended his. He wants to focus on what he has done, or plans to do. Bruun said they may be harsh, but they explain differences and provide clarity.
On immigration and citizenship:
Bruun said any constitutional change involving the definition of citizenship should be a very deliberate process, clearly vetted by the House and Senate before the debate is taken nationwide.
Schrader said the core issue is immigration reform, not a need to amend the constitution. If you are born here, you are a citizen of the United States.
Schrader MIA at the Obama rally:
Schrader said District 5 is not in Portland, where Obama appeared. Rep. Peter DeFazio, who represents Southern Oregon was also not at the Obama rally. He gave his spot in the receiving line to a friend with a son serving overseas. "I'm in the middle of a heated campaign." He said he can see the president in D.C.
Bruun praised Schrader for focusing on the District 5 campaign during the Obama stop. They are battling in a swing district. "That's consistent with the Kurt I knew in the legislature."
Voting for Pelosi for House Speaker:
Schrader said he would vote for a speaker who will forward bills that have been vetted to some level by both parties. All bills should require a 72-hour period for citizens and congressmen to look over.
Bruun drew laughter for his easy answer. "I will never vote for Nancy Pelosi to be Speaker of the House."
Bruun pointed out Schrader voted in sync with Pelosi more than Portland-centric liberal Earl Blumenauer. Schrader said "I don't think Nancy Pelosi got the NRA endorsement."
Bruun painted Schrader as the "status quo . . . a stale path to American mediocrity."
Schrader said "I've delivered on my promises."