Culver v. Branstad Debate at Coe College in Cedar Rapids – Live Blog

Culver v. Branstad Debate at Coe College in Cedar Rapids – Live Blog



Arron and I are in our seats in the nosebleed section of the balcony…Paul is down in orchestra seats, so he'll probably get some great photos…be sure and check back for them later..

On the way in, the campaign supporters were loud and rowdy…the Republicans were pounding on what looked like red paint buckets…they were chanting something, couldn't hear, but it seemed to us that the Culver supporters were louder, we could hear “Terry loves taxes” to the tune of “here we go Hawkeyes, here we go!”    Quite a few black and gold “Hawkeyes for Culver” shirts…people wanting to know where to get them…

Hope I can hear up here…It's now 6:40…

Bruce Aune on the stage…Good evening Cedar Rapids!  …Giving us the rules…don't cheer during the debate…be respectful…can get wild before and after debate… (I'm so far away I wasn't sure it was Bruce Aune…).  Enjoy the debate…

Lots of applause, can't see…Arron said Mari Culver came in….Branstad came in, his supporters are being loud, but now Culver's people are deafening..Culver people definitely much louder…the big lug is in the house…

…waiting…balcony is mostly full, but still a few seats left..TV coverage starting…Terry  – again I notice looks like a paper doll cut-out of himself next to Chet…

format explanation, each candidate gets 1 1/2 minutes to answer…can rebut…first question goes to Branstad (won the coin toss)

State budget…how would you eliminate future possible shortfall if elected? 

Branstad:  Shortfall caused by Culver and Democratic legislature…over next 5 years want to…eliminate the structural deficit by reducing the size and cost of government…sell state vehicle fleet and lease vehicles…eliminate positions that are funded but not filled…look at all aspects, careful review, do somethings businesses do to get the waste out of gov't and balance the budget w/o raising taxes.

Culver:  Bottom line is we will balance the budget just like we have the last 4 years…have a surplus, cash reserves…we have proven that we can govern and balance budget during tough times…reminds us that Branstad “cooked the books” for 10 years, kept two sets of books, was 42nd in the nation in financial management when he was gov, was ranked 3rd worst while he was gov, Iowa now ranked 3rd best…I believe in taking good care of the taxpayer dollars, that is why we have been responsible the last 4 years…any shortfall will be dealt with just like we have dealt with…

Branstad:  Said Gov Culver and dem legislature passed biggest budget in history…[sounds smarmy, whiny…]

Governor Culver:  Terry has broken promises time and time again by not telling the truth and cooking the books…he promised to balance the budget and failed, increased the budget every year he was governor…

Next Question:  AZ's immigration law:  what role should states play in enforcing immigration law?

Culver:  Illegal means illegal.  Fed gov. has primary responsibility…we have taken a number of steps…require contractors to make sure they are hiring legal people to work…the key is federal reform…we definitely need the fed gov to step up…Branstad believes in going beyond AZ and that will only fill up our jails; I've talked to sheriffs across the state…budgets are already tight…bottom line is fed gov has jurisdiction but we will do all we can at the state level

Branstad:  Local law enforcement oughta enforce the laws…fed gov's responsibility to deport those who violate the laws;  says Chet mischaracterized his position…we should welcome people but they should be held accountable…fed gov hasn't protected the borders…fed gov shouldn't be attacking states like AZ…

Question:  Would you support Ron Corbett's proposal…

Branstad:  Idea seems to have some merit…as I understand the problem, the community is trying to find a way to protect both sides of the river…I'm very interested in working with Corbett on this idea…I want to review and review alternatives…only 34% of money allocated at fed and state level has gotten to Linn County…should be looked at very carefully…

Culver:  Branstad has changed his position once again, just Monday he said he has not been in support of Mayor's plan…Branstad against I-Jobs, Terry opposes every single project…he even said I-Jobs was a mistake..  I think it is our duty to help home-owners, business owners…without the Iowa Jobs Infrastructure Initiative we wouldn't have gotten to move so quickly.  85% of the funds have been approved for projects…took Branstad 12 years to close the books on the 1993 flood..

Branstad:  Culver mischaracterized what I said…

Culver:  Terry raised taxes 60 times while he served…

Question:  from citizen…  something about green jobs..  … 

Culver:  We have worked tirelessly to bring  jobs to Iowa – IBM, Google, Microsoft, 267 companies, 21,000 new jobs…success bringing renewable energy, green jobs, more than 100 small businesses supplying parts to the wind manufacturers…Iowa is leading the nation in renewable energy jobs…Terry moved jobs to Mexico; we were recognized this week as the third best run state in America; CNBC said we are the 6th best place to do business..will continue to help those displaced..

Branstad:  Culver's policies a failure; …we worked hands on to bring jobs…(talking about the cost of jobs); need to focus on reducing the tax burden (surprise!)…I know how to do it because I've done it before…will create 200,000 new jobs in next 5 years…

Culver:  Terry a serial promise maker and promise breaker…he came up about 140,000 jobs short of what he promised…cannot trust Terry because he has broken these promises time after time in the past…

Branstad:  will work on it every day, numbers…will not spend my time berating Gov. Culver…

Question:  What is your plan for reforming the property tax system without crippling local government?

Branstad:  We need to reduce commercial property taxes…when I was governor before, I got rid of the tax ….  [talking too fast, can't hear him…something abaout the price of commodities, …keeps saying “when I was governor before..”  it's either wonkiness or bs…]

Culver:  When he was higher Branstad had unemployment rates as high or higher than today.  As things are today, we have the 8th lowest unemployment in America.  He promised when he was governor that he wouldn't raise taxes but he raised taxes 60 times.  Hundreds of millions of dollars that had to be paid through property taxes under Branstad.  We have to move forward

Question:  Basic skills..given current budget, how to get kids ready for kindergarden while not hurting higher ed?

Culver:  Still want Branstad to explain….(Terry passed on rebuttal before) …I believe we should do everything we can to expand preschool for four year olds…Terry wants to take the money away from our kids and give it away as a corporate income tax break for out of state corporations…he wants to take money away from the kids and give it to corporations…no more important investment than investing in kids…believe strongly in expanding preschool for four year olds.

Branstad…I support preschool…instead of making it a new entitlement and making it free for everybody which we can't afford…parents would pay tuition, those who couldn't afford it could get scholarships to help…

Culver:  Terry not being honest…he wants to take 90 million dollars that allows children to go to preschool today..the fact is hard-working Iowans can't afford to send their children to preschool…Terry just doesn't understand just how important it is for them to have that.

Terry:  I do understand, but we can't afford it, can't afford the mismanagement of the last several years, we only have a limited amount of resources…

Question:  The % of money for the state regents institutions going down while tuition going up…what is the appropriate level of state appropriations for the regents institutions?

Branstad: [pandering to higher education…Iowa's great universities, etc… ]  then…we need to be prudent and thoughtful…need to keep it affordable…very sensitive to, very committed to, but we have a limited amount of resources, we can't promise everything to everybody.

Culver:  also goes on about the outstanding educational institutions in Iowa…I believe in bringing back the University of Iowa's campus after the flood…we recently learned that the UI  has a 6 billion dollar impact on our state's economy, is our 3rd largest employer, so that is why I am committed to bring federal aid to UI…can't wait for the grand opening of the new Hancher Auditorium and I feel good about the funds that have been secured to rebuild the other buildings…Terry is opposed to I-Jobs which means that …

Branstad:  I-jobs is really Illinois jobs…Iowa shouldn't have to pay for Illinois jobs?  Repub audience members (ha-ha!)

Culver:  Terry not telling the truth…again he's opposed to the prison that we're building that is an I-jobs project -…the overwhelming majority of I-jobs are going to Iowans (cheers from the Culver supporters)

Missed the next question but Culver stays on message, jobs, says Terry wants to follow Indiana model, repeats Iowa's high rankings in state budget management.

Branstad:  goes on and on about what he did before…it's like he's a relic from the past, doesn't seem connected to what is going on now, doesn't seem to know much about it…want to put the right to work law back, make Iowa more attractive for entrepreneurs, I know I can do it because I did it before…I created jobs at every single turn when I was governor…

Culver:  I've gone around the world marketing Iowa…Microsoft, 267 other companies have come to Iowa.  Terry brought IBP and Decoster to Iowa  (laughter)

Branstad:  When I was governor we were in the process of putting Decoster out of business, unfortunately, the attorney general didn't follow through..

Culver:  It was your attorney general!

Question:  How to make Iowa greener?

Branstad:  Back when I was governor…we were losing trees and now we see a lot more trees are being planted…filter strips and encouraging farmers to use practices that reduce erosions so we made progress in Iowa…also involved with helping the State Fair foundation in the past ..
I believe that we have a lot of wonderful places in Iowa that need protected…

Culver:  We have worked extremely hard to make Iowa the greenest state in America…on my watch we've gone from 5-20% renewable energy; we have built 40 wind farms in Iowa..have the goal of making Iowa the renewable capital of the U.S…we started the Iowa Power Fund…people of Iowa will be beneficiaries…there's no state in America better positioned in terms of green energy than Iowa and I will continue to lead…in my second term we want to double…and rebuild the grid…

Question:  Casinos…

Culver:  gaming revenue has allowed us to move forward on meeting our infrastructure needs and move faster on the floods…50% is coming from out of state gamblers who come to our casinos..I think we need to be fair, and communities should have the same chance…that's why I favored Ottumwa and Ft. Dodge, it has to be fair as far as assessing those applications in the future.

Branstad:  I think the Racing and Gaming decision was wise to reject the casinos that Culver wanted…protecting the integrity of the state…says this 3 times…[this must be why msm picked it up and ran with it before, as if Terry has high integrity…]

Culver:  Your largest donor owns two casinos, so we don't need to hear from you about casinos…[running out of battery]

Branstad:  sounds defensive, muddling through…

Culver wants to rebut, they won't let him..

probably signing off soon due to battery…Terry seems slick and old-fashioned. Limited amount of resources seems to be his favorite buzzword after integrity.  Iowa is open for business! 

Culver:  We are going to continue to be recognized as one of the best places in America for business…Forbes magazine recognized Des Moines, Cedar Rapids – potential job growth, Iowa City also at the top.  We are moving forward and we are outpacing most of the country in terms of recovery from the recession…we've had 11 months in a row of economic growth…leading America in green power jobs and renewable energy…Main Street Iowa program, Division Iowa programs, which Branstad would dismantle –  he would dismantle all of these programs which have been working so successfully.

Branstad:  No rebuttal…[what's up with that…]

Question:  Same sex marriage

Culver:  allows people to make their own decisions (applaud); I respect an independent judiciary…Terry is oversimplifying this issue to suggest that people should get to vote on supreme court decisions; we need to move forward, Iowa should lead on civil rights

Branstad:  I signed the defense of marriage law…I think the Supreme Court decision was wrong.

[Homophobes here, a surprising amount of applause].

Culver:  You can't just vote on the cases you disagree with;

Question: …biggest accomplishments…

Culver:  We're the renewable energy capital of the U.S.; our future is bright because of green power jobs; I've managed this state during these hard times… Big applause for Chet..  the condition of the state is strong; we are leading us out of this recession; we've had a lot of success bringing jobs…I've delivered on promises I've made; I promised to raise minimum wage and we did; little children have health care that didn't 4 years ago; we promised to expand pre-school and that has happened; Terry has broken his promises to Iowans; raised taxes after saying he wouldn't; he broke his promise on the budget, cooked the books for 4 years; broke his promise in terms of jobs creation… I want to keep moving Iowa forward; I want to fight for our veterans, our seniors, women's rights and civil rights; we don't want to go back to the days of Terry Branstad.

Terry:  I had a good job but people said they wanted me to run so I am.  (more or less that is what he said..)  I did good before, I can do it again…  claims he raised family incomes by 25%?  seems to be making up his talking points as he goes along.  “I love this state!” 

Chet people:  4 more years!! 



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