Farrell, Shays square off
Well, Chris Shays and Diane Farrell had their first debate and the Stamdford Advocate has all the details.
It took Farrell less than a minute into her first response -- to a question about the Republican leadership's handling of the scandal involving former U.S. Rep. Mark Foley, R-Fla. -- to mention the Iraq war.Oh, it has to be tough being aRepublican right now as it seems like the Party is imploding. Farrell is wise to attack Shays from the start and slap him right in the face with the the biggest news story of the last week, the Mark Foley scandal/cover-up, and the current events in Iraq.
"This is one more illustration of what has been happening with the existing Republican leadership," Farrell said of the Foley scandal, alleging House leadership knew the former congressman sent sexually explicit e-mails to a teenage page but did not take action to stop it.
"It has been one mistake or one scandal after another, and the one that is the most substantive right now is, of course, where we are in the war in Iraq," she said.
Shays knows that he's going to be held accountable for Congressional record and it seemed like he did more defense than offense (never a good sign).
Shays spent most of his 15 minutes defending his vote to authorize military force in Iraq, as well as his recent call to set a timetable for troop withdrawal after returning from his 14th trip to the country and reporting no political progress by the Iraqi leadership. After the debate, he called on Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to resign over his handling of the war.Stop the press! Shays asking Rumsfeld to resign, asking for a change in direction in Iraq?
Two words: Ned Lamont.
Shays was a HUGE cheerleader for this war and Farrell took no time calling him out on this nonsense.
Farrell suggested Shays was switching his position in light of the Democratic primary win last month of anti-war candidate Ned Lamont over incumbent U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn. Shays responded angrily that he would not suggest policy based on politics.Wow, I wish was there is see this in person. If anyone attended the debate, drop a line in the comments.
Brandishing a packet of letters and observations about Iraq, including a letter to the Bush administration written before the primary, Shays said his position has been extensive, sincere and real.
"I have attended five funerals," Shays said. "I would never, ever, ever have a policy on Iraq based on my personal election."
Farrell, who supports a diplomatic solution by establishing benchmarks for the warring Iraqi factions, chided Shays for his letters, saying his recommendations have done little to change the minds of the Bush administration.
"This is not an action item. Too passive for me," she said. "Not for where we are today."