COONS: I would support stem cell research.
Q: We're talking about embryonic stem cell research.
COONS: Correct. I would support federal funding for medical research that includes embryonic stem cell research.
O'DONNELL: I think if we took an intellectually honest look at the research that's been put out there, you will see that there is incredible advances with adult stem cell research, not as much with embryonic stem cell research, because that is where this went on in the private sector. That is where investors would be putting their money. I would point to a program called the Snowflake Babies, where they have had incredible success adopting these human embryos that are going to be discarded for medical waste.
O'DONNELL: On that IRS tax lien, the IRS already admitted that it was a computer error. You mentioned education. I don't have a trust fund. I didn't come from a privileged, sheltered background as my opponent says he did.
Q: Let's stay to the issue of paying bills.
O'DONNELL: I paid for my own college education. When I fell upon difficult times, I made the sacrifices needed to set things right. I sold my house. And I sold a lot of my possessions in order to pay of my personal debt and to become in a stronger position. I can relate to the thousands of Delaware families that are suffering right now.
COONS: I'm not sure I understand what Ms. O'Donnell means by "culture of dependency" and that her primary objective would be to end the endless regulation and red tape. She denounces the Obama administration, says it's done nothing to promote job growth when frankly, just a few weeks ago, a new bill that would provide expanded SBA loan capacity, $30 billion worth of new lending capability, TARP funds that have been repaid, and are being repurchased towards small and midsized banks all over the United States. Real and concrete steps are being taken.
COONS: The Citizens United decision was an unfortunate and ill-decided decision. One that opens the flood gates to increased corporate contributions that could have, as an unintended consequence of the decision, significantly distorting out electoral process. I would support reforms that further disclose who is behind these shadowy groups? Whether individuals, or corporations, that are trying to influence our elections by pouring money into it. Sunshine is the best disinfectant. And in politics it is best for us to disclose as fully and as broadly as possible who is making contributions.
O'DONNELL: And yet the legislative efforts to do exactly that has failed to do that. The Disclose Act, put out there to do just that, has exempted the major corporations from disclosing it. Instead, what these efforts do is only serve to infringe on the First Amendment right of private citizens.
O'DONNELL: I was talking about what a local school taught and that should be decided on the local community.
Q: Do you believe evolution is a myth?
O'DONNELL: Local schools should make that decision.
Q: What do you believe?
O'DONNELL: What I believe is irrelevant.
Q: Why is it irrelevant?
O'DONNELL: What I will support in Washington, D.C. is the ability for the local school system to decide what is taught in their classrooms and what I was talking about on that show was a classroom that was not allowed to teach creationism as an equal theory as evolution. That is against their constitutional rights and that is an overreaching arm of the government.
O'DONNELL: Here in Delaware, where we spend so much money on education, it ends up going to the six-figure salaries of our bureaucrats & superintendents, not to the teachers in the classroom. It's appalling that in a state where we spend so much federal and state dollars on education, good teachers who want to get extra materials have to do so out of their pocket. We have a broken system especially in Wilmington where I live. Throwing more money o a broken system is not going to work. Instead, what we need to do is sit down and have conversations with the teachers--not the unions--about what they need us to do to help them in their classroom.
Q: Do you support eliminating the Dept. of Education?
O'DONNELL: I don't think that we need to go to that drastic of a step, but millions of dollars in Dept. of Education money has been abused. Every time that there's a problem, we just throw more money in it to appease the special interest groups.
COONS: The most effective investment in reducing emissions of CO2 and other things that cause greenhouse gas warming is energy efficiency and conservation.
O'DONNELL: I think the best way to address that is to talk about the issue of Cap and Trade because the winner of this U.S. Senate race can be immediately sworn in and serve it in Harry Reid's lame duck session and vote on Cap and Trade. While I do believe that we have to be good stewards of this earth, we don't need to do it at the expense of our citizens and Cap and Trade will do that, whether it's farmers, senior citizens, or realtors who are concerned about its green compliance standards. Nobody wants this bill. This bill is a national energy tax that will ration energy use and increase our utility bills.
O'DONNELL: I was talking about when I was working with the humanitarian group that was going to China. We are given some security briefs about China's position with some potentially hostile nations and some security threats that my clients would be facing.
Q: You said that China has a plan to take over America, you know about this plan?
O'DONNELL: Well, they misquoted me at the time. But look at what's going on. Right now, monetarily, China could take us over monetarily before they could militarily.
COONS: It's hard for me to respond effectively, to all the different issues that my opponent has raised in previous statements, and I'll just let that stand.
O'DONNELL: That's a great question because first of all we have got to tackle the deficit because our deficit is almost becoming equal to our GDP. That's when your currency collapses, your market collapses. We've got to take drastic measures.
Q: So what would you cut specifically?
O'DONNELL: First of all, cancel the unspent stimulus bill. Second, put a freeze on discretionary spending, put a hiring freeze on non-security personnel. And then, of course, when we're talking about cutting government spending, we've got to talk about waste, fraud and abuse. A recent report came out said we spend over $1 billion in Medicaid waste, fraud, and abuse.
COONS: I would seriously consider supporting a freeze on non defense discretionary spending for three years, which would achieve significant reductions. I've also identified on my web site a series of reductions that I would support.
O'DONNELL: No one is disputing that our health care system before ObamaCare didn't need reform. Those are very important things that are part of insurance reform, not health care reform. I want to fight to fully repeal that so that we can begin to enact real reform. And that real reform would include allowing policy portability when you change jobs allowing Delawareans to get policies across state lines. And I would also fight for some sort of tort reform.
COONS: I argue for extending & perfecting it rather than repealing. This was a critical piece of legislation.
COONS: There are significant advances in this bill that allow us to make health care safer, stronger, more transparent. And if I've got a major concern about this bill, it's that we're going to reduce costs without squelching innovation.
O'DONNELL: You say that you're concerned about reducing costs, but reports have showed that this health care bill has caused costs to skyrocket.
COONS: I don't know what reports you're reading. I haven't seen reports that document that.
O'DONNELL: One out of four Democrats have gone on record saying that they oppose ObamaCare; they've realized that we made a bad mistake.
COONS: And three out of four Democrats strongly support it.
Q: You oppose the government mandating that everyone must purchase health insurance, is that right?
O'DONNELL: Yes, because we're confusing coverage with care. Our goal needs to be to make health care affordable.
COONS: That's a great slogan. You toss it around everywhere you go. How does this bill actually put Uncle Sam in the examination room between doctors and patients?
O'DONNELL: It dictates what kind of treatment a doctor can and can't do, what kind it will fund.
COONS: So why did the organization that fights for and represents America's nurses, America's seniors, America's hospitals, and America's doctors, all endorse and support this bill?
O'DONNELL: Many of those branches on the state level, including here in Delaware, have said we don't support what the national office has done.
COONS: Christiana Care hosted a debate earlier today. I was sorry you chose not to join us. You're suggesting that they didn't support a bill they lobbied for.
O'DONNELL: If we do the things that I'm proposing, that will help to address the issue of health care, then that person can afford to buy a catastrophic-only policy from across state lines.
Q: What if the person doesn't want to buy it?
O'DONNELL: Make them pay it. Hold them accountable for that.
Q: Before or after they get care?
O'DONNELL: Well, that's up to the hospital. But right now we're forcing them to. So this is something that we're already doing. You're talking about a very small hypothetical; using scare tactics to make people support this health care bill. What I'm proposing will help alleviate those situations. Nobody should be forced to pay for anyone else's health care, and that's what ObamaCare is doing.
COONS: I would move swiftly as a senator to repeal don't ask, don't tell. I think it is discrimination, plain and simple. In my view, we should be making progress in this country towards recognizing the full range of human experience, and repealing don't ask, don't tell to me is an important next step in the civil rights movement.
O'DONNELL: The military already regulates personal behavior in that it does not allow affairs to go on within your chain of command. It doesn't allow, if you're married, to have an adulterous affair within the military. So the military already regulates personal behavior because it feels that it is in the best interests of our military readiness. I don't think that Congress should be forcing a social agenda onto our military. I think we should leave that to the military to decide.
O'DONNELL: Oh, gosh. Give me a specific one, I'm sorry.
Q: Actually, I can't, because I need you to tell me which ones you object to.
O'DONNELL: I'm very sorry. Right off the top of my head, I know that there are a lot, but I'll put it up on my Web site, I promise you.
Q: Well, we know you disagree with Roe versus Wade.
O'DONNELL: Yes, but [the question was] a recent one.
Q: Well, that's relatively recent. But since then?
O'DONNELL: Oh, there are several, when it comes to pornography, and court decisions to give terrorists Miranda-ized rights. This California decision to overturn "Don't Ask/Don't Tell," I believe that there are a lot of federal judges wh are legislating from the bench.
Q: That wasn't the Supreme Court, it's a lower court.
O'DONNELL: That was a federal judge.
COONS: I think the Citizens United case takes a sort of logical extension in the law, but takes it to a ridiculous extreme.
COONS: No. I support a pathway to being here legally. My path forward would be: strengthen the borders; hold employers accountable; then allow a path towards legal residence.
O'DONNELL: He's back tracking on things that he had said earlier on the campaign trail. This administration recently stopped the efforts to put a virtual fence on our border. When Barack Obama is standing with you on a campaign trail this Friday, are you going to tell him that you disagree with him on his immigration reform efforts? I believe that securing our borders should be our first priority. America is a magnet for those all over the world, and therefore, I support a legal pathway to those who are coming over here, especially for political asylum, to seek a better life than they do in our country. And to reward those who break our laws is to cheat those who honor them.
O'DONNELL: For legal [immigrants].
Q: But you don't want to provide amnesty.
O'DONNELL: I don't want to provide amnesty.
Q: How can you do one without the other?
O'DONNELL: Because what I'm saying is we have to get rid of all the bureaucratic messes that make the legal pathway difficult. But when someone willingly breaks our laws, that sends a message: "Don't worry about the laws that we've set up; don't worry about those who are on lon waiting lists for political asylum; break our laws and we'll grant you these benefits." It's sending the wrong message. It's economically hurting us. And it's also a national security issue.
COONS: Ms. O'Donnell patently mischaracterizes her own position.
O'DONNELL: I do support responsible guest worker programs. And that's the difference.
COONS: If you can reconcile all those comments, you're an even more talented reporter than I think you are.
COONS: I also frankly can't imagine where she found the numbers that unemployment doubled in just the past year under my watch. I suspect we're going to need to keep a close eye this evening on the numbers that go flying back and forth.
Q: Let's ask her, where did you get those numbers?
O'DONNELL: The Department of Labor statistics. And we'll have them on our web site by tomorrow.
COONS: I think it's important to look closely at some of the things Ms. O'Donnell's thrown out on her new web site. Most of them are untrue. Some of them are flat-out lies. Some of them are mischaracterizations. Much of how you've characterized my record is incorrect.
O'DONNELL: This election cycle should not be about comments I made on a comedy show over a decade and a half ago. This election cycle should be about what is important to the people of Delaware. My opponent has said that the statements that we made in our 20s should be off the table, and after he made that statement, days later, he started running ads, going back on his word using those statements to misrepresent my character. My faith has matured over the years but regardless of my personal faith, when I go down to Washington, D.C., it is the constitution that I will defend and it is by the constitution that I will make all of my decisions.
The common sense men and women all across Delaware know this is not sustainable. Yet my opponent wants to go to Washington and rubber-stamp the failed spending bills that are coming from--that have cost us 2.5 million jobs.
This is wrong. Uncle Sam needs to be cut off.
I want to go to Washington to create jobs based on private business, not your tax dollars. I want to fight to have our nation become debt free. I want to stop the tax hikes that are coming in January.
A vote for my opponent will cost the average Delaware family $10,000 instantly between the January tax hikes and his vote for cap and trade. Most of us can't afford that. If you think that government is too small and that your taxed too little, if you're ever questioned whether America is a beacon of freedom and justice, then he's your guy.
COONS: We'd like to have Americans able to receive the benefits they need to get through incredibly difficult times. But to simply denounce people as being dependent because they're applying for and receiving food stamps in the worst recession in modern times is slandering people.
O'DONNELL: I'm not the person who would cut the tax benefits for disabled and low-income senior citizens, as you did as county executive But what I'm proposing is to make sure that the tax cuts for our Delawareans do not expire this January. You have said that you will stop the tax cuts for the so-called rich. What you fail to realize is the so-called rich are the small business owner.
COONS: I support extending the Bush tax cuts for the overwhelming majority of Americans. I don't think we should draw an arbitrary line at $250,000. But th value that I will apply as deciding how much to extend, whether it goes up to $1 million or $2 million, is that we've got a tough choice to make. Every increased tax cut, every extension that's given, is going to increase the deficit. The primary value I would apply in deciding whether to extend all the Bush tax cuts & for how long [is that] we should do those tax cuts that have the best chance of getting our economy going again.
O'DONNELL: You have said that you will stop the tax cuts for the so-calle rich. What you fail to realize is the so-called rich are the small business owner. small business owner, the dry-cleaner down the street, the pizza shop owner who makes $300,000 before they pay their four employees, before they feed their own family.
COONS: I would support a negotiated resolution that allowed us to leave security and intelligence assets in place and that allowed us the opportunity to reengage, should the Taliban take control again, or allow al Qaeda to reemerge as a real threat.
O'DONNELL: If he's serious about making sure that Afghanistan doesn't become a safe haven for terrorists, why, on the campaign trail, he has said that he supports this random time withdrawal? We have to support our men and women who are risking their lives. A random withdrawal will simply embolden the terrorists to come out after us even more, saying I've chased away the super power. When we withdraw from Afghanistan, we need to make sure that there are benchmarks in place: making sure that there's a representative government that serves the needs of the people and that can defend themselves. When we've reached these benchmarks, that's when we withdraw.
Coons has agreed to eight debates before November 2nd. He says he rejected a debate hosted by the 9-12 Patriots for one reason only. "The 9-12 Patriots Group has endorsed her and is an issue group. We're looking for and have accepted opportunities for debates at independent venues like the University of Delaware, the Chamber of Commerce, the League of Women Voters."
And when it comes to Christine O'Donnell's decision to black out national media, Coons says she can do whatever she wants. "That's her choice. If my opponent decides to stop answering questions from the national media, I hope Delawareans will take that into account."
O'Donnell denies doing anything wrong, saying there is, "No truth to it."
To be fair, Chris Coons finds himself having to answer questions about an article he wrote in college, where he described himself as a "bearded Marxist."
O'Donnell did say she would support abortion in cases "where the life of the mother" was at risk. She recalled that her own family faced that situation with her sister in the past, though she didn't elaborate. O'Donnell called instances where the life of the mother is at risk "a personal family decision."
"That's personal!" an O'Donnell supporter shouted from the audience when the question was read. "It is personal," O'Donnell agreed, but she went on to answer it while not referencing any specific past positions.
"Those questions come from statements I made over 15 years ago," said O'Donnell, who is Catholic and known as a staunch social conservative. She called the years-old statements a result of her newfound faith & beliefs, which she has said previously she discovered sometime in college.
O'Donnell said while "my faith has matured," if she gets to Washington, she would be guided by "the Constitution" rather than her personal beliefs
The Democrat pitched himself as independent of his party in Washington, saying, "I would not have supported the bailout," because he said it was done too fast and "put hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars at risk."
But O'Donnell called for the "full repeal" of the healthcare law, saying that "the federal government was never intended to be as invasive and intrusive into our lives as it is now."
The response elicited loud cheers from O'Donnell's supporters while garnering sustained boos from Coons backers.
The above quotations are from 2010 Delaware Senate Debates.
Click here for other excerpts from 2010 Delaware Senate Debates.
Click here for other excerpts by Christine O`Donnell.
Click here for a profile of Christine O`Donnell.
Christine O`Donnell on other issues:
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