By Beth Musgrave
DANVILLE — Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear told a vice presidential debate forum early Thursday that he thinks President Barack Obama will win in a squeaker on Nov. 6.
Republican Mitt Romney has changed his tune too many times, Beshear said. The real Romney was the man who was secretly recorded deriding the 47 percent of Americans who allegedly don’t pay taxes, Beshear said.
Beshear was the final speaker at a Politico-sponsored debate preview forum at the Community Arts Center in downtown Danville. The Politico forum was the first event in a daylong festival before Thursday night’s debate at Centre College between Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan.
The forum also featured Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisconsin, and Frank Fahrenkopft and Mike McCurry, co-chairmen of the Commission on Presidential Debates.
No one expects Obama to win Kentucky, who lost the state to Republican John McCain in 2008. Beshear said Obama’s poor standing in Kentucky doesn’t surprise him.
“Kentucky has always been a schizophrenic state,” Beshear said.
Kentucky voted for Democrat Jimmy Carter and then later voted for Republican Ronald Reagan. But the state also voted overwhelmingly for Bill Clinton, a Democrat. Voters also have elected two conservative Republican senators — Sen. Rand Paul and Sen. Mitch McConnell — but Democrats hold all but one state constitutional office.
Beshear also said that a plan touted by the Romney-Ryan ticket to turn Medicaid into a block grant program would be “disastrous” for states. The state-federal program for the poor and disabled is mainly paid for by the federal government. But moving it to a grant program will simply mean less money for the states, Beshear said.
Johnson, meanwhile, said he expected Ryan to have Biden on the defensive tonight because the Obama administration has only made things worse, not better, over the past four years.
“It’s been his policies that have made this recovery so uneven,” Johnson said.
Middle class families are worse off today than they were four years ago, he said.
Fahrenkopf said Centre College was picked to host the vice presidential debate because of the excellent job it did in 2000 hosting the debate between Democrat Joe Lieberman and Republican Vice President Dick Cheney.
“We were tremendously impressed,” Fahrenkopf said.
Centre College will have a day-long festival featuring music groups and speakers before and after Thursday night’s debate.