The Hiller Instinct: Senate debate
So what we watched could more accurately be described as four interviews. With Attorney General Martha Coakley the apparent front runner in the race, the challenge for the other three debaters was to stop her momentum.
Congressman Mike Capuano tried, by questioning her experience, and everyone else's:
"That is part of being a senator that can only be done if you understand how to work in Washington. If you want to talk about other issues if you think you can go down and change Washington like this (snap fingers) God bless you and good luck," Capuano said.
Coakley could not let that pass, and didn't:
"We stay plugged in on what's happening here. You have to know what's happening here, you have to know what's happening in Washington that's why who fills the seat is so important. I think that's why my experience on the state level will help to negotiate to get the funds we need in Washington."
All the candidates supported the so-called public option in a new health care bill, and none supported increasing troops in Afghanistan--though President Obama has been asked to do just that.
And when the four were asked whether taxes should be raised to help Washington pay all its bills, one candidate was more enthusiastic than the rest about a tax hike: "But as Willy Sutton says you have to go where the money is. That's why he robbed banks. The money is with the wealthiest Americans they've done very well under the Bush administration. We have to get that money in tax increases," Steve Pagliuca said.
While the candidates spent much time discussing the legacy of Senator Ted Kennedy and this senate seat, one candidate sounded more ready than the others to leave the legacy behind:
"We all voted powerfully for change last November and yet we're not getting the change we want. Washington is stuck when we need action," Alan Khazei said.
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