Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Never before seen Duckworth-Roskam 6th CD face-off

Another Public Affairs exclusive:

This week's suburban edition of Public Affairs features Video clips of 6th CD candidates Tammy Duckworth [D-Hoffman Estates] and Sen. Peter Roskam [R-Wheaton] debating the issues on October 19, 2006 on Chicago Public Radio, 91.5 FM Radio, WBEZ, on Steve Edwards’ always excellent program, Eight Forty-Eight, as well as video clips of the pressers that followed the debate. Go here, and scroll down to or click on October 19, 2006 to listen to the entire 27 minute Duckworth-Roskam segment, but without the press conferences that followed.
The WBEZ 6th CD Candidate debate focused on Iraq, North Korea and immigration, and to a lesser extent: Taxes, abortion, guns, stem cell research and promoting a more civil tone in Congress. Go here for more about the 6th CD debate.
A partial transcript of the debate and pressers from this week's suburban edition of Public Affairs is included, below.
Major Tammy Duckworth: …He [Roskam] is to the right of [Cong.] Henry Hyde [R-Addison, 6th CD], even on the assault weapons ban. Mr. Hyde stood up and voted against his own party and was an independent voice and said fully automatic assault weapons do not belong in the streets. Mr. Roskam would actually like to have them on our streets…

Steve Edwards [Host, Eight Forty-Eight]: All right, let’s come to the final question then, I want each of you to tell us—

Duckworth: Can I just finish real quickly?

Peter Roskam: I mean we are at two minutes and you are going to let her close like that, and then toss it open? Spare me.

Edwards: Well, fine. All right, if you want to pick up on that very quickly…

Roskam: There are a couple of issues. There are factual errors in what my opponent just said. Automatic weapons have been illegal since the 1930s. I rolled up my sleeves in the General Assembly and closed the gun show loophole. I am the person that made it illegal for domestic abusers to have a firearm. I am the one that has worked in the General Assembly to make sure that penalties are enhanced for people that use firearms--

Edwards: Although, it is true that you didn’t support the federal assault weapon ban.

Peter Roskam: That’s true. Right. But, let me ask you this, Steve. What weapon in the hands of a criminal is not an assault weapon? You know my opponent fundamentally misrepresented and mischaracterized the debate. Automatic weapons on the streets of Illinois? As if a guy that’s raising four kids in this in this District wants automatic weapons on the streets. That’s an absurdity. As it relates to embryonic stem cell research…
From the WBEZ 6th CD debate portion of this week’s suburban edition of “Public Affairs.” The debate occurred on October 19, 2006. See here for the suburban schedule of Public Affairs.
Sen. Peter Roskam: The decision to make tax cuts permanent is one roll call. So that if you are not in favor of making them [tax cuts] all permanent, ultimately you are in favor of making none of them permanent…
Sen. Roskam: …The goal of democratization of the Middle East is a glorious goal and it is one that we should aspire to. The ability of the United States alone to influence that? I think we recognize, most Americans, that we have limitations on our own influence in the region…
Jeff Berkowitz: Peter, do you think your opponent wants to make this race about abortion and embryonic stem cell research and if she does and she succeeds, does that hurt you?

Sen. Roskam: Well, I think my opponent is very leery of talking about the immigration question, for example. The anecdote that I gave you [during the debate from] yesterday was dead on. I am in a store. A guy in Bloomingdale comes up to me, seeks me out and says, “I’m Shawn and I’m voting for you because I agree with you on immigration.” So, she [Duckworth] either was misinformed or does not understand that the Senate version of the immigration bill that she has embraced puts a 5.2 billion dollar obligation on social security. That’s objective. I mean that is according to the Congressional Budget Office [“CBO”].

Berkowitz: Is that if the people who are currently here illegally become legal immigrants- is it your supposition—

Sen. Roskam: Yes, and what it does- no, it is not my supposition

Berkowitz: It is the CBO?

Sen. Roskam: It is the CBO. And, that’s been reported in the Post and so forth. So, my opponent—I think she [Duckworth] has really gotten under a little bit of quicksand on the immigration issue and then the tax issue in particular.
Berkowitz: Has the Republican [House] Majority not asked tough enough questions on the War? You said you would ask tough questions, as would Tammy Duckworth. Would you say the Republican Majority has been too easy on the President on the War?

Sen. Peter Roskam: I think there are more difficult questions that need to be asked.
Jeff Berkowitz: Tammy, you’ve talked about training and you’ve said we need to train up [the Iraqi Army]. The Wall St. Journal has reported recently that the Army has been making a mistake of using inexperienced reservists to do that training or mentoring. Do you agree with that criticism? [See Oct. 18, 2006 WSJ, p.A1; online WSJ site available, in large part, only to subscribers]

Tammy Duckworth: I deeply resent you implying that the members of the National Guard or Reserve are not up to standards. In Iraq, my battalion flew—

Jeff Berkowitz: Excuse me, but the Wall St. Journal said they [the U. S. Military] were using people who were not very experienced to do the training.

Tammy Duckworth: Well, that is absolutely untrue. [Ed. Note: According to the WSJ, it is true. Berkowitz’ mistake, however, was to say “inexperienced reservists.” Although the WSJ lead example is about using inexperienced reservists to train Iraqis, it is clear that the issue discussed in the article pertains to the use of inexperienced members of the military, in general, not just reservists, to “train up,” the Iraqi army. Of course, Berkowitz clarified that in his follow-up question, but Ms. Duckworth does not have appear to have been listening, by that point. Moreover, it would seem to be a good idea for a congressional candidate to read, regularly, at least the first page [which is where the cited article appeared one day before the Debate] and editorial page of the WSJ, and even more of a good idea for someone who is campaigning on the issue of “training up,” the Iraqi military forces to keep current on how the U. S. military is, or is not, doing that.]

Jeff Berkowitz: It wasn’t a criticism of all reservists [or even any reservists].

Tammy Duckworth: That was not true. Our reserve forces are trained and pass the exact same standards as the active duty forces. And, I know, because my unit in Iraq flew more missions than any other aviation unit in Iraq at that time. As a matter of fact, I was flying a mission for the First Cavalry Division because they needed help from the Illinois Army National Guard. So, that’s not true. [Ed. Note: All of what Ms. Duckworth said could be true, but none of it is relevant to whether the U. S. Military is using inexperienced reservists and inexperienced active duty forces to “train up,” the Iraqi Army, and whether that is a good idea]
Tammy Duckworth: The evidence is clear that our very presence in Iraq is making the situation worse, which is why I advocate the beginning of a drawdown [of U. S. troops in Iraq] immediately 2007, tied to the stand up of the Iraqi Security Forces.
Times of London Reporter: Do you think the President lied?

Tammy Duckworth: I think the truth was massaged in order to get us to—you know—I don’t think we got the true intelligence report of what was going on.
Tammy Duckworth: Iraq is one of the top three issues in my district. The other two issues are our national debt. We have nine trillion dollars in national debt and that is affecting our economy, and it is affecting the ability of the people in my district to afford health care [and] education, and also we need to look at energy independence. That is another big issue in my District. And, energy independence [has] become a national security issue because the money that we spend on gas goes to Iran which is then used to build nuclear weapons.

Jeff Berkowitz: You don’t think immigration is a major issue in your District?

Tammy Duckworth: I think immigration is an issue in the District, but it has become an issue because Mr. Roskam, who has been following and rubberstamping the Republican playbook, has suddenly discovered it’s an issue. He has been in the state legislature for many years now; he has never, ever, ever talked about immigration and suddenly before an election he starts talking about this in exact wording from the national Republican Party and you know, I think he is just following the Republican playbook on this. We have a real problem with immigration but let’s talk about real solution[s] instead of using it as a way to exploit for political gain.
Excerpts from the press conferences that followed the WBEZ, Eight Forty-Eight 6th CD debate on October 19, 2006, and as is airing, along with portions of the debate, this week as the suburban edition of Public Affairs. See here for the airing schedule of the suburban edition of “Public Affairs.”
Jeff Berkowitz, Show Host/Producer of "Public Affairs," and Executive Legal Recruiter doing legal search can be reached at JBCG@aol.com