Last night’s Voice of the Voter debate was a pretty good debate. No new territory was covered, and I doubt that it changed anyone’s mind. Those tuning in to see if Louise still has it saw that she’s still pretty sharp. Those who wanted to see Brooks attack Slaughter hard would have been disappointed. I thought Slaughter’s attacks were more pointed and frequent, though neither really went at the other.
In the opening statements, we got a taste of what was coming:
Slaughter: “My opponent often likes to say “All eyes are on Monroe County”. Unfortunately those eyes include the State Controller, the Attorney General and the FBI.”
Brooks: This is a decision between the best of our community and the worst of Washington…Louise Slaughter just isn’t for us anymore.
This was the basic theme each emphasized throughout the debate. Slaughter bolstered her claim with two often-repeated pieces of evidence: Monroe County is $392 million in debt, and the only worse-run county in New York is Rockland County. Brooks pointed out that Slaughter’s ads on this point had been ruled as misleading, and she said she had been “disappointed” many times by those who work for her. At no point that I remember did Brooks take any responsibility for what happened during her tenure as County Executive – certainly nothing like “the buck stops here” ever escaped her lips.
Maggie’s main specific that she trotted out repeatedly was the lie that the $716 million cut from Medicare Advantage will reduce benefits. This has been debunked repeatedly, and Slaughter went at it in a couple of ways, including pointing out that the cut made Medicare solvent for 8 more years, and that Paul Ryan’s version of that cut just returned the money to insurance companies instead of being used to keep Medicare solvent.
When the topic of development came up, Slaughter mentioned laundry lists of the cash she brought into the district, while Brooks argued that the federal government needs to stand out of the way.
When asked to explain why she wanted to repeal Obamacare, Maggie resorted to claiming that the bill was passed on a partisan line and she doesn’t like the way it was debated in the House. Lyndon Johnson twisted arms to get the Voting Rights Act passed, and nobody likes arm twisting. I guess we need to repeal that, too.
At the end, Brooks returned to her theme of the night, “Rochester Louise” versus “Washington Louise”. Slaughter finished out with “You know me, I’m no stranger”.
WXXI says the video of the debate will be posted later this weekend on their YouTube channel for those of you who want to replay it.
Update: The debate is available on the 13-WHAM site now.