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Senate candidates discuss differences on war in debate

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Both U.S. Senatorial candidates, Rep. Bob Schaffer and Rep. Mark Udall, clashed on key issues, including energy and the war in Iraq, in a debate Monday night to a half-full audience. Udall said it was time to begin bringing troops home from Iraq and putting more money into renewable energy efforts.

“We’ve already won the war in Iraq, now it’s time to let the Iraqis win the peace,” said Udall, a democrat from Boulder at Hoag Hall.

Schaffer, disagreed with Udall and said he wanted victory over defeat and the democrats who wanted to withdraw troops would be supporting surrender.

“I am convinced our country did the right thing when our armed services removed Saddam Hussein from authorities,” said Schaffer. “Incapacitating Saddam Hussein removed a threat and a menace to our country.”

Udall turned the question on his opponent by saying Schaffer, as vice president for Aspect Energy, went to Iraq to negotiate an oil deal with Kurdish regional officials, despite interruption from Schaffer saying “that’s not right.”

Issues then went local as the question of Pinon Canyon expansion was brought to the two representatives.

Udall said in his opening statement that he supported ranchers who are against the army’s effort to expand the Pinon Canyon maneuver Site.

Schaffer agreed with Udall that the army did not make a case for why they needed the 238,000 acres. Schaffer said he would oppose any use of eminent domain.

When asked of the economy, Schaffer, who like Udall voted against the $700 billion bailout of financial institutions, blamed lack of oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and pointed out that Udall had received campaign contributions from both institutions.

Schaffer called Udall the biggest spender in the Colorado delegation and said he himself would be a low tax senator.

Udall said the cause for the meltdown was the lack of federal oversight of the subprime mortgage industry and said he voted for more oversight of both mortgage companies.

When asked about renewable energy efforts, Udall quickly brought up his opposition to the Bush administration’s effort to speed up Colorado oil shale production saying he would not support the technology until it was clear what the impact on the community would be.

He also mentioned his talk with T. Boone Pickens about wind production on a visit Pickens made to Colorado.

And when asked what people should expect if Schaffer is elected, Udall said Schaffer would continue to support the oil companies.

On the other hand, Schaffer brought up his energy company saying it supports new forms of energy like wind power and also oil development including offshore drilling and oil shale production.

Schaffer ended by saying that Udall would “continue the march of single-party domination of Congress,” which got many cheers from the Udall side of the audience.