Casey, Smith spar over economy in debate

A technician does his thing before a debate Friday between Sen. Bob Casey (right) and his GOP challenger, Tom Smith, at WPVI-TV studios.
A technician does his thing before a debate Friday between Sen. Bob Casey (right) and his GOP challenger, Tom Smith, at WPVI-TV studios. (TOM GRALISH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER)
Posted: October 28, 2012

THE ECONOMY, central to the campaigns of U.S. Sen. Bob Casey Jr. and Republican foe Tom Smith, played the starring role in their lone debate Friday.

Casey cast Smith, who sold his Armstrong County coal company and spent $16.5 million of his profits on his campaign, as a Tea Party radical who supports Republican budget proposals that will hurt middle-class taxpayers.

Smith called Casey "Senator Zero," a career politician who hadn't done anything to end deficit spending in the federal budget or reduce the national debt.

Casey, in a debate taped at 6ABC to be aired on that station Sunday at 1 p.m., spoke of working to extend the payroll-tax cut amid a recovering economy. He said that saved middle-class families about $1,000 and noted that Smith called it a "gimmick."

"So if you want a middle-class tax increase, I think Tom Smith is your candidate," Casey said.

Smith denounced as a "power grab" the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, saying that it makes business owners "so afraid to expand or hire."

Casey, who voted for it, said that he was open to changing it but that the partisan fight that would erupt over an attempt to repeal it would harm the country.

The candidates agreed on a few issues. When asked about gun violence, both said the country has adequate laws already. They say Iran can't be allowed to create nuclear weapons. And they both support equal pay for women, though Smith does not favor the 2009 law that gives women more power to sue employers. Casey voted for it.

Smith, a political novice, stumbled at times with his answers. He was flummoxed when 6ABC anchor Jim Gardner prevented him from pivoting away from a question on abortion. Smith called Gardner "Larry" twice in his answer, even after being corrected by Gardner.

And Smith's campaign rushed him from the television studio after the debate when reporters tried to follow up on his answer about a U.S. Supreme Court case that is re-examining affirmative action in college admissions.


Contact Chris Brennan at brennac@phillynews.com or 215-854-5973. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisBrennanDN.

comments powered by Disqus
|
|
|
|
|