Jack Conway, Rand Paul debate key issues on national TV

October 03, 2010 | | Comments 34

By Jack Brammer –

LOUISVILLE – In the first of at least five debates in Kentucky’s U.S. Senate race, Democrat Jack Conway and Republican Rand Paul clashed Sunday on a national television show over issues that have defined their campaigns in recent weeks.

Appearing on Fox News Sunday with host Chris Wallace, Conway and Paul argued about how best to fix the economy, shore up federal entitlement programs and fight drug abuse, among other things.

Paul accused Conway of being a surrogate for President Barack Obama’s agenda, citing Conway’s support for a federal health care overhaul law and the federal stimulus bill.

“I think this election really is about the president’s agenda,” Paul said.

Conway, the state’s attorney general, tried to distance himself from the president, who is unpopular in many parts of the state, by staking out positions contrary to Obama on three key issues.

Conway said he would vote to extend tax cuts enacted under former President George W. Bush, would have opposed a federal bank bailout because it lacked accountability and would have voted against a “cap-and-trade” bill to control carbon emissions because it would have increased electricity rates and hurt the coal mining industry.

Paul accused Conway of flip-flopping on those issues, citing comments made by Conway during the primary election in which he made more nuanced statements about the bank bailout, extending tax cuts and cap-and-trade.

Meanwhile, Conway continued to highlight past statements by Paul that show “he’s out-of-touch with the mainstream values of Kentucky.”

“There’s a real clear choice between someone who has taken on the drug issue and someone who says drugs aren’t a pressing issue, someone who stands up to criminals and someone who says non-violent behavior shouldn’t be a crime, someone who supports the rights of the disabled and someone who has said that he is against the American Disabilities Act, between someone who is going to stand up and protect Medicare and someone who says Medicare needs a $2,000 deductible,” Conway said.

Paul has said his comments on several of those issues have been misquoted or taken out of context.

Moderator Wallace told Paul, a Bowling Green eye surgeon making his first bid for public office, that he says little about Conway on the campaign trail and offered him the opportunity to do so.

“We’re waiting for him to catch up a little bit in the polls and then we may refer to him more,” Paul said, adding that Conway should either defend or run away from Obama.

With both candidates dressed in dark suits and red ties and seated side-by-side at the Fox affiliate’s studio in Louisville, Wallace pressed them to identify one benefit they would reduce in entitlement programs such as Medicare and Social Security.

Conway said he favors allowing bulk purchasing of drugs for Medicare recipients.

Paul suggested that the retirement age for Social Security will have to be raised for younger workers. “You’re going to have to have eligibility changes for younger people,” he said.

When discussing the federal stimulus plan, Wallace reminded the candidates that Kentucky has received $3 billion from the fund.

Paul said the state has lost 17,000 jobs despite the stimulus and noted that future generations will have to repay the money borrowed to fund the program.

“Jack acts like the money is for free, just go and get it from Santa Claus in Washington,” Paul said.

Such debt is “threatening the very foundations of our economy,” Paul said.

Conway said he is proposing a tax credit on businesses to create jobs and will try to get small banks to lend more money for economic development.

The two candidates also traded barbs on their concern for illegal drugs.

Conway noted that Paul has said drugs are “not a pressing issue,” but Paul said, as a physician and father, he is concerned about drugs.

He said the number of methamphetamine labs in Kentucky has doubled since Conway took office as the state’s chief law-enforcement official.

Conway countered by saying his office is finding more drug labs because meth has become easier to produce in so-called “shake and bake labs.”

On whether he would vote for U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell of Louisville as the Senate’s GOP leader, Paul said he plans to vote for McConnell for the leadership position. He hedged a bit by adding that he presumes McConnell will be the choice of the Senate GOP caucus, “and I will vote for whoever comes out of the caucus meeting.”

Before Sunday’s debate started, the candidates were greeted by a few of their supporters in front of WDRB-TV in downtown Louisville. Both camps had put up some of their campaign signs.

Both candidates left the station without talking to reporters.

The next debate for Conway and Paul is scheduled for Oct. 11 in Covington for the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce.

Other debates are scheduled for: Oct. 14, Paducah Area Chamber of Commerce; Oct. 17, University of Louisville/WHAS TV on the University of Louisville Belknap Campus; and Oct. 25, Kentucky Educational Television in Lexington.

Filed Under: ElectionsJack ConwayRand PaulUS Senate Race

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  1. fredchill2 says:

    Conway distanced himself from Obama? What a fool. Obama and communism will be left standing once the fight is over.

  2. HackRichards says:

    Rand is the man. Remember November!
    A Conservative Revolution Begins! Down with Progressive Liberal Socialistic Communism!

  3. mo_ky_fellow says:

    The November 3rd headlines in the Lexington Herald-Leader and the Louisville Courier-Journal will read:


    and I’ll bet that will bring tears to the eyes of all the reporters at both papers.

  4. joseyj says:

    Conway was superb!! He certainly has great solutions and a good grasp of government of, by, and for the people – including its limitations.
    Perhaps Paul could move to Somalia where there is NO government – only chaos. Or – a banana republic that’s ruled by the wealthy elites.

  5. AngelaW says:

    Paul made the Con dance like a little girl in a parade,cute, but with little substance. The Con couldn’t and wouldn’t explain why he voted the way he did, denied he was for cap and trade, and almost ran backwards from the Obama and Pelosi names.

  6. joseyj says:

    Fox & Frightwing radio use “socialism” to scare their followers into voting Republican – against their own best interests. And some Christian pastors are feeding this craziness to their flocks. But sure beats Republicans actually having to come up with solutions for our country!

    Recently, Boehner said Republicans would offer ideas to improve the economy AFTER the election. LOL – pig in a poke?
    Apparently, he’s relying on fearmongering to keep Righties in line.

  7. Jack Conway, Rand Paul debate key issues on national TV ……

    I found your entry interesting do I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)…

  8. Eric says:

    So when will the Herald-Leader call out Conway for supporting raising the retirement age back in 2002 (there is video)? And this man started that “waffle house” thing? Sheesh.

  9. Prof. Gilligan says:

    Below, is a portion of the debate transcripts where Conway touted his vast accomplishments as Kentucky Attorney General. I may be wrong, but it’s my impression that Conway has been a very “do-nothing” Attorney General. Can anyone, (by way of example), substantiate Jack Conway’s claims?
    Quote: “As attorney general, I have stood up for the people of Kentucky. I’ve taken on pharmaceutical companies when they have lied to our Medicaid program. I have taken on oil companies that have gouged us. I have taken on anyone that would do wrong by the people of Kentucky.”


  10. Jim says:

    The one thing that sticks out in that article, is that Rand said he would vote for whoever came out of the caucus to be the leader if the Republicans took over the Senate…this means he is not an independent thinker like some thought, but just another lapdog for the Republican Party. How can you accuse Conway of being in Obama’s pocket, when he is obviously in McConnell’s pocket before he is even elected to public office?

  11. JKR says:

    Jim, you think he would vote for a Democrat for leader? The caucus in the Senate equates to a primary. If there were enough votes in caucus to get a different leader (say if the election is SO overwhelmingly dismissive of current leadership that seems appropriate to most) he could vote in caucus for the proper leader. However, that seems like a very unlikely situation since Mitch has gone around with a whip card and says he has the votes to be leader, with or without Rand Paul’s vote. Why would Rand Paul vote against the caucus choice? Only to show disunity?

  12. whiteraisin71 says:

    Video: Rand Paul’s Scott Brown moment

    Wendell Ford’s seat? Seriously?

    Democrats believe themselves entitled to these seats

  13. charlie says:

    I would like to commend Jack Brammer. This article is not biased, it only reported the story. We need more of this type of reporting from this paper.

  14. […] Jack Conway, Rand Paul debate key issues on national TV … […]

  15. […] the original post:  Jack Conway, Rand Paul debate key issues on national TV … By admin | category: KENT, KENTUCKY | tags: conway, democrat-jack, KENT, KENTUCKY, […]

  16. pendulumstopped says:

    “and I’ll bet that will bring tears to the eyes of all the reporters at both papers.”

    perhaps .. but the election will bring smiles to the business folks at both papers, since they’ll sell extra copies that day .. no matter who wins

  17. Don says:

    Rand Paul makes Chris Wallace look like the most liberal guy in the world.

    “Obamacare did this…”

    “No sir, it didn’t.”

  18. Paul says:

    @Prof. Gilligan:

    Everything you could possibly want to know. There are only two reasons you would think Conway has been a “do nothing” AG:

    1) You have no idea what a State Attorney General does. (Hint: a lot, actually.)

    2) Conway does his job quietly and competently and doesn’t toot his own horn except when/where appropriate.

    I’m guessing both.

  19. Buck Feshear says:

    I don’t think either of these men would make a good junior senator from Kentucky, but in this debate Paul made Conway look like even more of a featherweight than he really is.

  20. […] Jack Conway, Rand Paul debate key issues on national TV … […]

  21. chris says:

    such as it is paul took conway to the woodshed and spanked him in a fair debate.conway loked tight and did not like having to defend himself.paul looked relaxed and prepaired.

  22. Streetlight84 says:

    The debate boiled down to Rand Paul believing that Kentucky citizens are able to govern themselves on the local level while Jack Conway puts his faith in Washington. I find it insulting that Mr. Conway believes unelected bureaucrats know better how to govern our state of affairs in Kentucky rather than leaving decisions up to our own citizenry. Mr. Paul won this debate handedly.

  23. Ranting Rand says:

    Of course Rand Paul is nationalizing the election and only talking about Obama because he offers no specifics whatsoever on what he will do for the people of KY. He is not running for Senate to help the people of KY. He could care less about KY. He just wants to get up there and try to turn the country into a bunch of Bigot Libertarians. And just like KY showed the country during the last presidential election, we’re just the type of people who are going to send him up there. Why do we need to send him to Washington and pay his salary if he’s against EVERY federal program. He can stay home to vote NO on everything….just like Mitch should.

  24. […] The Republican/Tea Party candidate for Kentucky Rand Paul and his opponent, Democrat Jack Conway, had a debate on October 2nd. What are Paul’s ideas on how to fix the economy? Well, Conway stated that the […]

  25. Susan Crossen says:

    Once more Fox has shown it’s partisanship with the amount of time it gives to each candidate and the methodology of it’s questions.
    I will bet on Paul getting elected. Just look at the looney inbred crackpots that this state keeps putting in office over and over again.
    Elections like this one make me wish the Civil War had split the country into two. Then the conservative lackeys could have their slave states still.
    Wake up! Join the 21st century! The rest of us have moved on without you. We are in the 22nd.

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  27. Paul has said his comments on several of those issues have been misquoted or taken out of context.

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