Abortion, Health Law Heat Up Campaign Debates Around The Country
Running for re-election, Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., Thursday charged that Republican Carly Fiorina's stance on abortion is "'a direct threat' to the rights of women in California and the nation ...," the Los Angeles Times reports. "'Overturning Roe vs. Wade would turn women and doctors into criminals,' Boxer said. 'The most extreme anti-choice groups have found their candidate in Carly Fiorina.' ... Fiorina, who opposes abortion except in the case of rape, incest or when the pregnancy endangers the life of the mother, has said the allegation is a distortion of her position. She told reporters ... that her opponent was trying to shift voters' attention from more pressing concerns about unemployment, the rate of federal spending and Boxer's 'track record of failure.' ... The former Hewlett-Packard Co. chief executive has not explained what actions, if any, she would take in Congress to restrict abortion if elected" (Reston, 10/15).
Politico: "Boxer has hammered away at Fiorina's stance on abortion during other campaign events and their two previous debates. But California election observers say she's also been holding back a bit ... That strategy contrasts with her three previous campaigns for the Senate, where she's found success against other conservative Republicans who view abortion similarly to Fiorina. Boxer wouldn't say how much the abortion issue would make its way into advertisements during the closing three weeks of the campaign, where she clings to a single-digit lead in a number of recent polls after running in a dead heat for much of the summer" (Samuelsohn, 10/14).
In the meantime, House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, "became the highest ranking lawmaker" to sign a conservative pledge to repeal and replace the health law, The Hill's Healthwatch blog reports. "Revere America, a Washington-based conservative group named after the 18th-century Boston patriot, sent its repeal pledge to all members of Congress and the candidates challenging them this election season. Twenty-one Republicans have endorsed the motion, with Boehner leading the pack" (Lillis, 10/14).
Related KHN document and story: Text: The Republican 'Pledge' On Health Care (9/27) and Republican Pollster Opposes 'Repeal And Replace' Health Law Message Strategy (Werber Serafini, 10/14)
The Kansas City Star: In the race for a Senate seat in Missouri, "Democrat Robin Carnahan and Republican Roy Blunt exchanged accusations and promised changes in Washington during a crisp, pointed one-hour debate. ... The sharpest exchange came during a discussion of health care reform. Carnahan accused Blunt of opposing the health care law because of ties to lobbyists. 'I think people should have access,' she said. 'They should have the same access you have as a member of Congress. So I think if you want to repeal health care reform and let insurance companies go back to their worst abuses, Congressman, then you ought to repeal your own first. And man up. And do what you're asking other people to do.' That prompted a quick response from the Republican, who accused Carnahan of opposing medical liability reform, a move he said would reduce the cost of health care, because she's taken support from lawyers" (Helling, 10/14).
In southwestern Colorado, The Pueblo Chieftain reports that incumbent Democratic Rep. John Salazar against state Rep. Scott Tipton debated yesterday. "Tipton went after Salazar on the same issues he's been pounding at all year - that Salazar supported the $787 billion stimulus bill in Congress and backed the Democratic health care legislation as well. Salazar didn't back down on either issue, calling the health care bill a money-saver. Salazar argued the new health care legislation will save more than $1 trillion over a decade, but that savings is based on the legislation's intent to shrink the expected growth of Medicare costs by $500 billion over 10 years. Tipton and other critics have labeled that a $500 billion cut in Medicare. 'You voted to cut $500 billion from Medicare and are hurting our seniors,' Tipton charged" (Roper, 10/15).
The (Ohio) Springfield News-Sun: "The candidates furthest apart on the issues were U.S. Rep. Steve Austria, R-Beavercreek, and Democratic challenger Bill Conner in the 7th Congressional District race. On health care, Austria said he wants to 'repeal and replace' recent changes to scale back the federal government's role. Conner said he would push for a single-payer system" (Sweigart, 10/14).
The Associated Press/The (South Lawler, S.D.) Daily Republic: "[Democratic Rep. Stephanie] Herseth Sandlin and [Republican challenger Kristi] Noem appeared separately Thursday at a special forum attended by about 70 members of the South Dakota Home Builders Association. The group of contractors asked each candidate questions in hour-long sessions. Herseth Sandlin voted against the health reform bill passed by Congress, but she said it's nearly certain that Congress will [never] repeal it. The best approach is to try to keep the good provisions and get rid of features that are unworkable or too expensive, she said. Noem said she believes the measure passed by Congress should be repealed so efforts to improve health care can start from scratch" (Brokaw, 10/15).
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