Janet's Conner

This Blog tell the Truth and will never not tell the Truth. Impeach Bush

Thursday, September 21, 2006


Philadelphia Inquirer---Social issues dicide candidates

Abortion and stem-cell research were points of division for the Eighth District contenders.

By: Christine Schiavo
September 2006

The Bucks County audience was partisan, sporting "I Like Mike" and "Murphy '06" camapign badges. And vocal, with boos and cheers prompting the moderator to remind the crowd, "This is not a pep rally."

The spectator's questions yesterday steered the first public debate between the two candidates for Congress away from the official but broad subject of health care to more divisive issues of embryonic stem-cell research and abortion.

Incumbent U.S. Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA), citing the teachings of his Roman Catholic faith, said he opposes both and believes research should focus on adult stem cells.

"My faith teaches me that it's wrong to destroy human life," he said to cheers.

"This is the clearest difference between the two of us," said Democratic challenger Patrick Murphy, a proponent of abortion rights and embryonic stem-cell research.

Calling embryonic stem-cell research a "moral obligation" of government, Murphy said, "Every person in this room is one phone call away" from needing the potential benefits.

The debate, held at King's Caterers in Levittown and sponsored by the Bucks County Courier Times and the Intelligencer, was the first of five scheduled encounters. The Eigth Congressional District covers Bucks County, portions of Montgomery County and a sliver of Philadelphia.

Moderator Guy Petroziello, editorial-page at the Courier-Times, presented the candidates with questions sent in by readers of the two newspapers or written on the spot by some of the 150 people present.

Fitzpatrick, who spent 10 years as a Bucks County commissioner, before winning his first term two yers ago, was so relaxed when the debate began that he remained seated as he answered the first question about Medicare.

His demeanor changed when Murphy, confidently pacing across the stage with microphone in hand, went on the offensive, criticizing Fitzpatrick for taking campaign contributions from the health-care industry.

An hour after the debate ended, Murphy's campaign issued a news release declaring victory.

But there was no clear-cut winner. Even Allen B. Pooler, a Korean War veteran from Lower Makefield Township who has worked on Murphy's campaign, gave his candidate a B overall.

"I don't give him an A because he didn't answer a few of the questions," Pooler said. "By not answering the questions, I don't know where he stands."

He didn't give Fitzpatrick an A either.

"When he talks about stem cells, Mike Fitzpatrick is talking as a Roman Catholic. Well, I'm not a Roman Catholic," Pooler said. "I think Murphy is looking at this issue more broadly."

Both candidates are Irish, Roman Catholic lawyers. But that's where the similarities end.

Fitzpatrick, 42, stressed in the debate---as he often has on the campaign trail---that he has spent his whole life in the district.

"I'm from Bucks County, not Washington," he said. "I grew up in Levittown."

Murphy, 32, reminded the audience of his status as an Iraq war veteran. He elicited sighs from Fitzpatrick supporters when he said that it was while walking "in my combat boots" that he decided to run for office. Fitzpatrick generated boos from Murphy's camp when he interpreted Murphy's call for insurance for all Americans, as "government-supported, socialist, universal health care."

Both candidates found fault with the new Medicare prescription plan. And both said they believe all Americans should have access to health care. But Fitzpatrick supports a cap on payouts from malpractice lawsuits, while Murphy favors tort reform without caps.

Neither candidate suggested a way to bolster Social Security. Murphy harped on Fitzpatrick's past support of President Bush's plan to privatize Social Security. But Fitzpatrick said he no longer favors privatization.

***Yeah..until it comes tome to vote for it! He knows that this isn't something that the people want. What else is he going to say during an election season? I would have wanted to know why he doesn't support it anymore!


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