Sunday, October 24, 2010

Florida Senatorial Debate (Round 5)

Miami Herald: Florida Senate debate serves up zingers, issues
In a spirited debate among Florida's trio of Senate candidates, each got in his digs at the others and even managed to address some of the issues of substance.

PolitiFact: Candidates in Florida's three-way U.S. Senate race stay on the attack

CNN: LIVE BLOG from the Florida Senate debate

THE HILL: Crist, Meek try to paint Rubio as too extreme in Sunday Senate debate

Palm Beach Post: 'Welcome to the NFL': Charlie Crist, Kendrick Meek hit hard in Senate debate with Marco Rubio

WSJ: Rubio, Crist Argue Over Tax Cut Compromise

Marco Rubio, front-runner in the Florida Senate race, said today that he supports compromise, but appeared to reject any agreement that does not extend Bush-era tax cuts for Americans of all incomes. That drew a rebuke from his closest challenger, Gov. Charlie Crist, running as an independent. “Sometimes you have to compromise,” Mr. Crist said.

Both men, along with other Republicans, support renewing Bush-era income tax cuts for all Americans; President Barack Obama and most Democrats want to end them for families earning more than $250,000 a year.

During a debate today on CNN, Mr. Rubio was asked if he would be willing to meet Democrats in a compromise.

“There’s a difference between compromise and cutting a deal. Compromise is a good thing. Cutting deals in Washington, there’s too much of that… Any compromise that does not extend the current tax code to everybody is a tax increase,” said Mr. Rubio, who leads the three-way Florida contest.

He said he does not support allowing any taxes to rise with the economy as bad as it is now, and said his position was bipartisan because some Democrats feel the same way.

The Bush-era tax cuts expire at the end of the year, and Congress plans to return to Washington after the election to consider whether to extend them for some or all Americans. The White House says the country cannot afford to keep the lower rates for top earners, noting will cost $700 billion over 10 years to do so. Neither Democrats nor Republicans have said how they will offset the cost of extending any of the tax cuts, and the presumption is that both plans will add to the deficit.

On Friday, Vice President Joe Biden suggested the White House might be open to a compromise on the matter.

Gov. Crist used the Sunday morning debate to make a larger point about politics. He noted that House Minority Leader John Boehner came under fire from Republicans after he said that he would support legislation to extend the tax cuts only for the middle class, if that bill was before him.

“Within moments, the wrath of the right wing of the Republican Party comes crashing down on the guy’s head. He has to essentially reverse his view and say no way,” Mr. Crist said. “Sometimes you have to compromise.” He said he’d like all tax cuts extended but would support extending them for the middle class now and working on the rest next year. He later added that “this kind of bickering back and forth,” and putting forth of “ideological arguments without common sense” frustrates him.

“That’s why I’m running as an independent is to give the people of Florida a choice,” he said.

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