"Congressman Hodes is having an election-year conversion on earmarks. He requested over 60 earmarks last year. He's voted for 9,000 earmarks just in 2009 alone," Ayotte said. Asked what she would say to the defense contractors and other businesses benefiting from Gregg's effort, Ayotte said: "What's happened with earmarks in this country is they've been used to buy and sell votes. We saw it so much with the health care bill, the buying and selling of votes and other examples in Washington. That type of corruption has to end. With respect to our businesses we should reform the process in Washington."
Hodes said keeping tax cuts for the wealthiest would add $700 billion to the federal deficit.
Ayotte alluded to the comments from some NH economists who warned repealing tax cuts for the wealthy would cost individuals & small-business owners in the state $300 million a year.
Hodes has proposed to end tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas, and he accused Ayotte of opposing them by signing a no-tax increase pledge from Americans for Tax Reform. "My opponent, she believes that tax cuts for shipping jobs overseas will create jobs," Hodes said.
Ayotte said she's opposed to tax increases of any kind, "What congressman Hodes says is absolutely false," Ayotte declared. "What I have said is no tax increases on any business."
Ayotte was non-committal about more money for the project in the future and strongly suggested getting additional highway dollars to complete the widening of Interstate 93 was more important. "I don't know if that is worth the amount of money we are putting in," Ayotte said of the commuter rail project. "I-93 might be a greater priority."
Ayotte said the stimulus only created "temporary or government" jobs and more taxpayer-paid spending hurt the economy as national unemployment increased by 2.5 million jobs. "It was a big government program, but it didn't allow the growth in the private sector," Ayotte said.
During the four years Hodes was in Congress, Ayotte said the federal deficit went up 525%, the debt increased $5 trillion to $13 trillion and Hodes voted for 9,000 earmarks last year. "Congressman Hodes is wanting to portray himself as a fiscal conservative," Ayotte said.
In this campaign, both candidates call for a ban on earmarks. Ayotte said Hodes had an election year conversion on earmarks. Hodes noted Ayotte earlier in this campaign had defended earmarks as long as they were transparent until after Hodes had endorsed the ban.
Ayotte said congressional pay should be "performance-based" and predicted Hodes would not fare well under such a system given his votes on taxes and spending. "I think that he owes the taxpayers of New Hampshire a refund," Ayotte concluded.
Hodes defended the spending and argued the stimulus funds created needed jobs for teachers, fire fighters and police officers. "It was certainly necessary to stabilize our economy that was in absolute free fall," said Hodes. "At the time the recovery act was passed we'd lost almost 4 million jobs, the financial markets were locked, the economy was in a free fall."
Ayotte opposed all three proposed changes in federal labor laws.
Ayotte argued a repeal of the tax cuts amounts to a tax increase that would hurt the Granite State small businesses and cost $300 million. Ayotte argued it is simply the "wrong philosophy to raise taxes during difficult economic times" as she believes her opponent is trying to do."We're a small business state and these tax increases are going to hit our small business owners," said Ayotte.
Hodes instead wants to exempt from the tax $5 million for an individual and up to $10 million for families with a 35 percent tax applied to estate income above those caps.
A: I'm pro-life. I argued a case before the US Supreme Court defending our parental notification law at the time that the Governor disagreed with our decision. On a Supreme Court nominee, that's something I'd want to know their stance, but my standard for upholding a Supreme Court nominee I'd look at their whole record, and whether they'd uphold the Constitution.
A: I absolutely support and believe in marriage as between a man and a woman and I do think it's unfortunate that our state has made a different decision on that. Many of you who are out there who are out there working at the state level, or running for state office, I commend your efforts to repeal that law here in the state of N.H. and I think that's very important. I wish you all well and I would love to help with any effort to get our law back in the right place on this.
Q: If elected US Senator, would you support or oppose the Federal Defense of Marriage Act?
A: I do not think we should overturn DOMA, because it's absolutely for states to decide marriage. We don't want one state's decision impacting another state. So I would vote against any repeal of DOMA because of that.
When it comes to foreign policy, we need to stand up for democracy and freedom. When the people of Iran were protesting in the streets, we should have said "We are with you. We believe in democracy and freedo and we know that all you want is the freedom that we have."
This president and this administration have a very different tack when it comes to national security. I'm going to ask the hard questions when it comes to terrorists. There are still terrorist who want to kill us. Unfortunately, there are enemies of our country; it's not a manmade disaster. We need to be in a position where we can protect against terrorist attacks, and make sure we have the best information to prevent future attacks.
A: The federal government is falling down in its fundamental duty, add that includes securing our borders. It's penny-wise and pound-foolish that we aren't doing it. When you think about the strain on our education system and our healthcare system, as a result of our failure to enforce our immigration laws, it's not only wrong for our safety, but it's wrong in terms of the strain on our system and wrong for the peopl who are here to play by the rules. We are all the sons and daughters of immigrants. But when our ancestors came here, they came here to play by our rules. Our ancestors came here and they learned English. I support English as the language of our country. For the people who are here illegally, I don't support amnesty; it's wrong to the people who are waiting in line. We need to stop that because I think that's where the Administration is heading next.
A: Unlike our Attorney General and our Director of Homeland Security, I have read the AZ law. It's only about 10 pages, but it's a very important law. I absolutely support what Arizona has done here. Anyone who reads it would know it's a very fair law as well. We should absolutely be passing the same law here in N.H.
A: Israel, like other countries, has the right to defend itself. It's always unfortunate when there's any loss of life. But in that circumstance, they were stopping arms coming from Hamas into Gaza. Hamas has continued to shoot rockets into Israel and they were defending themselves.
Q: So will Israel always be right?
A: I will absolutely evaluate every situation on its facts and on its merits. Whenever there's a loss of life, it's very tragic, but we have to respect Israel's right to defend itself.
The above quotations are from 2010 New Hampshire Senate Debates.
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