MA Primary: O’Reilly vs. Kerry Sept. 16

10 Sep

U.S. Sen. John Kerry and challenger Ed O’Reilly of Gloucester recently squared off in a debate at the WBZ studios, hosted by political analyst Jon Keller.

Kerry and O’Reilly, both Democrats, are on the ballot for the Sept. 16 primary. The winner will face the lone Republican challenger Jeff Beatty in the Nov. 4 election.

As a MA voter, I am pleased to cast my vote for Ed O’Reilly. John Kerry – your service is no longer required or wanted.

After the debate, they spoke with reporters and defended their positions, courtesy of Wicked Local Gloucester:

Watch the debate video here and see below for a breakdown.

During the 30-minute segment, Keller posed questions to the candidates. Each were given one minute to respond, and there was an open period for rebuttal and cross talk for each question.

When asked if they would vote to authorize putting U.S. troops in harms way, Kerry reminded all that he was once one of those troops, and said he makes decisions based on the security of the country.

“We have a Department of Defense, not of Offense,” O’Reilly said when he got his turn. He cited Kerry’s 2002 Senate vote to authorize the military to enter Iraq, and said Kerry had not read the National Intelligence document.

“I would make sure I read that,” O’Reilly said.

Kerry said he did his due diligence, meeting with CIA teams, looking at the photographs, asking questions, and talking directly with the Secretary of Defense. Kerry said his own mistake was believing the Bush administration, and he regrets that President George W. Bush did not tell the truth about weapons of mass destruction.

“I voted based on the security of our country,” Kerry said.

When asked about energy independence, Kerry pointed out that when he was a candidate for president, he was the first in the primaries to advertise on energy independence.

O’Reilly brought up his “Renew America” proposal for energy independence, which he said will produce local jobs, promote a green economy and bring troops home from the Middle East. He said energy independence was an issue when Kerry was first elected to U.S. Senate in 1984, and that nothing has been done since then.

Kerry said the Senate had only 54 votes for global climate change, and it takes 60 votes to change anything.

“You’re going to have to win the votes to change anything,” he said.

During the open rebuttal period close to the end of the debate, O’Reilly asked Kerry if he would serve the full six years of the new term if he were reelected. At first, Kerry said he did not realize they could ask each other questions, and thought O’Reilly was breaking the rules of the debate.

“I plan to serve my full term,” Kerry said.

Following the debate, O’Reilly and Kerry took questions separately from reporters.

O’Reilly said he believes Kerry has his eye on the Secretary of State’s job.

“I think it’s very clear John Kerry has his eye on the horizon. He’s always had his eye on the political horizon. When he ran for president in 2004, he missed 72.5 percent of the votes in the Senate, so we were left with a one-quarter senator in Massachusetts,” O’Reilly said. “I don’t think there’s any doubt John Kerry would like to be Secretary of State.”

Kerry, however, said, “It’s not going to happen, don’t waste your breath.” He added, “I’m running for reelection and you can’t make predictions … about the future, and I’m not going to do that.”

Kerry said there are unfinished fights that he wants to go back to continue.

“I want to go back there to get healthcare done, I want to go back there to get global climate change passed. I want to strengthen our policy, get our troops out of Iraq, and see us have a foreign policy that we can be proud of that makes America strong,” he said. “I’m proud of the job that I’ve done and I’m proud of what I’ve delivered to the state. The fact is, I think I have a very strong record of accomplishment, and I’m very proud of it.”

O’Reilly had pushed Kerry for several debates before the Sept. 16 primary, and said he would debate Kerry every day from now until the primary election.

“There’s a lot more that we need to discuss. I wish we had more debates. I think that we could get into the issues a little bit more deeply … we started to see some development of the issues,” O’Reilly said.

Kerry, however, said this was the debate they agreed to and it is done.

“I go back to work in Washington, I’ve got a full-time job, unlike my opponent,” Kerry said. “We’re voting Monday afternoon. I’ll be in Washington voting, doing the job I was elected to do.”

The debate can be viewed on www.wbztv.com/politics.

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