Joe Sestak in 2010 PA Senate Debates


On Budget & Economy: Auto & bank bailouts were to clean up Bush's mess

The two men traded jabs on economic issues. "We can't borrow and spend our way to prosperity, otherwise Greece would have the best economy in the world," said Toomey, founder of a small chain of family restaurants and a former Wall Street trader. He said Sestak did not understand how to create jobs, criticizing his rival's votes for the financial-industry bailout and rescues of General Motors and Chrysler, as well as the stimulus.

Sestak said he had to clean up the mess left behind by irresponsible spending and tax-cutting under President George W. Bush. "We'd been torpedoed and had to caulk the holes," he said.

The two actually agreed that the tone of their race had grown negative, but neither accepted blame for it. Both defended their ads as issues-based and accurate.

Source: Philadelphia Inquirer coverage of 2010 PA Senate debate Oct 23, 2010

On Corporations: The plaque says 'We the People,' not 'We the Corporations'

Toomey accused Sestak of supporting policies of bigger spending and higher taxes. He argued that such policies are have "a chilling effect on our ability to create jobs." Sestak attacked Toomey's pro-business stance. Pointing to the backdrop of the debat hall, Sestak said, "It says above us in Constitution Hall, 'We the People.' Not, 'We the Corporations'"

In closing remarks, Sestak repeated his people approach in this election. "It is we the people. Not we the corporations; nor we Wall Street."

Source: Epoch Times coverage of 2010 PA Senate debate Oct 23, 2010

On Foreign Policy: China is a threat by holding so much of our reserves

China was mentioned as a source of national security concern when the candidates were asked about the nature of the threats facing the US. Sestak replied "It is actually our economic security. China."

"They hold so much of our reserves. If they dumped them on the stock market--imagine what would happen. Remember, it really is a strong economy that undergirds our military. That undergirds our education, that undergirds our health system," said Sestak.

His rival agreed with him on that one.

Source: Epoch Times coverage of 2010 PA Senate debate Oct 23, 2010

On Free Trade: Tax companies who fire US workers & import goods from China

Asked "How do you bring jobs back to Pennsylvania?", Sestak criticized the Bush administration's China policy and attacked his opponent for supporting it. "Corporations have gone overseas. My opponent voted that if a corporation shuts down its factory here in Pennsylvania; fires its employees; and then invests in a factory in China; and then cheap goods come in, often illegally subsidized by China; then no tax is given to the process of that large corporation, where jobs have gone overseas."
Source: Epoch Times coverage of 2010 PA Senate debate Oct 23, 2010

On Principles & Values: TV ad: Toomey's record is same as Sen. Rick Santorum's

The two actually agreed that the tone of their race had grown negative, but neither accepted blame for it. Both defended their ads as issues-based and accurate.

Sestak's ads have targeted Toomey as far to the right. One uses Toomey's own words, saying his record is "indistinguishable" from staunchly conservative former Sen. Rick Santorum's. Ads from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee rip Toomey for his support of free trade and votes for policies the group says have shipped American jobs to China.

The free-market advocacy group Club for Growth, which Toomey once led, bought $1 million worth of advertising time in the Philadelphia media market Thursday for a new ad attacking Sestak as "just another liberal" dancing to the tune of President Obama and the Democratic leadership. "Yes, Joe Sestak served honorably in the Navy," the new 30-second spot says. "His service in Congress is the problem."

Source: Philadelphia Inquirer coverage of 2010 PA Senate debate Oct 23, 2010

On Energy & Oil: Offshore drilling moratorium; oversight of Marcellus Shale

Toomey is skeptical of proposals to expand federal oversight of drilling in the Marcellus Shale fields. He opposes open-ended moratoriums on new ocean drilling, arguing that the nation needs the oil from deep water wells.

Sestak counters that Toomey's aversion to government regulation poses short- and long-term threats to the environment and the economy. Sestak has endorsed legislation that would bring Marcellus Shale drilling under the oversight of the Safe Drinking Water Act. He has echoed President Barack Obama's call for a strict moratorium on offshore drilling. Before the Deepwater Horizon spill, he expressed reservations about the administration's decision to expand the areas available for offshore drilling.

Those issues have provided ammunition for persistent sniping: "Toomey sides with Big Oil in the wake of BP disaster," Sestak charged in a press statements. "On energy, Sestak to the left of many Democrats," a Toomey statement contended.

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette coverage of 2010 PA Senate Debates Jun 14, 2010

On Energy & Oil: Championed cap-and-trade; market forces to reduce emissions

Toomey is a sharp critic of the cap-and-trade bill supported by his opponent, contending that it would have disastrous consequences for Pennsylvania businesses. Sestak championed the House version of cap-and-trade legislation designed to use market force to increase the costs of carbon emissions.

Toomey claims Sestak's voting record is more liberal than the views of his state on energy as on other issues. On cap and trade, for example, Toomey notes that four of Sestak's colleagues in the House Democratic delegation voted against the bill.

Defending his vote in favor of cap-and-trade, Sestak counters that it would actually increase the number of jobs in the state in the longer term. Sestak invokes a a 2009 estimate that the bill would add more than 70,000 jobs in Pennsylvania. Sestak maintains that the carbon curbs would help protect the state's $4.7 billion agriculture industry. He concedes its emissions controls could lead to residential electricity price increases in the short term.

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette coverage of 2010 PA Senate Debates Jun 14, 2010

On Energy & Oil: Global warming is principally man-made; regulate CO2

The candidates differ on the core issue of global warming, and whether climate legislation would do anything to alleviate it.

Toomey acknowledges that global warming exists but he is an agnostic on the crucial question of whether it is a product of human activity. "There's no question that the Earth's surface temperature has increased," he said in a statement. "There is much debate in the scientific community as to the precise sources of global warming."

Sestak said global warming is principally man-made, citing a series of scientific findings on the matter. "I know Congressman Toomey is quite extreme, quite radical, but the vast majority of the mainstream says yes, it is man-made," he said.

In keeping with those positions, the opponents split this week on a closely watched Senate bill, sponsored by Sen. Lisa Murkowski, that would have stripped the EPA of the ability to regulate carbon dioxide emissions. Sestak's campaign said he would have opposed the measure. Toomey supported the bill.

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette coverage of 2010 PA Senate Debates Jun 14, 2010

On Gun Control: Extend the ban on assault weapons

On crime, Specter pointed to his support for bills to toughen sentences for career criminals, while Sestak said he would support an extension of the ban on assault weapons, which Specter opposed.
Source: Lehigh Valley Live coverage of 2010 PA Senate debate May 1, 2010

On Homeland Security: 2005 Navy reassignment: personnel change or morale issue?

Specter opened the debate demanding an apology for a Sestak ad in which a veteran asks Specter not to "lie" about Sestak's Navy record, and he repeatedly asked Sestak to release his service records to explain a 2005 reassignment by the Navy.

Sestak ignored the requests, called his service honorable and aggressively worked to tie Specter to the policies of former Pres. Bush. "There is no record except the Republican record for Arlen Specter," Sestak said.

Specter countered that he had stood with Democrats on their top priorities, even during his 28 years as a Republican. Specter switched parties last year.

Sestak has said he was reassigned in 2005 because the newly appointed chief naval officer wanted his own team in charge. Specter has cited a report in the Navy Times that said Sestak was reassigned from his job as deputy chief of naval operations for creating a poor command climate--a term for morale.

Source: Lehigh Valley Live coverage of 2010 PA Senate debate May 1, 2010

On War & Peace: Put pressure on al-Qaida safe havens in neighboring Pakistan

They clashed over Obama's decision last year to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan--Specter said it is unwise to ally with an untrustworthy Afghan President Hamid Karzai while Sestak said is important to put pressure on al-Qaida safe havens in neighboring Pakistan.
Source: Lehigh Valley Live coverage of 2010 PA Senate debate May 1, 2010

On Budget & Economy: Deregulation of banks led to the economic meltdown

Sestak blamed Toomey, who was a member of Congress from 1998 through 2004, for supporting the Bush tax cuts and deregulation of banks and brokerages, which he argued helped lead to the economic meltdown.

"I learned in the Navy to expect what you inspect," said Sestak, a retired admiral who served for 30 years in the Navy before being elected to Congress in 2006. "Even little league football has a referee on the field. He [Toomey] removed the referee from Wall Street."

Toomey said he admired Sestak's creative mind, but said his opponent did not understand the financial system. The real threat to the economy, he said, is in the billions of dollars spent on bailouts for banks and the auto industry, along with the economic stimulus and now a health-care regime that he said were all pushing the deficit to stratospheric levels. "Some people believe if you are productive and successful you should get soaked and get soaked hard. I just don't believe in that," Toomey said.

Source: Philadelphia Inquirer coverage of 2010 PA Senate Debates Apr 12, 2010

On Health Care: Ban denying coverage due to pre-existing conditions

On health care, Sestak lauded the Democrats' recent reform package with specifics such as the ban on denying coverage to those with pre-existing conditions.

Toomey lashed back saying he would work to repeal health care reform and replace it with other measures such as the purchase of insurance across state lines.

Source: The Express-Times coverage of 2010 PA Senate debate Apr 11, 2010

On Tax Reform: No flat tax; focus on the working family, not Wall Street

Sestak and Toomey had agreed to debate on the economy, although only about half of the questions from the audience focused on that topic. "Well, it all relates to the economy," one audience member noted.

The two candidates found some common ground on questions geared toward the economy. Both said federal spending needs to be reduced.

"When I was (in Congress) I was fighting against the spending that was going on," said Toomey.

Sestak said he would like to see the government extend help to the group he says drives the economy--"The working family, not Wall Street"--by getting tax cuts to that group.

Sestak said he does not support the flat tax as he said Toomey does, and the government should look to guarantee community bank loans to entice borrowers.

Toomey said he believes in strengthening the economy through lower taxes, less spending and increasing domestic energy production.

Source: The Express-Times coverage of 2010 PA Senate debate Apr 11, 2010

The above quotations are from 2010 Pennsylvania Senate Debates.
Click here for other excerpts from 2010 Pennsylvania Senate Debates.
Click here for other excerpts by Joe Sestak.
Click here for a profile of Joe Sestak.
Joe Sestak on other issues:
Abortion
Budget/Economy
Civil Rights
Corporations
Crime
Drugs
Education
Energy/Oil
Environment
Families
Foreign Policy
Free Trade
Govt. Reform
Gun Control
Health Care
Homeland Security
Immigration
Jobs
Principles
Social Security
Tax Reform
Technology
War/Peace
Welfare
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Page last updated: Nov 01, 2010