Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Great Debate -- McIntyre presents an easy target, and Rouzer hits it again and again.

Verne Strickland / September 29, 2012

There was enough good stuff about David Rouzer in just one Star-News article to get the GOP congressional candidate elected -- even if nothing else was ever printed or broadcast on television.

In this article, we will present just a bit of the cannon fodder, which will surely show up in Rouzer television commercials for the rest of the campaign cycle. That would be a real plus for the confident conservative challenger. The comments were recorded by political writer Patrick Gannon, who covered the first Rouzer/McIntyre debate this week at WECT-TV studios.

Pat didn't try to slant his article, although he seemed at times to be struggling to create the impression that McIntyre had a good night. He didn't. The sixteen-year congressional fixture (Sixteen? Really? That many?) was fidgety, jumpy, rattled, rude, and retreading information that could have easily been lifted from the Democrat's strange campaigns of 2008 and 2010.

But let's cut to the chase. These comments -- mostly verbatim excerpts from the debate dialogue -- are mainly Rouzer pronouncements. They depict a confident candidate, aware that the momentum is shifting his way, staying on message and sending spot-on torpedoes into the sides of the listing McIntyre battlewagon.


Excerpts from the Star-News dated Saturday, September 29, 2012:

Rouzer went on the offensive in his first statement. He said the country must return to the principals of free enterprise and less spending. 

"Congressman McIntyre has served in the U.S. Congress for 16 years," Rouzer said. "We've added $11 trillion to the debt during that period of time."

Rouzer also said he has served in the state Senate for two terms – four years – and helped write two balanced budgets without raising taxes and sponsored legislation "helping our job creators."

He claimed McIntyre has never been the primary sponsor of a House bill that has been passed into law. Rouzer's campaign sent out a release after the debate saying he (Rouzer) sponsored 17 bills passed in the General Assembly, including regulatory reform legislation.

photoAsked about whether President Barack Obama's stimulus legislation has helped families and businesses, McIntyre, who voted for the stimulus, said individuals and families are struggling and that he is trying to help them through job-seeker boot camps and a foreclosure prevention session for people in danger of losing their homes. 

"There are some indications, thankfully, that some things are changing," he said, including increases in tourism and farm income and exports.

Republicans have repeatedly targeted McIntyre's stimulus vote in television ads. Rouzer said he didn't believe the stimulus has helped. "Less spending and lower taxes create jobs, not more spending, and that's a fundamental difference," Rouzer said.

Rouzer pointed out a recent statement by McIntyre that he believes Southeastern North Carolina residents are better off "in many ways" than they were in 2008. He's been in Washington too long, and I think that statement proves it," Rouzer said.            

Rouzer Ride to VictoryMcIntyre soon revisited the statement, saying while there are positive signs, "we all know that more needs to be done to help those seeking a job, who are underemployed or are struggling to stay in their home."                           
  Also in the debate, Rouzer said McIntyre has "never called Barack Obama to task," pointing out a common theme in his campaign of trying to connect McIntyre with Obama. "He's never stood up to him," Rouzer said. "That's a major difference in this campaign."

McIntyre voted against Obama's health care plan and hasn't endorsed the president's re-election bid.
The Democrat incumbent said he works with Republicans and Democrats and that Rouzer would toe the GOP party line in Congress. "I'm not going to go there and follow a partisan agenda like my opponent," McIntyre insisted.

Asked about whether Southeastern North Carolina is better off than four years ago, Rouzer said no.
"We have a $16 trillion debt. … We have to get a handle on spending," he said.

McIntyre didn't answer yes or no. 
  
"There's some good signs that we are beginning to turn the corner, but we have to help every family we can," McIntyre said.

The 30-minute debate, moderated by WECT's Jon Evans, was broadcast live on television and streamed on the station's website, WECT.com, where it remains for viewing up until the November election.
Rouzer defeated Ilario Pantano and Randy Crow in the GOP primary in May. McIntyre has represented the 7th district in Congress for 16 years, rarely facing a tough re-election contest. 

The only other joint appearance of the two candidates is expected to be taped at WRAL in Raleigh early next week and aired at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 6 on the station's "On the Record" program. It will also be available at WRAL.com. Both sides agreed to do only the two TV debates, so most voters won't get to see the candidates in person before the election. The election is Nov. 6, and early voting begins Oct. 18.
Patrick Gannon: (919) 854-6115
On Twitter: @StarNewsPat

WATCH FOR OUR CONTINUING COVERAGE OF THIS EPIC BRAWL FOR THE POLITICAL SOUL OF THE SEVENTH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT, INCLUDING OUR EXCLUSIVE STORY DEVELOPED AROUND CANDIDATE DAVID ROUZER'S VISIT SATURDAY TO THE NEW HANOVER COUNTY REPUBLICAN PARTY VICTORY OFFICE IN WILMINGTON.