October 24, 2010 -- Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vermont, and his Republican challenger, Paul Beaudry, join Kristin Carlson and Darren Perron to discuss the 2010 race for U.S. House.
Peter Welch, Paul Beaudry
This Sunday morning a full half hour with the candidates for U.S. House
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>> We are joined by the two leading candidates for U.S. house Democrat Peter Welch and Republican Paul Beaudry.
Thank you both for being here.
>> Let's start with you Peter Welch.
The incumbent running.
There is growing concerns about what's going on in Washington.
Why should you be re‑elected?
>> What I have done for the past four years is try to bring Vermont's voice and concerns to Washington.
I come home every single weekend and what I'm hearing from folks is they want jobs, they want us to rebalance our budget and want to bring our troops home and have a sensible foreign policy.
And the other thing that they are saying is that they want us to work together.
And what I have tried to take to Washington and have been successful in some bipartisan legislation is working together.
I doesn't matter whose idea it is, it matters whether we get results and we have to revive peoplies confidence at the institutions that serve them, can be effective.
>> You talk about creating jobs, bringing our troops home.
Do you have plans for either one of those things to really meet the needs of the folks that you are hearing from constituents that that is what they want?
>> Home star, which we passed in the house and has a lot of support in the senate, would create 170,000 jobs by having the federal government be a partner with homeowners.
Federal government put up $3000.
That's going to put our contractors, our electricians, our Maceons to work helping retrofit our homes, save about 10 billion dollars in energy bills, red state or blue state.
Homeowners want to save on energy bills and 90% of the materials are used in manufacturing in our country so yes, 170,000 jobs in two years.
Credit cards, I heard from our merchants about how they were getting absolutely hammered by the charges by who he noly credit card company, Visa and Mastercard.
I sponsored legislation that passed and has been signed in law to provide relief and fairness finally to our merchants who have been getting ripped off.
So yes, these are Vermont ideas.
I heard about them here.
These were Vermont concerns.
I found a way to translate that into practical legislation that we actually passed in Washington.
>> Mr. Beaudry, why are you running for U.S. house?
>> The number one reason is I'm very very concerned at the direction this country is going in.
When we wake up in the morning and we see what Washington is doing, passing all these bills, raising the deficit, I think about myself and my budget and then I really worry about our ‑‑ my daughter and our children and our grandchildren.
They owe a tremendous am of money not federal government and haven't really had any say it in.
We have to get the government fiscally back on track so that the ‑‑ they don't have these huge huge deficits.
I was also concerned about Obama care passing I believe that it was a completely unconstitutional bill.
People in my opinion don't want this bill being put through.
And I'm also like Peter, something we agree on and I'm a retired military person, is I'm very concerned about the direction this war is going in.
I would like to essentially see us get out of Afghanistan, declare victory, get the heck out, and then throw a parade for the troops.
Into my opinion we have accomplished the mission.
That was to punish the Taliban, take out that government, and get a ‑‑ get the people of Afghanistan to elect a government that they want.
It might not be exactly what we want or have the person we want the way we like it but nevertheless, they have their own government.
We need to tell Afghanistan you are going to have to step up to the plate.
We could still help you out with some other things but as far as the combat mission continuing year after year after year it is longer than the revolutionary war so I feel we've done just about everything that needs to be done.
Bring them home, if they ever attack us again we can always go back and deal with it then but I don't want this perpetual war to be going on forever
>> Mr. Well what was do you say about that?
>>> The big challenge that we have is Changing our policy to suit the threat.
I mean, the United States of America does have a threat of terrorism.
But that threat of terrorism is decentralized as disburged.
It is not a nation state‑centered threat.
It is not just in Afghanistan.
In fact the last terrorist threat happened with an American citizen going to Pakistan to get trained in bomb making and then returning and attempting to detonate that bomb in times square.
So when you have a decentralized threat, we should have a decentralized response.
And my objection to the policy in Afghanistan is that it is a nation state approach where we are doing nation building and imposing that burden on our taxpayers and military and my view is that we have to have an appropriate strategy that is decentralized, special forces, targeted on identified threats rather than nation building.
>> Let's talk about specifics.
You have been in office now four years.
How soon should the U.S. get oust Afghanistan?
>> Well, soon iris better than late are.
>> This year, next year?
>> Let me answer that from a policy perspective.
And from protecting what is essential be our national security.
And the lives of Americans.
We should change our policy away from nation building right away.
That's why I have voted against funding a continuation of that policy.
I was one of 32 to do it a year ago.
One of 116, including some Republicans, by the way, this past year.
So the policy has to change.
I believe right away.
And then you manage to draw down the troops.
That's what we are doing in Iraq.
Now I believe we have to do that not just because of the types of things that Paul was saying, but to have at appropriate response to the decentralized threat of terrorism means we have to harbor our resources.
We have to allocate them where we go so change the policy I believe should happen immediately and that's why I've been voting against a continuation of the status quo.
>> Mr. Beaudry do you thing that it is time for an immediate withdrawal, do you think a scaleddown troop presence in Afghanistan is the way to go?
>> I think if we immediately withdraw or if we immediately pull out of there I believe the rest of the world that looks at America would see us as surrendering.
And I don't want to see us as surrendering.
I see it as we have already won the war.
But we are still ‑‑ we are still there.
We are still fighting.
And I think as far as a time line goes we could do it in a way where we tell the Afghanistan government this is going to be a certain date when we are going to start pulling our troops out of here.
You need to have your ‑‑ your situation all taken care of.
You've got to be prepared.
We could still help you out a little bit with maybe cruise missile strikes or air or naval support if they have the naval capability in the area.
But my fear is that we are just fighting and we are going on and on and on.
I don't see what we are accomplishing right now and I hear this from troops that I'm very well connected with.
My wife works with the guard.
My brother is a major in the national guard who went to Iraq.
And I hear this from them that they are really not accomplishing too much right now.
We need to have a sound policy to that Afghanistan knows what to expect, then we start withdrawing our troops.
I'd like to see it done sooner rather than later.
But if we come out and say on June 14 we are pulling out, to me that sounds like we are cutting and running and it would be surrender.
I think we can do it in a way where it is the trick tri that I believe it is, praise the troops, and make Afghanistan step up to the plate.
>> Across the country, you have seen a lot of energy around the tea party movement.
I want to ask you Mr. Beaudry as the Republican candidate do you have tea party support and do you support the tea party as well?
>> Yes and yes.
The tea party movement here in Vermont, which I have actually helped out quite a bit when I was doing radio.
I would advise them and talk about different things, and they had have been instrumental in helping me out and not just me but other candidates that they have kind of picked and chose.
They are not actually endorsing candidates to.
give you an example, sinewaves and I know you have seen one, think you drove by one a couple months ago, most of these wonderful sinewaves in Chittenden county are led by the tea party movement.
They go under the name of the green mountain patriots.
We will have Vermont's largest tea party coming up this Sunday in Bradford, Vermont.
Our freedom fire.
A bonfire, I will be speaking.
Len Briton will be speaking and John will be speaking.
They have made a tremendous effect.
They are getting people motivatedened in some cases they are even able to raise some campaign funds which is very unconcerninging.
>> Mr. Welch I have a question.
There is a real possibility here that democrats will lose control of the house.
This comes two years after president Obama won, there was all this energy and excitement around him.
What has gone wrong?
>> You know I think it is pretty understandable when the economy is as fragile as it is and when the president inherited the largest deficit we have had in our history just after bill Clinton had the largest surplus in your history, where Wall Street collapsed, basically because they went on a binge of borrowing and pedaling sub prime mortgages and where unemployment is now 10%, and where we had to take some really hard actions to try to avert a velocity of 8 million more jobs.
What I hear from Vermonters they were concerned about hanging onto their jobs, concerned about whether their kids coming out high school and college are going to get a job, and one of the big challenges we face that its idea of the American dream, that you can make yourself better, by working hard, and why you can leave things better for your kids, people are feeling insecure about that reality.
So that anxiety is translating into a lot of political instability.
And in fact we have a responsibility all of us, not just those of us in politics, to do what we can to revive the political process, to get people involved, to rehabilitate our institutions and to revive that middle Cass dream.
>> What happens if the democrats lose control of the house, which again is a very real possibility, you have been sort of in the inner circumstance.
You are on very key committees.
What would that mean for you?
>> The state in the position of the leadership in the Republican party that is they want to repeal health care which means that folks whose kids are on their policy until age 26, free preventive care for seniors on Medicare, the prescription drug benefit that will close the doughnut hole for seniors.
the insures reform that de‑‑ ‑‑ denies the insurance companies the ability to yank your coverage because you get sick that, will be gone and ‑‑
>> If re‑elected will you be able to with the Republican majority be able to get anything done?
>> Well I have imagined even as a new member to get things done that people thought would take 10, 12, 14 terms.
Credit card legislation, home star and several other bills.
And there is always a way, if you are willing to work hard, and you are willing to listen to other side where you can get some things done.
But, if it is a Republican Congress, the leadership has been very transparent.
You want to repeal health care, they think ‑‑ they would basically promote more tax breaks for the big oil companies.
And there is a number of policies in my view that would be bad for America so they would turn back the clock.
Very clear and explicit that that is what it would be.
>> There is a hard fight over the seats in Congress.
We have seen some negative campaigning even here in Vermont on both sides of the state as well and New York and why you ham p sir why do you think that is?
and what is your response to it?
>> Let's start with you, Peter Welch.
>> It is terrible.
When I ran for Congress now years ago with Martha rain Vail the two of us made a promise to each other and to the people of Vermont.
We will run a positive campaign and the only campaign contested congressional race that was positive the whole time.
And this happened because we had control of it, we knew Vermonters wanted that and we did it.
Paul and I are doing the same thing.
And I appreciate that, Paul.
But the real difference now is the United States Supreme court passed the decision by a 5‑4 vote which I think is just a catastrophe for democracy.
Basically says any corporation can spend any amount of money it wants and individuals can do this, without disclosing what their identity is and affect the outcome of elections.
So there is this enormous amount of outside money that has no concern particularly for the candidate.
They have no concern for Vermonters.
Theyve this their own special interest agenda and they are now allowed to spend whatever amount they want.
So candidates don't have control over that spending.
Vermonters don't have control.
And I think it is ‑‑ that decision has to be reversed.
Or we have to pass a constitutional amendment to take that big money out of politics.
A major reason I've been a strong supporter of public financing for elections.
The only way that people will get a civil debate that they want.
That's what Vermonters want.
>> What do you think about the negative cam campaign have been seeing?
>> Don't like it and I do think that Congressman Welch and myself, although we might differ on issues, and how we would go about doing things, what Congressman Welch is talking about, I'm already doing without passing a law without forming a committee.
If you were to go to our web sites you can see where the contributions are coming from.
I'm not taking corporate or union PAC money.
My money is from individual contributors throughout the state of Vermont.
In small denominations there.
have been a couple out of state but individual citizens that give me small contributions.
I'm not sold out to the corporations.
Aim not sold out to the unions.
I've also want to have a fiscally conservative Congress.
I told myself and my wife I'm not going to borrow a bunch of money.
If I raise X amount that's what I'm going to spend.
I'm living within my means and I'm a proving example right now that I can run a campaign without going into debt, without the corporate or union PAC money and it is Vermonters that are my special interest.
And one of my radio ads actually mentions that.
And how it resonates with people and I'm not just saying it or saying I wish this was the way.
I'm actually doing it.
I've already don't.
And I'm very proud of the fact that I've been able to run my campaign that way with very limited funds.
>> We will take a brief break and continue our discussion with the two leading candidates for the U.S. Congress when we return in just a moment.
>> We are joined this morning by the candidates for U.S. house.
Let's go back to the military.
There has been considerable debate over don't ask, don't tell especially in the last week or so.
A judge ruled it unconstitutional.
The justice department appealed that.
It is back in place.
It is a been on openly gay military members acknowledging that they are gay while they are serving.
Paul Beaudry what's your response to that?
what do you think about don't ask, don't tell Q
>> I was in the military when the don't ask don't tell policy came about and I actually approved of the don't ask, don't tell.
The reap is, I've served with people that we knew were gay or lesbian in the military.
My attitude was, they can go to war just like I can.
They can get shot, they can bleed just like I can and as long as they are doing their job, which there noise reason they can't, there is ‑‑ we didn't have a problem with it.
It is more of a big political issue.
I really think though that the generals are the ones that are in charge of how the morale is going to be and I really think that the generals in the military ought to be the ones directing that policy.
>> Do you think it should be repealed so that folks can serve openly?
>> Repeal don't ask don't tell?
>> I believe don't ask don't tell has worked pretty good.
There can be some ‑‑ there could be some problems with openly gay people in the military and the reason I say that, I come from the perspective where we had some serious, serious sexual harassment training as a soldier in the military.
And even heterosexual activity within the military which does happen, there is no place for it when you are on duty.
What you do in your bedroom and private life in my opinion is your bedroom your private life but I really think that sexual activity, whether it be gay, lesbian or hetero sexual, in the military on duty you just shouldn't have it.
You need to be focused on the mission which is defending this nation.
And if you can keep that separate, I don't have a problem with it.
>> Peter Welch?
>> We should repeal that policy and was a cosponsor of the legislation the house passed to do just that.
You know, a lot what of Paul just said I do agree with.
I think whatever your sexual orientation you are willing to take the oath, you are willing to put the uniform on, serve your country.
You are willing to risk your life in battle, then you are a patriot and I'm not interested in your sexual orientation.
I'm interested in your willingness to serve your country.
And I don't want us by policy, and this is a policy Congress would have some authority over, to accept the notion that people on the basis of sexual orientation can or cannot serve.
Every American who is willing to take the oath and serve and abide by the rules of the military should be given the opportunity.
Is qualified to serve and not denied it because of sexual orientation.
>> Should this be decided by the courts or do you think this should be decided by Congress?
>> I think this should be decided by the military.
The top brass, they have a finger in the pulse on everything that's going on.
And I think the generals that are within the military are the best ones to decide whether this would affect ‑‑ and let's face it.
What this is about is our military redness.
Are we 100% capable and ready to fight whatever war would come up?
and that really is up to the generals.
If the generals think it could affect morale or affect our readiness, then we need to listen to the generals.
And if then don't think it would affect the readiness, it is completely up ‑‑ I think if we leave it to the generals to make the decision, ultimately Congress and the courts could decide on it.
But they are the prime people that need to let us know whether it is going to affect readiness or not.
If it is going to affect readiness, don't do it.
If it is not going to affect it, no problem with it.
But it is ultimately about the the military's capability to defend our nation.
>> Who should decide whether this should be repealed or not?
>> Just following up on that, I defer to the generals when it comes to battlefield decisions.
Military strategy and tactics.
This I ‑‑ they are ‑‑ they are the ones we should listen to.
When it comes to civil rights, the generals don't have a right, basically, to make a decision that denies Americans full civil rights.
And that's where Congress and the constitution incidentally are more importantly than the individual person in authority that wants to stand in the way.
Keep in mind, there was a time when African Americans could not serve in the country.
In the service.
There was a time when African Americans were in segregated units.
And one of the arguments that was made in the military was that it would affect morale.
And one of the great achievements.
Military was when they ended that policy, with political leadership of Harry Truman that, became a bastion of civil rights where in fact white and black, African Americans and white Americans, worked together and were seared in friendship and the ‑‑ in the cauldron of
So the military has played a major role in extending civil rights and it is disappointing to me that the generals would think a person's sexual orientation is a relative factor.
>> The number one issue is the economy and jobs.
I want to start with Mr. Welch on this question.
Do you think the stimulus package has worked and would you support passing another one?
>> Well the stimulus package was effective in averting what would have been an even worse catastrophe.
Keep in mind the economy went off the cliff.
It really D now there were those days when Wall Street shut down.
BEHR Sterns went out of business.
The stock market collapse.
People saw their 401 K's slashed in hatch.
People had been saving for college for years so the opportunity to send their kids to college vanishing before their eyes.
We had to take action.
And economists across the board, folks who advised John McCain as well as Obama have acknowledged that absent governmental action somewhat like in the depression we would have lost probably another 8 million jobs and we would have had an additional 3 trillion dollars added to the deficit.
So we had to take action or let the economy go into a depression ERA‑style situation.
So I believe that it was the right thing to take action.
And now there is some aspects of what we did on the stimulus that are much better than others.
Like, for instance, the high speed rail grant that we get in Vermont, that is going to be something that is going to benefit generations of Vermonters.
Not just one ‑‑ not just us.
Broad band deployment.
We all in Vermont know that we have to have broad band in every corner.
We got over 150 million dollars that is going to help us build that out.
So by and large, this was a policy decision that was necessary.
And has avoided the loss of even more jobs than we had.
>> Stimulus pack am, we are hearing that could be a possibility Q
>> Stimulus has become a dirty word because it has become very politicized.
What I would favor is a debate about spic ways to spend the money and how that does impact the deficit and how it impacts jobs.
People do want jobs.
The best stimulus program for anybody is a good job.
But we got to get the economy going.
One of the big problems with the deficit is that when you have 10% unemployment, so those people are needing services rather than paying faxes ‑‑ taxings that has to the deficit so anything we can do practically will bring down that unemployment rate, I think is worth considering.
>> Mr. Beaudry?
>> I will differ from what Congressman Welch is saying.
I think the stimulus package was a bad way to go for this country.
And I will give you an example.
If you are having a financial crisis at your home where your income level has dropped or the revenue is not coming in like it used to or you have lost your job, the correct way to do things is the way our families will do it, not the way the federal government is doing it.
They will bore other their way out of it.
Or so they say.
But yet we all owe a tremendous amount of debt.
I say the real answer is to steam line the government, cut back, look at everything and have the go.
live within its means.
If it is taking in X amount of dollars, that is what it should be spending.
Their answer is to borrow their way out of everything and when I talk to the average Vermonter on the street, they don't see the effects of the Tim ewe husband package.
They are worried about paying their bills.
They are worried about their husband or wife losing the job.
This stimulus us supposed to keep unemployment low.
I hasn't worked.
We are now in debt and our great grandchildren will have to pay this off.
I think it has been a complete disaster and the idea of having another stimulus package, to borrow more on top of what they have already borrowed, is insane to me.
It is just doesn't make any sense at all.
>> So with just a couple minutes left, we will give you each a minute or so.
Voters have a clear choice here on November 2.
Tell us what sets you foal axe part.
Mr. Beaudry we will start with you.
why should voters pick you?
>> Reason they should pick me because I am one of you.
I worry about paying my bills.
I am not a multimillionaire person.
I am a middle income person.
I am not taking corporate PAC money.
I'm not taking union PAC money.
I am focused on you as the citizens of Vermont to be my special interests.
When I'm down in Washington and I have a feeling I'm going to win, I will be looking at these bills and one of the things I will be saying is can I live under this bill?
as a middle income Vermonter?
is this benefiting me?
will this benefit everybody else?
that's why you should elect pole Beaudry to Congress because I will be thinking of you the citizens rather than the corporations, the unions, and the insiders.
And I hope to get your vote.
>> Mr. Welch?
>> Well, thank you.
I come home every weekend and I hear from Vermonters and what I'm hearing is that they are concerned about jobs, they are worried about sending their kids to college, and they are worried about making ends meet.
And if you return me to Washington, my top priorities will be to focus on that, to create good jobs, to rebuild and strengthen the middle class, and to get our fiscal house in order, something that needs to be done.
But I'm hearing something else from Vermonters.
They are increasingly worried about whether Washington can work.
And what they know and are asking me to do is to bring that Vermont way where we listen to each other, where we respect each other and work together for practical solutions to make progress.
I women continue doing that as your member of Congress.
You ask for your support on November 2.
>> We want to thank you both for coming in and talking about the very important issues of this race.
>> Thank you very much for having us.
>> Thank you, gentlemen.
>> Please join us next Sunday.
Will continue our coverings with the candidates.
Talk with the two leading candidates for U.S. senate, Democrat pat Leahey and Republican Len Briton.
Until then, have a great day.
>> So long everybody.