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Pennsylvania Senate debate: Pat Toomey vs. Joe Sestak

Reps Pat Toomey, Republican, left, and Joe Sestak Democrat shake hands before their Pennsylvania Senate debate 10-20-10

For all the talk about electoral tsunamis, there is a plethora of tight U.S. Senate races across the country. Illinois is one of the tightest where a Republican congressman and a Democrat state treasurer are competing for the open seat now held by Roland Burris, and before him someone named Barack Obama.

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Following is the complete transcript of the Pennsylvania Senate debate between Rep. Pat Toomey (R) and Rep. Joe Sestak (D), as provided and edited for clarity by ABC News.

JIM GARDNER:

Hello, everyone here in the Kimmel Theater and at home.  Welcome to the National Constitution Center.  This is the Pennsylvania Senate Debate that so many people have been waiting to see.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS:

We are broadcasting all across the state of Pennsylvania.  Also, lots of opportunities to watch online.  We’re streaming tonight’s debate on 6ABC.com, ABCNews.com, and Facebook.  Weigh in and tell us what you think.

JIM GARDNER:

We have a few simple notes to share with you before we get started tonight.  The....

...format this evening will include questions to the candidates from me and from George and from our panelists.  The candidates will have a total of 90 seconds to respond to every question.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS:

Here’s how it will break down.  A 60 second response, and if the candidate chooses, a 30 second rebuttal.  No opening statements tonight, but there will be closing statements.  And we’ve got a timer to ensure fairness.  The candidates can see it right there.

JIM GARDNER:

The order of questioning was determined by a coin toss.  Mr. Sestak will give the first response.  And so, let’s begin our questioning.  So much of the discussion about jobs and the employment crisis in this country has focused on small business and that’s appropriate.  But in Pennsylvania big business has been the problem, as well.  Car assembly plants have shut down.  And defense contractors have pulled up stakes.  Some of those jobs are lost period.  Some of those jobs have gone to other countries.  And some of those jobs have gone to other states, where the business climate it quote unquote "friendlier."  So, in Pennsylvania, you really have a three-headed monster.  How do you bring jobs back to Pennsylvania?

JOE SESTAK:

Thanks, everyone, for the debate this evening.  And Pat, thank you.  It is still about small business.  Pennsylvania’s actually had half the growth of small businesses in the last 30 years of the nation’s average.  So, Washington really has to start giving tax credits, like 15 percent, to a small business for every new payroll job they create.  That would create five million jobs in just two years.

Zero capital gains tax for small businesses.  You’re right.  Corporations have gone overseas.  My opponent, for example, voted that if a corporation shuts down its factory here in Pennsylvania, fires its employees, and then invests in a factory in China.  And then cheap goods come in, often illegally subsidized by China, then a-- no tax is given to the process of that large corporation, where jobs have gone overseas.  In fact, he takes it another step.  That corporations should have zero taxes.  So, that’s the difference.  Small business create 80 percent of all jobs.  He believes it’s about corporations and helping them create jobs elsewhere.

JIM GARDNER:

Mr. Toomey?

PAT TOOMEY:

Well, I’m the candidate in this race that’s actually created jobs.  Started a small business from scratch with my brothers.  We owned and operated some restaurants and we employed hundreds of workers.  And I can tell you the biggest factor that’s presenting us from having job growth, at large, medium, and small companies, is this out of control agenda in Washington.

Think about what we’ve been witnessing.  Serial bailouts of failing companies.  Nationalizing whole industries.  Spending money on a scale I never imagined possible.  Corresponding deficits and debt.  You throw in cap and trade, card check, government run health care.  This agenda is preventing us from having the kind of economic growth that we so badly need.  Congressman Sestak, he’ll talk a lot about accountability on the campaign trail, but doesn’t seem to want to hold himself accountable.

He voted for every item on that agenda and his only criticism was that they didn’t go far enough.  This agenda, this overreach of government, is having a chilling effect on our ability to create jobs.  I know.  I’ve been there.  I’ve started businesses and created jobs.  We’ve got to get off this track.

JIM GARDNER:

Would you like a 30 second rebuttal, Mr. Sestak?

JOE SESTAK:

Yes.  Let’s set aside the fact that when you, Congressman Toomey, invested in a small business here in Pennsylvania, you were working in China for a Chinese billionaire, who testified under oath, a couple years later, you never had hands on operations of your small business that your brothers ran.  But let’s look at how you have no credibility or track record in creating jobs.  During the Bush/Toomey era, zero jobs were created, as compared to the eight years in the Clinton Administration where I worked, 23 million jobs created.  That’s the fact.  And that is where we have to level with Pennsylvanians.

JIM GARDNER:

Mr. Toomey.

PAT TOOMEY:

Well-- this is-- it’s-- it’s almost amusing that Joe is-- is willing to mischaracterize-- my small business.  My brothers and I and the hundreds of people that I helped employ know very well that I was very actively involved in this business.  That’s why I understand the way that policies that Joe’s advocating are killing jobs.  And the kind of policies that we need.

Joe wants much higher taxes on businesses, on individuals, on labor, on-- on all kinds of things that he’s already voted for and advocated even further.  We just disagree.  I think we need to get spending under control, lower taxes, and create the kind of incentives so that we can get the job growth we badly need.

JIM GARDNER:

George, time’s yours.  First to Mr. Toomey.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS:

Mr. Toomey, this question is for you.  Sarah Palin has really stepped her activity-- this year.  Just yesterday, she put out a notice-- an endorsement on state on-- Facebook, asking Pennsylvania voters to get behind-- you.  The Democratic Party sent out a statement saying that shows that you have more in common with Republican extremists than the voters of Pennsylvania.  It’s a two part question.  What do you make of her role in this campaign?  And do you think she’s qualified to be President?

PAT TOOMEY:

Well, George-- you know, I’m very grateful for the support that I have from people all across the political spectrum.  Republicans, Independents, Democrats.  I welcome the-- endorsements that I’ve had from high-profile-- candidates and political figures and ordinary folks that I meet every day.  I-- here’s what I think’s important.  I-- you know, I think right now we’re at an inflection point for our country.

Joe Sestak and-- and the other very liberal Democrats who have dominated the agenda in Washington have attempted to dramatically expand the size and the scope and the power and the cost of our government.  My concern-- and, you know-- a lot of that concern is driven by the three kids that Chris and I have our, ten-year-old daughter, my nine-year-old son, and our little five-month-old baby boy.

I’m concerned about their future.  And, you know, whoever’s endorsing me in this campaign, I’m grateful for.  And I welcome all allies in this effort to get a government that’s out of control under control so that we can have the prosperity that-- that we need and we deserve.

JIM GARDNER:

Mr. Sestak?

JOE SESTAK:

Look, I know he won the very coveted award of an endorsement by Sarah Palin.  But I have respect and I understand the anger of the Tea Party.  And I appreciate their activism.  What I’m most concerned about are those extreme candidates that are actually taking of the extreme fringe of the Tea Party.  There are those that are running with Congressman Toomey.  Miss O’Donnell next door, for example.  That want to do away with the 14th Amendment.  That actually thinks there can be a state established religion.

One of the most out of sorts ideas...Congressman Toomey’s belief that corporations should have zero taxes.  Zero.  If Congressman Toomey is consistent on anything, is that if it’s...for the people, he’s against it.  If it’s a program for corporations, he’s for it.  It says above us in Constitution Hall, "We the People."  Not, "We the Corporations."  That’s the difference in this election.

JIM GARDNER:

Mr. Toomey?

PAT TOOMEY:

Well, the-- you know, it’s very clear, the person who’s the extreme candidate that is so far out of touch with Pennsylvania is Joe Sestak.  I mean, look at this agenda.  Not only did he vote for every item on that agenda, all the bailouts, every single one.  While many members of the Pennsylvania delegation, including Democrats, voted against elements, not Joe Sestak.  He voted for all of the bailouts.  And then introduced his own bill to create a new bailout.

That stimulus bill that-- Joe might be the only person in the United States who thinks that that should have been a trillion dollars, as he has said, because $800 billion of money we didn’t have wasn’t enough.  Joe voted for cap and trade, which would devastate our economy.  And said it didn’t go far enough.  He voted for the health care bill and in committee he voted for a version of the bill that would have allowed states to ban all private health insurance all together.  Joe, that’s a very extreme agenda.  And it’s out of step with Pennsylvania.

JOE SESTAK:

Congressman Toomey, you know that’s wrong.  And that’s not true.  My daughter with brain cancer, if that bill had passed that way, would have lost her health insurance.  You know I voted against that.  But what we did say is health insurance agents, health insurance companies that were actually defrauding the government of 20 percent.  Tw-- actually charging us more.  We stopped that.

With the U.S. Military, we don’t breed liberals.  We don’t breed conservatives.  We’re on the ground in Afghanistan.  There’s no liberals there.  What is there is problem solvers....my first job on a warship during Vietnam War era, damage control officer.  And that’s what we had to do was control the damage done by the policies of you and George Bush, Congressman.

JIM GARDNER:

Wendy Davis, your first question to Mr. Sestak.

WENDY DAVIS:

Okay.  Turning to Social Security now.  For a lot of Pennsylvanians, the dream of a secure retirement is becoming increasingly threatened.  In fact, a lot of Pennsylvania seniors rely solely on Social Security as their income.  What is your stance on privatizing Social Security?

JOE SESTAK:

Oh, I’m so opposed to privatizing Social Security, like my opponent supports.  And has written in his book that we should do it.  We have to preserve for our seniors Social Security.  If it had been privatized in this last....this recession...depression, 20 million seniors would have moved into poverty.  Two thirds of our seniors rely on Social Security for their retirement or the majority of it.

My opponent wants to take it and invest it to where he made his fortune.  And I applaud your fortune on Wall Street.  But he then wants to invest it there.  What broker’s gonna come forward during a recession and say, "Hey, don’t worry.  I’ll back it up."  He wants to take the security out of Social Security.  Then he says, "You know, maybe I’ll only invest the youth there."  That’s what he says in his book.

But the youths pay into the senior’s Social Security.  Flip two more pages on his book, and it says, so dishearteningly, "Well, we’ll have to borrow from China up to $4.9 trillion then.  Just borrow it."  Look, he thinks all the answers are found on Wall Street.  I want to keep our Social Security security solvent and safe.

JIM GARDNER:

Mr. Toomey?

PAT TOOMEY:

Well, (LAUGH) let me very clear, because Joe has been doing a pretty good job of grossly misrepresenting what I’ve stood for and what I’ve said.  First of all, my dad is 80 years old.  My mom is of the same generation.  They rely on Social Security and they have since they retired.  I would never do anything that would jeopardize the benefits of people who are retired or close to retirement.

And when I was a Member of the House, I sponsored legislation that would make it out of order for Congress to even consider legislation that would cut the benefits of retirees.  Joe Sestak hasn’t sponsored any such legislation.  But I’ve also looked at the reality that we face as a nation.  The fiscal challenges that we face.  And the demographic reality that we face.

And I want to make this program last for future generations.  To do it, we’re gonna have to make some changes.  And we could offer young people some reforms within Social Security so that this program can be viable.  The real jeopardy to Social Security is the reckless spending of Joe Sestak.  One and a half trillion deficit that he’s voted for.  $3.3 trillion of new debt.  The interest service on this debt alone is going to jeopardize our ability to honor our commitment.  And that’s outrageous.

JIM GARDNER:

Mr. Sestak?

JOE SESTAK:

Congressman Toomey’s book says two things.  In an election truth is the first casualty.  And once again it was.  I’ve sponsored legislation to put Social Security in a lockbox.  Second, is-- in his book, when you look it up, and you go to his book where he says, "Privatize Social Security."  What he says if...the market goes down and people are wiped out of their savings, that’s the risk they take.

Billions of dollars, however, of wealth accumulation will be given to those brokers that invest Social Security.  Congressman Toomey-- what I don’t understand is why are we advocating taking what’s a social network for our seniors and risking it in the stock market, where we just had an example of where when the stock market goes down, seniors lose their Social Security.  Whether it’s today or whether it’s in the future.  And that’s the difference between us.  You’re with the corporations and Wall Street.  I’ll be with us, the people.

PAT TOOMEY:

Joes demagoguery knows no limits, apparently.  I’ve argued for instance that Vanguard, a Pennsylvania company, it’s not on Wall Street.  Vanguard is not a for-profit company.  There’d be no profits.  But they manage hundreds of billions of dollars.  And with a properly regulated and diversified portfolio, I think a lot of young people would choose the option that I would offer.

Joe has no solutions for this.  Joe has no solutions for the big problems that we face.  Instead it’s mischaracterized, dishonest attacks.  And if he gets close to a solution, it’s always the same.  Raise taxes.  And in the case of Social Security, cut benefits.  There are no other options.  The kind of spending that he’s engaged in, that he has advocated is the single biggest threat to all of our retirement programs, as well as to the health of the country.  But-- but I think there’s a better way to go.

JIM GARDNER:

Vernon Odom, your question first to Mr. Toomey.

VERNON ODOM:

Mr. Toomey, abortion.  Is Roe v. Wade...or would you, if elected, work to further undermine it?  Or knock it out completely?  Two, in terms of-- affirming judicial appointments all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court, would you vote to affirm anybody who was not in your camp on that issue?

PAT TOOMEY:

Well, you’ve put a lot on the table all at once.  Let me start-- with the first issue.  Abortion’s a tough issue.  And it’s one-- there’s good people on both sides of this.  My views are consistent with that of a majority of the congressional delegation and the other Senator from Pennsylvania.  I’m pro-life.  And I would accept a ban on abortions, with the exceptions of rape and incest and the life of the mother.

I think Roe versus Wade was mistakenly-- determined.  And I would support its repeal.  But I’ve never advocated that we have a litmus test for judges.  I think instead that what we ought to do is examine a judge’s qualifications.  When Justice-- now Justice Sotomayor was first suggested, nominated by President Obama, many of my colleagues, many Republicans thought we should simply reject her candidacy.

I deemed her to be quite capable and competent and I advocated endorsing her.  Joe Sestak is the one who is extreme on this issue.  He is in that fringe of-- of members, very liberal, who believe in taxpayer funded abortion on demand.  And no restrictions at all.  Well outside the mainstream of Pennsylvania.

JIM GARDNER:

Mr. Sestak?

JOE SESTAK:

Palin, Toomey, O’Donnell.  They all would like to overturn Roe versus Wade.  I believe that those life decisions of a family should be made within the family.  I don’t think government should intervene.  And I respect precedence on the Supreme Court.  I think there’s even more of an extreme taken by Congressman Toomey on such social issues and others.  Congressman Toomey actually opposes protecting a victim of hate crimes.

Congressman Toomey’s idea of gun control, he said, is a steady aim.  Twenty percent increase in murders of our law enforcement officers were...because they happened to have a military assault weapon.  I don’t think our law enforcement officers should have to go up against what we in the military had to, as the Army and Marine Corps did in Iraq.  I think those views with O’Donnell and others are too extreme for...Pennsylvania.

JIM GARDNER:

Mr. Toomey, if you want to rebut, now is your chance.

PAT TOOMEY:

Well, again, the extreme view is the view held by the tiny minority in Congress, in Pennsylvania, and American society that believes there should be no restrictions whatsoever.  Taxpayers should fund abortions as Joe Sestak advocates.  Partial birth abortions should be permitted, as he advocates.  He’s taken the most liberal positions on many things.  He doesn’t respect the rights of-- law abiding citizens to own firearms in-- in many ways.  It’s Joe Sestak who has views that are simply well outside the mainstream.

JIM GARDNER:

Mr. Sestak.

JOE SESTAK:

I voted against taxpayers funding it.  And you know it Congressman.

PAT TOOMEY:

You did not, Joe.

JOE SESTAK:

Yes, I did.

JOE SESTAK:

When you’re being dishonest, Joe, I’m gonna call you on it.

JIM GARDNER:

Congressman?

JOE SESTAK:

May I have my....

JIM GARDNER:

Go ahead.

JOE SESTAK:

Congressman Toomey, I voted against it.  Number two, I so respect the Second Amendment.  I’ve lived my entire life, 31 years in the U.S. Military with weapons.  I respect those...hunters in Pennsylvania.  The first day of hunting go out and do what families do in Pennsylvania.  But I do believe that there’s community safety that has to be taken.  You voted against an increase for law enforcement officers.  But I voted against that amendment.

PAT TOOMEY:

Well, the record is very clear.  And everybody can look this up.  And you’ll see that Joe is-- either seriously misremembering or simply being dishonest.  I’m pleased that I have the endorsement of the State Troopers Association of Pennsylvania.  The F.O.P.  The Philadelphia F.O.P.  That makes it very clear about my support for law enforcement.

JIM GARDNER:

Mr. Sestak, I have to give you another 10-12 seconds of rebuttal.

JOE SESTAK:

Yes.  Let me just talk about spending.  When Congressman Toomey went to Congress, he actually voted to....the requirement that government had to live within its means.  You want any program, cut it.  Cut another one.  Because of that, he left behind, when he left Congress, the largest deficit in the history of America.  Now, he wants to finger point, because we had to vote to get that requirement back into law.  Which we did.

JIM GARDNER:

All right.  Thank you, sir.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS:

Mr. Sestak, this question is for you.  I want to pick up on your conversation about the Second Amendment and gun control.  Under current U.S. law, people on the terrorist watch list are barred from getting on airplanes, but they can buy guns or explosives.  And the Government Accounting Office has found that in the last--

JOE SESTAK:

In what?

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS:

The Government Accounting Office has found that in the last six years, 1,000 people on the terrorist watch list have actually been able to buy guns and explosives.  Given the fact that we now know Al Qaeda seems to be changing tactics and is moving more towards small-scale urban attacks, using guns and explosives.  Should the law be changed so the people on the terrorist watch list cannot buy guns or explosives?

JOE SESTAK:

Yes.  Look, I headed the Navy’s antiterrorism unit.  I was on the ground in Afghanistan for a short mission, when I was head of it.  We were hunting terrorists.  But we knew since 9/11, we no longer just have away games, wars overseas.  We also know after 9/11 that our first responders have to take care of efforts here at home also.  I do believe about reasonable laws that ensure criminals, including the worst of criminals, terrorists, cannot gain access to weapons.  Government should be reasonable.  It shouldn’t intervene in private life decisions of families...making.  But when you know someone’s on a watch list to be a terrorist, yes, we should ensure that they do not get access to a weapon.

PAT TOOMEY:

Well, I think we should make sure we have a very sophisticated and adequate background check mechanism to make sure that terrorists, certainly, and other dangerous people.  And certainly criminals.  Don’t have access to guns.  I would not support restricting the rights of law-abiding citizens however.  And-- and-- and I think that’s a very important distinction.  We talked about terrorists.  And this-- this raises another very big distinction between Joe and I.

And-- and an example of just how extreme Joe Sestak is.  My view, when we capture an enemy combatant, a foreign terrorist on foreign soil, trying to kill Americans.  We should give that person a military trial in a military tribunal on a military base.  Joe Sestak is about, all alone, among any elected official that I know of in Pennsylvania who believes that even Khalid Sheik Muhammad, the admitted mastermind of 9/11, should be given a civilian trial, in-- including here in Pennsylvania.  Joe’s been adamant about that.  I think that is extremely irresponsible.  It’s dangerous.  And it’s a compromise to our security.

JOE SESTAK:

George, I am unique among those who have been elected to the Congress.  I walked out of the Pentagon on 9/11 and 25 minutes later, a plane slammed into that building.  Men and women who had worked for me never came out.  I was on the ground in Afghanistan ...short mission.  And the fact that those-- the fact that those criminals are still sitting down there, after the Supreme Court said we could not bring them to justice.

I want them brought to justice in Washington, D.C., where they killed my friends.  George Bush brought in 200 terrorists to be tried here in America.  I defended those laws.  They’re strong enough to do it.  I want them put to death for what they did.

PAT TOOMEY:

Except that what Joe Sestak is advocating is a huge risk for the United States.  A security risk wherever the trial were to be conducted.  This would be a circus.  It would be very dangerous.  Who knows what terrorists would try to do to disrupt the proceedings.  How much it would cost, certainly in money, but perhaps even in lives.

But even bigger than that, in a civilian trial, the prosecution is required to disclose to the defense, its methods, its information, where it got it, and what it knows.  I don’t think we’re under any obligation to help our enemies kill Americans.  And disclosing that kind of information to the very mastermind of 9/11 would be incredibly imprudent, if you ask me.

JIM GARDNER:

Back to the economy for a moment, gentleman.

JOE SESTAK:

I have 30 seconds, Mr. Gardner.  Let me--

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS:

Sir, but that was the rules, please.  You read the rules.  Thank you.

JIM GARDNER:

No, no, you’ve had your rebuttal.

JOE SESTAK:

No, I was the first one.

JIM GARDNER:

You had your rebuttal.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS:

You had your question and you got your rebuttal.  You each had 60 seconds.  You each had a 30 second rebuttal.

JOE SESTAK:

30 seconds each?  Sorry, my apology.

JIM GARDNER:

Nope, hold on.  I’m getting another message.  Say it again.

JOE SESTAK:

I did not have the 30 seconds.

JIM GARDNER:

I apologize.  You do have a rebuttal.

JOE SESTAK:

All right, thank you.  (LAUGH) Sorry for being persistent.  That’s not true.  Courts do not-- civilian courts have to reveal that.  In fact, George Bush tried 200 terrorists, 200 of them here and he never spoke up.  Look, we have to get these terrorists tried.  The Supreme Court is just letting them sit down there in Gitmo.  If George Bush could have 200, why didn’t they speak up then?  Why now during an election?  And yes, I don’t care what other politicians say.  I’m a public servant who knows to do what I believe is right to get them to be tried here.  And get the keys thrown away or put to death.

JIM GARDNER:

I know producers are almost never wrong, but they were this time.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS:

You get another 30 seconds.

JIM GARDNER:

Mr. Toomey, you do get another 30 seconds.

PAT TOOMEY:

Well, I-- I just think it’s-- it’s abundantly clear this is a huge security risk.  This has been-- you know, exhaustively explained.  Again, I think it’s part of the reason that the law enforcement community of Pennsylvania’s endorsing my candidacy after hearing both Joe Sestak and myself present our arguments to them.  And I’m grateful for their support.

JIM GARDNER:

All right.  Let’s get back to the economy for a second.  Would the American economy be in better shape today had there been no bailout of Wall Street and the automobile industry?  Clearly the deficit wouldn’t be as high as it is today?  But are there, in fact, companies and industries that are simply too big to allow-- to be allowed to fail?  And I ask that question first to Mr. Toomey.

PAT TOOMEY:

Well-- as you know if you’ve watched any TV and see any of Joe’s ads, I worked on Wall Street.  (LAUGH) I left Wall Street 20 years ago.  And one of the things that I learned then was that’s the last place that taxpayers should have to bailout.  When I got to Congress, one of the things I did very early on, was I started to raise a red flag about my concerns with the imprudent management of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

I raised the question about the implicit government guarantee.  The question of whether that would allow them to grow too big.  And whether taxpayers would eventually have to bail them out.  I went further.  I sponsored legislation that would have meant real regulatory reform.  Capital requirements, portfolio limits.  Tough regulations so that Fannie and Freddie might never have spun out of control.

In fact, if that legislation had been passed, I think it’s very unlikely that they ever would have reached the size or scale that ended up being so disastrous.  In 2007, when Joe Sestak got to Congress, unfortunately, joined forces with the most liberal wing of his conference.  Stood there with Barney Frank.  Voted against commonsense measures that might have restricted the size and scope of Fannie and Freddie.  They famously decided to roll the dice.  And now taxpayers have had to put $148 billion into Fannie and Freddie and there’s no end in sight.

JOE SESTAK:

I arrived in Congress the year the recession began.  The economists said we were headed for a depression.  We had doubled our national debt under the Toomey/Bush era.  From four and a half trillion dollars to $11 trillion.  In the last six months of George Bush’s tenure, we had lost three million jobs.  We were sinking.  Much like we had to do in the Navy, I had to control the damage of the Bush/Toomey era.

Those were tough votes.  We had been torpedoed.  The ship was sinking.  We had to caulk the hull.  700,000 were losing their jobs every month.  In the last nine months, we created almost one million jobs.  Was it perfect?  No.  But sometimes you have to take care of other people’s messes and just clean them up.  What we can’t do is have Congressman Toomey, who left Congress and became a lobbyist for a Wall Street-founded special interest group.

And went on television and said, "Deficits aren’t important." ...Social Security put it into Wall Street where he came from.  Where he still fights for them.  And borrow the money to keep Social Security solvent from the Chinese.  That’s the difference.

PAT TOOMEY:

J-- Joe has voted for every single bailout that has come down the pike.  And there are no exceptions.  And even after he voted for Fannie and Freddie’s bailout and the big Wall Street bailouts and the car company bailouts.  After a majority of Members of the House, including 99 Democrats voted to finally bring an end to that TARP program.  Not Joe.  Joe voted to continue the bailouts.

And Joe says, "Oh, he had to do it."  Well, he had to introduce his own bailout bill?  Joe’s the only sponsor of that bill.  But it’s a bill that would require taxpayers to bailout underwater mortgages.  There is no end to bailouts with Joe.  I think this happens sometimes with people who have no experience in business.  And don’t realize that this is a total misallocation of resources.  This is unfair to taxpayers.  And this is not good for our economy.

JOE SESTAK:

Congressman Toomey said if we hadn’t done what we had to do, there would have been a slightly harder down.  Yes, John McCain’s economic told us what it was, Mark Zandi (PH).  Another eight million people unemployed.  Right out that torpedo hole.  Yes, you’re right, there were Democrats that didn’t have the courage of their conviction to do what was necessary.  That’s why I’ll always stand up, as you point out, for doing what’s right.

Not for the consequences of my job, but to save jobs of Americans.  Congressman Toomey, explain to us why you believe corporations should have zero taxes.  No taxes for A.I.G.  And you said they should keep their bonuses after they ripped us off.  And yet, you voted against bonuses for our veterans fighting in Iraq.  Tell me why that $300 billion you wanted to give the corporations for zero taxes--

JIM GARDNER:

Times up.

JOE SESTAK:

--shouldn’t be given to small businesses.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS:

Vernon, you get the next question.

VERNON ODOM:

Surely.  Mister Sestak-- I'm sorry.  Pentagon and spending. You saw a few wars overseas and a few inside the Pentagon about-- budgets and things like that.  Modernizing.  Are you satisfied with the Pentagon is spending now...the fat's been cut out of there, and what would you change specifically if you are elected, and have a shot at it up there?

JOE SESTAK:

No, Vernon, not at all.  In fact, as the prudence chief of Naval operations, Verne Clark said, "When I was placed in charge of the Navy, $70 billion warfare program.  Only 65 corporations across America had a larger market value."  I can balance that budget.  And to do so, I said, "The Navy's building things wrong."  It's, for example, we need 55 submarines.

The Soviet Union is gone.  We don't have any in the Indian Ocean where submarines were.  And so I said, "What we need to know where Bin Laden is."  And so, the change of our military to be more efficient and cost-effective has to be done.  I stood up in the media, and did that against opposition of the Rumsfeld opposition.

JOE SESTAK:

Yes, they've gone when I was there to-- to 50-- to 60 ships at ....They're about 270 now, and coming down.  Take for example the F-22.  Even though some parts of it were built in my district, we have to stop that program.  If we have the knowledge of where bin Laden is, another ship at sea, in that case, isn't going to help us.  And that's the change that has to happen.

And I want to bring that military expertise and from a senior officer ever elected into Congress into the Senate to make sure we do things right, and understand warfare, and what the budget has to be to have a more cost-efficient effective military.

PAT TOOMEY:

Well, my dad's a veteran of the-- Korean War era.  My brother-in-law served-- 20 years in the navy.  One of the things that's very, very important to me is that we make sure that when we ask men and women to go into harm's way, they have all the resources they need to get the job done.  I have always voted to make sure to provide those resources, and I always will.  But-- the fact is, there is waste pretty much everywhere in the government, and that includes in the Pentagon.  Part of the problem is Congress voting for systems that the Pentagon doesn't even want.  Congress has a real serious spending problem.

And it manifests itself in many ways.  Certainly, wasteful defensive-- programs occasionally are in that list, but a more egregious example is the practice of earmarks.  Earmarks are a terrible abuse of the system, a waste of taxpayer dollars.  So often on money that-- money spent on things that nobody would spent their own money on.  Joe Sestak voted against over 100 consecutive efforts to strip out some of the most egregiously wasteful earmarks, including even $2 million for Charlie Rangel's monument to himself.  We're never going to get budgets under control if members of Congress keep piling on pork like that and voting for everyone else's pork.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULIS:

Thirty seconds, Congressman.

JOE SESTAK:

I'm the only Congressman up here that has a piece of legislation to end earmarks.  Number two, let me talk about veterans, those we send in harm's way.  And I'm most upset about Congressman Toomey is not about-- he's not just voting against those bonuses for our veterans.  He stood there and slashed the Veterans Administration, 'cause he called it waste.

One million veterans who had been covered in the Clinton administration just made a bit over poverty were kicked out under your watch.  And then, they cut it so much, we now had a backlog when I arrived in Congress of 600,000 cases.  Six-hundred-thousand cases for our vets.  Look, it isn't just about cutting.  We all want to cut.  It's where you cut, and that's what's important.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULIS:

Okay, Mister Toomey.

PAT TOOMEY:

There are just too many dishonest charges for me to refute them all.  The website-- my website will give you a chance to-- to see this afterwards.  But for Joe to seriously try to pretend that he has any interest in getting spending under control is simply laughable.  The stimulus bill included things like $31 million to build a spring training baseball camp for the Colorado Rockies and the Arizona Diamondbacks.

$11 million for Microsoft to build a bridge, and Joe Sestak argued that it should've been bigger.  Should've been-- should've been a trillion dollars.  The list goes on and on, and he voted for all of these earmarks because he got a little pork in it.  And, in fact, he violated the pledge that he had taken.

He had taken a pledge that he wouldn't-- he wouldn't accept campaign contributions from those from whom-- he was seeking earmarks.  In fact, the Philadelphia Enquirer reported that he violated that pledge, and took $120,000.  This shows you just how corrupt the system is, it really needs to end.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULIS:

Wendy?

WENDY DAVIS:

The new documentary, Waiting for Superman-- actually, I think it's directed to Mister Toomey.  The new documentary, Waiting for Superman, it argues-- pretty convincingly that the current school system is failing our children.  And that to compete on the global stage, something is going to have to change.  My question is, what could or-- what should the federal government do, if anything, about-- about this issue?

PAT TOOMEY:

Well, you know-- and my first thought, of course, goes to my kids.  I-- my-- my ten-year-old daughter is-- is just-- she's a great student, and she works really hard.  And my nine-year-old son, he much prefers playing outside, but he's a good student.  And I've got a five month old, and I obviously have great hopes for him too.

Now, we're fort-- we're very fortunate.  We can af-- afford the modest tuition of the parochial school that we send our kids to, and we're thrilled with the school.  It really does a great job meeting the needs of our kids.  What I think is absolutely tragic is that other parents who can't afford a private school tuition are trapped so often in schools that are failing their kids, and they have no option.  They have no choice.

We've got a staggering number of kids in schools in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh and-- and in between who really don't have much of a chance in life because they're not getting the education they need.  I really think that the money for funding education should follow the child, and parents should have a choice of any school, public or private, religious or nonreligious.

More choice will be helpful for these kids.  A child with a choice can't be worse off than a child with no choice.  This movie really illustrates the power of that.  Congressman Sestak voted to cut off school choice for kids in the District of Columbia, including kids who were enrolled in these private schools.  They were just sent back to the public school that they had tried to get out of.  I-- I think that's just a tragedy.  It's very important that we make this change for our kids.

JOE SESTAK:

My mom's a high school teacher.  Was-- I can always remember my pop, an immigrant, sitting there at the table, dinner table, paying for college, paying for food.  I fought to get on the education committee 'cause in the military, I saw these students come.  These failures come who caught this great nation.

We give them some remedial training, coming some of 'em from broken school systems, and man, you talk about competition.  We made that battle group human.  I believe we have to invest in our youth.  Pell grants, we have doubled by reducing the national debt, so lower income could go to college.  Early start, so kids in disenfranchised areas could actually have an opportunity.  Congressman Toomey said it well, he could afford it.

So, in his book, he says, let's take all schools, and make it like you're shopping for groceries.  What you can afford, that's where you go.  We don't distribute brains according to wealth or zip code.  And I got those youth in the military, didn't matter their ethnicity, didn't matter their race.  You give 'em a fair opportunity, and they're all they can be.  Let's fix it.  Let's just not throw everything once more on the marketplace.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULIS:

Thirty seconds, Mister Toomey.

PAT TOOMEY:

Well-- you hear Joe Sestak opposes giving poor kids a choice of-- of a private school.  The teacher's union just won't let him go there.  But I've seen how powerful it is when a poor child gets a chance to go to a great school.  Pneumonic Christian Academy is doing wonderful work with kids who come from some of the most difficult circumstances.  And right now, there's just too many kids who don't have a chance to go to that school.

Don't have a chance to go to any working school.  And-- and I just think it's unconscionable that we are allowing so many of a whole generation of Americans to have a substandard education.  You know, if we gave these kids a choice, if their parents had the opportunity to send them to a school of their choice, the competition would elevate the quality of all schools, and kids would do so much better.

JOE SESTAK:

I do support choice.  Charter schools.  People should have a choice.  But this is what you're getting with the extreme views of Congressman Toomey.  He voted four times against Pell grants so lower-income youth might go to college.  He voted against teacher training, and reducing the classroom size.  He even voted against Head Start.  Where youth come from often-- where hungry when they come in as a young kid.

I think someone who's says a large government bonanza is covering lower-income children, I don't get it.  It's we the people, not we the marketplace or the corporation.  That's the difference in this election.

JIM GARDNER:

Thank you.  We-- are going to continue now.  And we're falling way behind.  And so, I have a deal-- for all of you, so that we can try to make up some ground, would you be willing to have 45-second responses and 15-second rebuttals so that we can cover more ground?  Would you be all right with that?

PAT TOOMEY:

Okay with me.

JIM GARDNER:

And you sir?  Okay, thank you very much.  We're going to talk about some foreign policy.  Would-- should the United States either participate in a military action or approve either overtly or tacitly a military action by another country, for instance, Israel against Iran before that country develops the ability to use a nuclear weapon?  And that question first goes to Mister Sestak, and you have 45 seconds.

JOE SESTAK:

Yes.  I've patrolled those lanes out there in the military.  I've operated with them, pre-Shah era as well as after the Ayatollah took over.  War is the last thing you want to do.  The military option, however, should never be taken off the table.  But it should be on the back of the table.

And before we put men and women into harm's way, we should try diplomatically by making it hurt, as I voted for, for sanctions, on gasoline and others, to cut off, to make sure Iran does not-- because it cannot be permitted to have a nuclear weapon.

JIM GARDNER:

But if it comes down to military action, would you do that to prevent Iran from getting a military--

JOE SESTAK:

It is the last option I would support, but yes-- you would not take in these 45 seconds-- I would not be against what is necessary in order to do it.  But we are far from that period right now.

JIM GARDNER:

Mister Toomey?

PAT TOOMEY:

I-- I think it's unacceptable for the United States to tolerate a nuclear-armed Iran.  This is a very, very dangerous regime.  It's a security threat to the United States, and it's an-- existential risk to our good friend and ally, Israel.  Joe and I have differed on this.

I urge the toughest possible-- economic sanctions on Iran very early on.  Joe refused to co-sponsor the legislation.  Voted for it in the end, but wouldn't put the pressure on that we needed.  Instead, he allied himself with that small, very extreme element of the House that is least-friendly to Israel, in fact, in some ways hostile to Israel, and urged the administration to pressure the Israeli government to ease the blockade of Gaza.  A very big mistake.  We should not be pressuring the Israeli government to make them-- security concessions.  They'll make the concessions as they see fit for their own security.

JOE SESTAK:

As I said, truth is the first casualty.  I arrived in Congress at the... I carried...for all that period of time, they never placed the Iranian Revolutionary Guard on the terrorist list.  And my efforts of shaping that legislation finally got convinced-- convinced the Bush administration to place the Iranian Revolutionary Guard on the terrorist list, and we could cut off their finances, where they're funding a Hamas and Hezbollah that we were opposed to in my....

JIM GARDNER:

Mister Toomey?  You have 15 seconds of rebuttal.

PAT TOOMEY:

Well, as-- as I said, I-- I think Joe has-- allied himself with an extremist element in-- in the House.  Speaking as he did to an organization that-- embraces Hamas-- I think was extremely imprudent.  Putting pressure on the Israeli government.  When you consider the enormous security risks that is-- Israel-- occurs.

JIM GARDNER:

Thank you, sir.

PAT TOOMEY:

It-- it's a big mistake.

JIM GARDNER:

If you feel like you don't need to take your rebuttal, you'd be helping us by (LAUGHTER) letting it go.  George?

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULIS:

Mister Toomey, I have a few questions about Afghanistan, because the-- the ground seems to be shifting there right now.  We've learned that many of our troops are actually granting safe passage now to Taliban commanders they would otherwise kill or capture so they can have secret negotiations with the Afghan government.

And one of the ironies is that we're keeping them secret from our supposed allies in Pakistani intelligence.  But my question is-- would it be safe for U.S. forces to withdraw from Afghanistan if the Taliban is in positions of power, and would you consider that a victory?

PAT TOOMEY:

Well, first of all, let me say-- I supported President Obama's decision to increase our troop level, and to adopt a classic counterinsurgency approach in Afghanistan.  I thought that was the right decision.  It's a very difficult set of circumstances.  But my view is that it's extremely dangerous for us to leave precipitously the danger that the Taliban would take over, perhaps host Al Qaeda once again, destabilize Pakistan, which is, after all, a nuclear power.  It's a great risk.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULIS:

What if the negotiating agreement that includes the Taliban?

PAT TOOMEY:

If the Taliban is willing to surrender, if they are willing to give up their arms, if they are willing to renounce violence, if they are willing to accept a peaceful government-- in Kabul, then I think this-- this could be the beginnings of a negotiated surrender, and if so, it would be worth pursuing that.

JOE SESTAK:

I was on the ground in Afghanistan early in that conflict.  We were doing that war right.  And then we went to that tragic misadventure in Iraq Congressman Toomey voted for that tore our national security fabric apart.  We're no longer there in southwest Asia, however, for Afghanistan, George.  It's spiraled too far downward.  One reason we're there:  to eradicate that safe haven for Al Qaeda in Pakistan.  Because if it fails that nation, there are nuclear weapons, and 2,000 trained scientists at the most radical of Islamic universities they received their training that built those weapons.  And even if we get the nuclear weapons out, they'll remain with Al Qaeda.

And I've asked this President for over two years-- almost a year and a half I guess, we need metrics.  Because while we have finger-pointing here, it's always about are you measuring, if you got a practical solution by measurement if we're being successful.  We need to roll it up, but finding out first if we're being successful.  We don't have those metrics.

PAT TOOMEY:

Well, the thing that Joe has missed on this is the danger of imposing an arbitrary deadline that's too soon.  The danger in doing that is that it encourage the indigenous population, the people we need to win over if we're going to win a classic counterinsurgency battle, it encourages them to wait it out because they know that the bad guys are still going to be there.  I think we need to-- pursue this in-- in the-- approach that General Patraeus has-- has advocated.  I have great confidence in his ability.

JIM GARDNER:

Mister Sestak?

JOE SESTAK:

Again, truth is his casualty as he speaks.  I have not supported that-- that deadline at all.  In fact, much as I wrote-- and supported President Clinton as direct defense policy, and we in...strategy said every conflict much have measurements and benchmarks to see if the costs are worth the gain.  That's what we need to measure the strategy.

WENDY DAVIS:

I think this is to you, Mister Sestak.  First-- John Bolton, the U.N. Ambassador under President Bush, has hinted that he may run for President, basically bringing more attention to national security.

JOE SESTAK:

Who said-- who said he's running for President.

WENDY DAVIS:

He's thinking of running for President.

JOE SESTAK:

Oh, he is.

WENDY DAVIS:

To bring more attention essentially to national security issues-- saying he doesn't really think the current administration is really serious about the threats that we do face.  So, what would you say is the nature of those threats, and what approach should the U.S. take?

JOE SESTAK:

The number-one danger, as the head of the intelligence community said to us actually, setting aside that we have to deal with Al Qaeda in the Middle East, is actually our economic security.  China.  My gosh, they hold so much of our reserves.  If they dumped them on the stock-- imagine what would happen.  Remember, it really is a strong economy that undergirds our military.  That undergirds our-- education, that undergirds our health system.

So, Congressman Toomey when he says buy American, is an unfortunate tendency.  And when he says it's a gift to American consumers that China is illegally exporting its imports on us, and he has a terror but he's opposed to stop them to do it, we have to get our economy going.  And that's the number-one issue for us.

PAT TOOMEY:

And Joe thinks you do that by huge new tax increases.  Including taxes on consumer goods, including all kinds of taxes that he's already voted for.  Joe's voted for all the bailouts, the nationalizing the poll industry, the staggering spending, the stimulus, cap and trade, card check, government-run health care.  In each instance, Joe distanced himself from the mainstream of Congress, and said these things should've gone further.  I-- I agree with Joe that the most important national security issue long term is the economic viability of our country.

We cannot have a recover with the incredibly risk-- reck-- reckless policies that Joe Sestak is pursuing and advocating that we go even further.  The deficits that he has voted for $1.5 trillion a year, $3 trillion of new debt.  When I was in the House, I was offering alternative budgets, I was trying to cut spending, I was trying to fight earmarks.  I was trying to bring spending under control.  Joe Sestak is going in the opposite direction.

JIM GARDNER:

Would you gentlemen-- be willing to forgo with your rebuttals to this question?

JOE SESTAK:

Just quickly.  Sounds like my parrot at home, again and again.  But offering no solution, except the corporation as he voted for invest in a factory in China.  His profits are no longer taxed.  He opposed when I voted against closing the loopholes for oil companies in Bermuda.  And so, that's the difference.  He is the way of the corporation.

JIM GARDNER:

Mister Toomey.

JOE SESTAK:

Pretty extreme.

JIM GARDNER:

Mister Toomey.

PAT TOOMEY:

Joe-- it's so clear that Joe just doesn't understand this at all.  You know, Pennsylvania has lots of great companies.  Many of them operate overseas.  I have friends who work at a company named Air Products.  And overseas, they have facilities where they-- develop industrial gasses which they sell to local consumers.  And Joe wants to punish them.  Raise their taxes because they have a prosperous overseas business.  We have jobs in Pennsylvania that depend on that overseas business.  Managerial, supervision-- engineering, all kinds of jobs.  And Joe wants to take what is already the second-highest corporate tax rate in the industrial world and raise it even higher.  This is why we're having so much trouble with this economy.

VERNON ODOM:

Mister Toomey, help here.  You've railed against the-- Obama health care plan that's been passed.  What are you against in there, and what would you change, and would you vote to repeal it if you're elected to the Senate?

PAT TOOMEY:

You know, I mentioned earlier that my dad's 80 years old.  I'm not going to disclose my mom's age, but she's about the same generation.  And fortunately, they're both healthy, they're both sharp as a tack.  But they've got serious ongoing health issues.  The thing that worries me the most about this bill, 2,000 pages of all kinds of mandates, huge new government control of health care is that in time-- and it won't be much time, the government is going to intervene between patients and their doctor.

VERNON ODOM:

Is there anything in there you like?

PAT TOOMEY:

And-- and that-- no-- let me finish my point, because this is a very serious concern, and I've been approached by physicians every day throughout this campaign who share this concern.  Doctors-- and I'm very grateful to have the endorsement of the biggest medical association in Pennsylvania.  Because they understand that it's very important that they preserve that flexibility to exercise the discretion that they've been trained to exercise.  This bill endangers that.  It's one of its biggest flaws.

JOE SESTAK:

In the U.S. military, everybody has health care.  We don't do it because of any other reason, it gives great dividends.  So, you're alongside productive, healthy warriors.  So, when my daughter got her brain cancer, at four years old, we were very fortunate.  And I was indebted to this nation.  I felt that here in Pennsylvania we had a problem.

Up to 700 Pennsylvanians are losing their day every day while Congressman Toomey was a Congressman.  Health premiums doubled almost 100 percent, but he didn't legislate.  He didn't do anything.  He didn't cosponsor a single bill on it.  Now, my daughter, with two and a half million Pennsylvanian children can no longer be denied car by his health insurance companies.  Doctors, lawyers, doctors-- nurses, hospitals all supported this bill except the insurance companies.  Now, seniors-- Medicare was going bankrupt, and we salvaged it.  We saved it.  And seniors don't even have to do co-pays any longer for preventive screening.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULIS:

Mister Toomey--

JOE SESTAK:

And given back $3,600.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULIS:

Mister Toomey, 15 seconds.

PAT TOOMEY:

$2 trillion of spending, half a trillion dollars of new tax increases, including our medical device makers, an important industry in Pennsylvania.  But now, people are actually threatened with losing their coverage.  This is exactly what many of us predicted.  Rising costs causing employers to drop coverage.  We see big companies saying they need exemptions, small companies that I talk to for--

JIM GARDNER:

Forgive me.  Mister Sestak, ten seconds.

PAT TOOMEY:

--this is unaffordable.

JOE SESTAK:

Let's look at the facts.  We decreased the national debt.  It is about affordability.  Over $1 trillion in decrease the cost of health premiums for individuals up to ten percent while he did nothing as 700 Pennsylvanians are losing their care.  He is talking to the corporations.

JIM GARDNER:

Thank you, Mister Sestak.

JOE SESTAK:

We the people.

JIM GARDNER:

Thank you.  We are-- out of time for questions, in case you haven't noticed.  It is time for closing statements.  A coin toss decided the order of those statements, and Mister Sestak will go first.

JOE SESTAK:

Thank you all and everyone here, particularly in this wonderful hallowed hall for this debate this evening.  I joined up in the military during the Vietnam War era.  I led men and women into war, into conflict.  I served President Clinton in the White House.  And I rose to be an admin.  But the one moment where I needed this nation, it gave us the health care that saved my daughter.

It is we the people.  Not we the corporations.  We Wall Street.  I've gone everywhere throughout Pennsylvania, and seniors just like ourselves believe in them, invest in them, not in corporations.  This is a very serious selection.  My opponent will do things such as saying buy American is an unfortunate tendency.

He wants to eliminate all corporation tax cuts-- taxes, and yet, hold the middle class tax cuts of the Bush era hostage unless the top one percent, the wealthiest wealthy get it.  I serve Republicans, Democrats, and Independents alike in my district.  I've been throughout Pennsylvania.  And see that the people are suffering.  I want to be not a politician, but a public servant.

I would ask you to come out to vote, and I would like your vote.  But most important of all, I would ask you to remember the men and women who are serving overseas who every day defend that right for you to come out and vote.  Come out and vote for them.  Thank you.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULIS:

Mister Toomey?

PAT TOOMEY:

Thank you all very much for being here, and for-- all of you for participating and for hosting this.  I-- I think we're at an inflection point for our country.  We have seen a government that has been taken over by the most liberal wing of-- the Democratic party, who's been in complete control.

Joe Sestak, clearly to the left of even the Democratic consensus, advocating and supporting the most expansive agenda that we've ever seen in our lifetimes.  Serial bailouts, nationalizing whole industries, staggering amount of spending, unaffordable deficits and debt.  The-- the restrictions of cap and trade, and card checking, government-run health care.

These are now policies that are having a chilling effect on our economy.  Preventing entrepreneurs from launching new businesses.  Small business and medium-size business from growing.  Joe Sestak voted for every item on that agenda list.  And his only criticism of it was that it didn't go far enough.

Now we've got ourselves in a bad spot.  But I'm very optimistic about our future.  I think we can have strong economic growth again.  I think we can restore prosperity.  What we've got to do is remember the source of that prosperity.  It didn't come from big government.  It came from the private sector, from the free enterprise system, from men and women who get up every day and go to work.

 

If we clear away the threats of this excessive and out-of-control government agenda, if we provide steady low taxes for everybody, if we get spending under control, then I'm confident that the 21st century can be another great American century, and I'd appreciate your vote.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULIS:

Gentlemen, thanks for a great debate.  You certainly are offering the voters of Pennsylvania a very clear choice.  We also want to thank our hosts tonight, the National Constitution Center.

JIM GARDNER:

Thank you, George Stephanopoulos from Good Morning America and World News.  I also want to thank-- the candidates for participating tonight, and also to George, Vernon, Wendy, and the audience here at the Kimmel Theatre.  And for those of you watching at home, and online, all across the world.  Now, these final words from the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania.

OLIVIA THORN:

I'm Olivia Thorn, chair of the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania's Citizen Education Fund.  We want to thank the candidates for participating in this debate, as well as WPVI and the National Constitution Center for their partnership and commitment to the citizens of Pennsylvania.  Active and informed citizens are key stone for a strong democracy.  For 90 years, the League has been helping the voters learn about the candidates and their positions.  The League encourages all Pennsylvanians to learn more about the candidates by going to palv.org and smartvoter.org, our online voters' guides.  Please vote on Tuesday, November 2nd, and make democracy work.  Thank you for watching.    ####

Photo: Jeff Fusco / Getty Images.     Debate transcript courtesy of ABC News.

 
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A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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