Dino Rossi in 2010 WA Senate Debates

On Tax Reform: Repealing Bush tax cut is biggest tax increase in US history

The final Washington US Senate debate featured a sharp disagreement over tax cuts for wealthy Americans. Democrat Patty Murray repeatedly said the country can't afford them. Republican Dino Rossi insisted that if the tax cuts go away, more jobs will be lost.

After the election, Congress plans to reauthorize Bush-era tax cuts. But Democrats want to let expire the break for Americans who make more than $200,000 a year. Murray said, "The top 2% of Americans are costing us a trillion dollars, [and if we do that] we will not have the resources to provide a skilled workforce."

Rossi responded that small business owners are among those who would have to pay the higher tax, saying, "We need to make sure that we don't have the biggest tax increase in American history because quite frankly it's going to kill more jobs. You take money away from the people who are creating jobs, they're going to have less to create jobs with. This is not too hard to figure out. But that's exactly how this works."

Source: KPLU (NPR) coverage of 2010 WA Senate debate Oct 18, 2010

On Budget & Economy: Big government is cause of current crisis, not its solution

Murray and Rossi offered voters starkly contrasting views about what role government should play in bringing the US economy out of its historic recession.

Murray, the Democrat, sang the praises of government action to repair the damage done by Wall Street, and touted her record of delivering federal dollars for the state's roads, colleges and businesses. "I'm working with your local leaders to provide the kinds of investments to create jobs, so you're strong again and our Main Street businesses kee their doors open," Murray said.

But Rossi, the Republican, contended that big government backed by Murray is the cause of the current crisis, not its solution. Citing the state's 17% functional unemployment rate--which includes the jobless and those underemployed--Rossi said businesses need stable regulation & low taxes to start hiring again. "It's not with more government, it's not with stimulus, it's not with the health-care plan. It's got to be with small business being more successful," he said.

Source: Seattle Times coverage of 2010 WA Senate debate Oct 17, 2010

On Government Reform: Call to halt earmarks; that's what's wrong with D.C.

Murray repeatedly mentioned that she comes home and talks to local leaders and businesses about what help they want from Washington, D.C.

Rossi said he's been listening to voters as he travels the state, noting conversations with struggling small-business owners and a 50-year-old man who nearly came to tears talking about being unemployed for two years.

Rossi accused Murray of heading to Congress with good intentions years ago but claimed she's changed since then to become a D.C. insider. He ripped her record as a prolific sponsor of earmarks, citing a Seattle Times report about former Murray staffers now cashing in on their connections as lobbyists, garnering nearly $20 million in earmarks for clients in a recent defense bill alone. "That's precisely what's wrong with Washington, D.C. That's what has to change," Rossi said.

Murray defended her record, and said Rossi would shortchange important Washington state projects with his call to halt earmarks and cut the federal budget.

Source: Seattle Times coverage of 2010 WA Senate debate Oct 17, 2010

On Health Care: ObamaCare will require hordes of IRS agents to administer

Rossi hit Murray time and time again for what he called "an 18-year record of taxing, spending and growing government that is indefensible."Murray stuck to her strategy of linking Rossi to Wall Street and the failed economic policies of the Bush administration, and again accused him of failing to get beyond a few generic Republican talking points.

Once again, the health-care overhaul was a point of controversy. Rossi noted that Murray said during the Spokane debate she'd read all 2,600 pages of the bill, and helped write it. He asked whether she was responsible for controversial parts of the law that raised taxes or hired "hordes and hordes of IRS agents" to administer it.

Murray fired back that she'd personally written a section of the law that provided money to train future family physicians. "Mr. Rossi is going to repeal that program and take that away," she said.

Source: Seattle Times coverage of 2010 WA Senate debate Oct 17, 2010

On Immigration: Secure the border, then decide on kids of illegal immigrants

Rossi also refused to say whether he favors allowing children of illegal immigrants to remain in the country and start on a path toward citizenship. He said he hasn't heard of a good solution to that issue, and that such questions are moot until the federal government secures the borders.

Murray touted her support for a law that would give such people a chance to be citizens after going to college or joining the military.

Source: Seattle Times coverage of 2010 WA Senate debate Oct 17, 2010

On Social Security: No comment on raising retirement age or other changes, yet

Both candidates refused to say whether they'd back raising the Social Security retirement age or other changes to the entitlement. They each pointed to a bipartisan commission studying the issue, saying they wanted to read that report before making any promises.
Source: Seattle Times coverage of 2010 WA Senate debate Oct 17, 2010

On Health Care: Healthcare overhaul moves down a path that is very dangerous

The first debate between Murray and Rossi came down to who's to blame for the sluggish economy. Murray warned that a vote for Rossi would reverse progress. "He wants to go back to the Bush economic policies that got us into this mess--going into two wars without paying for it, passing tax cuts that are not paid for and leaving us with tough decisions today that hurt all of us."

Rossi pointed to the health care overhaul and stimulus spending and said leaders are "moving down a path that is very dangerous."

"If we don't have a course correction in this election, I think we're going to wake up 24 months from now in a country that we don't even recognize," Rossi said.

Rossi said other concepts, like laws to limit lawsuits against doctors and allow people to purchase insurance across state lines, would have been better approaches. "You're losing your freedoms; you're losing your choices," Rossi said. "This potentially could bankrupt America and also impact Medicare, as well."

Source: The Spokesman-Review coverage of 2010 WA Senate debate Oct 15, 2010

On Homeland Security: Wait for a study to decide on don't-ask-don't-tell

The debate hit on several topics related to the military. Rossi said he is waiting for a study that is under way before deciding whether gays should be allowed to serve openly in the military.

Murray said she believes the "don't ask, don't tell" policy should be tossed and that sexual orientation should not be cause to discharge anyone in the military.

Source: The Spokesman-Review coverage of 2010 WA Senate debate Oct 15, 2010

On Social Security: Massive debt could destabilize Social Security

Murray said Rossi's support for extending tax cuts for individuals who earn $200,000 a year or more could destabilize Social Security, halt the cleanup of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation and hurt student loans and construction projects that repair dams and other infrastructure.

Rossi said it's Murray-backed spending and policies like the recent federal health care legislation that endanger Social Security and other programs He also accused her of "class warfare" for wanting only to extend the tax cut for those earning less than $200,000.

"The biggest threat is going to be the debt--the debt that Sen. Murray has helped amass for this nation," Rossi said. "I don't think her spending is going to help us preserve Social Security for the future."

Source: The Spokesman-Review coverage of 2010 WA Senate debate Oct 15, 2010

On War & Peace: Setting deadline for Afghan withdrawal would aid terrorists

Rossi said setting a deadline for withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan would aid terrorists. "What they will do is go hide out in their caves and wait until we leave," Rossi said. "We have to give our military every tool possible so they can achieve their objective and come home as soon as possible."

But Murray said she supports a timetable for withdrawal. Murray said. "We owe it to [military families] to know where and how long they're going to be there."

Source: The Spokesman-Review coverage of 2010 WA Senate debate Oct 15, 2010

On Health Care: ObamaCare will siphon money & could bankrupt America

On health care, Rossi blasted the new federal law, saying it will siphon money from Medicare, raise costs on corporations and cause "tens of thousands of jobs" to be lost or not created in Washington. "This actually could bankrupt America," he said.

Murray was asked if she read the bill before voting on it. "Not only did I read it, I helped to write it," she said proudly. She said it is "not perfect" but is a step in the right direction to give individuals greater control of their health care.

Source: Everett Herald coverage of 2010 WA Senate debate Oct 14, 2010

On Principles & Values: Lost 2004 race for governor by 133 votes

Murray, 60, was elected to the Senate in 1992, 1998 and 2004. Her campaign has drawn visits from President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.

Rossi is a real estate developer who has twice lost races for governor. Rossi, 50, lost to Democratic Gov. Chris Gregoire by 133 votes in 2004 after two recounts. He lost to her by nearly 200,000 votes in 2008. He is seeking to capitalize on anti-incumbent sentiment in a state that has voted Democrat the past six presidential elections.

Source: Associated Press coverage of 2010 WA Senate debate Oct 14, 2010

On Tax Reform: Extend Bush tax cuts; allow entrepreneurs to be successful

Murray continually hammered Rossi for supporting extension of the Bush-era tax cuts that benefit the wealthy. She said those tax breaks take away revenue that could be used for Social Security and health programs. "If Rossi gets his way and extends the Bush tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans to the tune of almost $1 trillion, there is no way to sustain the programs so important to us," Murray said.

Rossi hammered Murray as a 3-term incumbent who constantly voted for bigger government programs and more government control of business. "You have an 18-year incumbent killing jobs in the state of Washington in vote after vote," Rossi said. "I want to allow entrepreneurs to be successful."

As she has done throughout the campaign, Murray sought to paint Rossi as a friend to Wall Street & big banks. Rossi, a real estate developer, branded Murray as a big-spending liberal. The candidates referred constantly to the fight over extending the 2001 & 2003 tax cuts to individuals making more than $200,000

Source: Associated Press coverage of 2010 WA Senate debate Oct 14, 2010

On Principles & Values: Murray is shortchanging voters with 2 debates instead of 6

Rossi accuses Murray of "shortchanging" voters by refusing to agree to more than two debates this year. Rossi has accepted invitations to six debates.

Murray, following her usual strategy of limiting debates, has agreed to just two--one in Spokane and one in Seattle. Murray declined an invitation to a debate sponsored by KING 5, The Seattle Times, KIRO Radio and Northwest Cable News. The KING 5 station manager said the debate was aimed for a prime time slot around Oct. 15. He said organizers would have tried to be flexible to accommodate Murray's schedule. But she still refused.

Rossi released an "open letter" to voters, criticizing Murray for shunning additional debates: "Sen. Murray is shortchanging you and the other

Source: Seattle Times coverage of 2010 WA Senate debate Sep 15, 2010

The above quotations are from 2010 Washington Senate Debates.
Click here for other excerpts from 2010 Washington Senate Debates.
Click here for other excerpts by Dino Rossi.
Click here for a profile of Dino Rossi.
Dino Rossi on other issues:
Civil Rights
Foreign Policy
Free Trade
Govt. Reform
Gun Control
Health Care
Homeland Security
Social Security
Tax Reform
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Page last updated: Nov 01, 2010