Thank you for your response. Ken may have mis-spoke, but his desire is to serve the people of Colorado period. As the prosecuting attorney for Weld County, Ken was the only DA in the country to try a hate crime that involved a transgender individual and win. Too often comments are misunderstood and taken out of context, but the hope is that you will realize Ken's commitment to Colorado and its citizens.
Bennet and the Democrats have swiped at Buck for his social conservatism. Buck punched back at Democratic efforts to highlight those position instead of his promises to cut taxes & federal spending. But the abortion question didn't go away. At one point in the debate, and Bennet laid into Buck for opposing abortion rights. "Who's going to jail?" Bennet asked, referring to women seeking abortions.
Buck replied, "I don't think abortion's going to be criminalized anytime soon. You have tried once again to take this debate off-topic. Once again, I am going to focus my campaign on the issues Colorado voters care about."
Asked by the host to elaborate on a statement he made in an earlier debate about gays in the military, Buck said he believes sexual orientation is a choice. Buck went on to say, "I think that birth has an influence over it, like alcoholism and some other things, but I think that basically you have a choice."
Bennet jumped on Buck's remark. "I absolutely believe he's outside the mainstream of views on this," Bennet said.
After the debate, a Buck spokesman said Buck did not mean to imply with his alcoholism comparison that Buck believes homosexuality is a disease. Buck told The Denver Post after the debate that he "wasn't talking about being gay as a disease" but also said of his remark that "there's no doubt there will probably be a commercial on something like that" from Democrats.
BUCK: I do.
Q: Based on what?
BUCK: Based on what?
Q: Yeah, why do you believe that?
BUCK: Well, I guess, you can choose who your partner is.
Q: You don't think it's something that's determined at birth?
BUCK: I think that birth has an influence over like alcoholism and some other things, but I think that basically you, you have a choice.
Q: [to Bennet]: Does that put him outside the mainstream of views on this?
BENNET: I absolutely believe he's outside the mainstream of views on this.
BUCK: The rape was reviewed by a prosecutor with 30 years prosecutorial experience. He declined to prosecute. Two female chief deputies reviewed the case, talked to witnesses; they declined to prosecute. The Boulder County district attorney's office declined to prosecute and told me that the case couldn't be prosecuted.
Q: But do you regret the way you talked to her?
BUCK: I don't regret the way I talked to her. It is important that a prosecutor approach a victim with a certain amount of reality, and that's what I tried to do with this victim. I didn't blame her at all.
Q: Explain why.
BUCK: I've been to over 800 events and I have talked about the 17th Amendment. Someone asked me a question. I said, 'The short answer is yes, but...' and then I gave an explanation of why I thought there were better answers to restoring the balance of power between the states and the federal government than the 17th Amendment. Senator Bennet has played a commercial over and over that misstates, misquotes, misleads on that issue. The next day, I called the person back and said, 'You know, I've thought about it, and I don't want to leave you with the impression that the answer is yes.' Fifteen times more, with the Democrat tracker camera in my face, I explained that I wasn't in favor of repealing the 17th Amendment.
BUCK: I think it's a legitimate political movement. Folks are frustrated that we are spending so much money in Washington, and they're every bit as frustrated with the Republicans as they are with the Democrats, because the Republicans are every bit as much to blame for the mess that we're in. That frustration has exhibited itself in a lot of energy. Folks are not going to try to send the same type of Republican to Washington that they've sent in the past.
Q: The NAACP released a report concluding, We found Tea Party ranks to be permeated with concerns about race and national identity." Your response?
BUCK: I've been to over 800 events in Colorado in the last 20 months. I have not seen that. And, and I find it offensive that folks would try to label the tea party in that way. It's just not true in Colorado.
BUCK: No, I don't. I think we've got to find spending cuts. And I don't know what you're talking about in terms of tax cuts.
Q: Extending the Bush-era tax cuts for the highest earners. The president says it would cost an extra $700 billion. If you want to cut that deficit, do you then have to pay for the tax cuts you want to extend?
BUCK: Well, first, where are the families going to pay for the money that they've got to send the federal government? That's the bigger question to me.
Q: You either believe in the balanced budget or you do not. If you extend tax cuts, you said just a moment ago they have to be paid for. Then how do you pay for it?
BUCK: We pay for it by cutting spending. When we leave money in the hands of taxpayers, they buy things; they pay taxes. It's not a one for one exchange. Every economist I've talked to has told me that it would be bad in a recession to try to increase taxes.
BUCK: Well, I don't think we set artificial deadlines. I think that we set realistic goals, and, and try to accomplish those goals. I don't think we should be nation-building, I don't think we should be staying there over the long-term
Q: What if General Petraeus says, "You know what, it's July 2011, but if we're going to achieve our goals, we can't pull any troops out. May need more troops, may need to surge up again here." Well, you could support that because you don't believe in deadlines?
BUCK: No, I didn't say I could support that. I don't believe in deadlines, I don't believe in telling the enemy when we're going to withdraw. I need to know what he thinks the goals are. And if I agree with those goals, then evaluate at that point.
Bennet said the stimulus bill hasn't been more effective because the U.S. recession was even worse than initially believed.
Buck dismissed that to the crowd. "(Bennet) stood up and took credit for a conduit that others had worked on for 10 years," he said.
Bennet said he too wanted to change the new Democratic health legislation, but not its essentials. "I'm not going to repeal it because people with pre-existing conditions will again be denied health care coverage," he said.
Buck insisted he would repeal it--getting a cheer from supporters. Buck said the law was produced by a "corrupt" process, especially the special concessions granted Nebraska and Louisiana senators to win their votes. "And I don't believe in centralizing the authority in the American government over one-seventh of our economy," he said, calling it the "nationalization" of U.S. health care.
Bennet went further, saying the Army understands expansion is not an option in the near future. "They understand they have to work the geography they have now," he said.
Bennet replied, "You can call it amnesty if you want. I'm willing to call it (President) George Bush's policy in Texas as well as that of the Wall Street Journal for the past 10 years."
Buck charged that Bennet's television ads were dishonest, taking snippets of Buck's comments to portray him as wanting to privatize Social Security. Buck said he supported redesigning Social Security so that younger workers in the future would have the option of investing in separate retirement accounts. No one paying into the system would lose benefits, he insisted. "I've never said we should privatize Social Security," he told Bennet, who made that accusation against Buck in television ads. "You in your commercials take little clips out of context," Buck answered to cheers from his ranks.
Buck challenged Bennet, saying he'd voted against imposing sanctions on companies doing business with Iran, a claim Bennet denied, but Buck insisted was accurate.
Bennet's view was even briefer, saying U.S. goals in Afghanistan should be to destroy al-Qaida groups on the Pakistan border and then to support the Pakistan military to make certain that country's nuclear weapons are secure from terrorists. Then U.S. troops should be brought home.
Buck said, "I do not support the repeal of don't-ask-don't-tell. I think it is a policy that makes a lot of sense." The don't-ask-don't-tell policy itself was instituted during the Clinton years and prohibits inquiries into the sexual orientation of military members. The current policy states that a person who makes their sexuality known is subject to discharge under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
The Colorado Independent, in a story titled "Coloradans mostly agree with Bennet not Buck on don't-ask-don't-tell," reported that the majority of Coloradans supported lifting the ban. However, Buck's opinion appears to be more in line with the majority of generals and service-members.
When asked for positions on the Dream Act, Sen. Bennet, who co-sponsored the bill, enthusiastically voiced his support while Buck stated he is opposed to the bill. Buck said we should not give people that have come to this country illegally the benefit of the Dream Act. Buck went on to criticize a portion of the bill that would allow an individual with two misdemeanors to still qualify for citizenship. "I consider two misdemeanor sex assaults, or two DUI's or other crimes to be serious, especially if they're committed by the time they are 18 or 19 years old." Buck said he does agree that he wants to give people the opportunity to become citizens, but that citizenship has to be earned.
The above quotations are from 2010 Colorado Senate Debates.
Click here for other excerpts from 2010 Colorado Senate Debates.
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