Langevin & Riley Battle in First Debate
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
The two leading candidates in Rhode Island’s 2nd Congressional District disagreed on just about every issue during their first televised debate, with incumbent Congressman Jim Langevin blaming Republicans for the “mess” President Obama inherited and Michael Riley attacking Langevin for failing to improve the economy during his six terms in Washington.
Riley, who has run several negative ads on Langevin in recent weeks, was aggressive throughout the debate, proposing a reduction in the tax code from 77,000 pages down to 100 pages, across-the-board tax cuts and pledging to serve a maximum of three-term limits if elected.
Langevin meanwhile touted his record of fighting for the middle class and suggested that his efforts at Electric Boat have created hundreds of jobs during his time in Congress. The Congressman said he is most proud of sponsoring the Lifespan Respite Care Act, which was designed to assist family caregivers in accessing affordable and high-quality respite care.
The debate came a week after a WPRI poll showed Langevin was comfortably ahead of Riley by a 52-29 margin among likely voters. Riley, who has said he is willing to spend close to $1 million on the race, had very low negatives, but over 60 percent of those polled had no opinion of him at all. Langevn’s approval rating was 39 percent.
A third candidate, Independent Abel Collins, is also in the race, but WPRI opted not to include him in the debate. In the WPRI poll, nine percent of likely voters said they favored Collins. On Tuesday, Collins delivered a petition signed by over 1,100 supporters to Channel 12 that wanted to see him included in the debate.
“Shame on WPRI for keeping me out of a debate,” Collins wrote on his Facebook page. “Shame on Riley and Langevin for tacitly endorsing this censorship by participating in the debate. At a time when Congress' approval rating is lower than 20% and when the majority of the country feels we're headed in the wrong direction, views outside the confines of the Republican/Democrat agendas should be at a premium. Yet, Channel 12 went out of its way to silence a viable alternative and disregard the interest and demands of the public. Is this the best democracy money can buy or what?”
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