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#LaSen Debate Wrap

Based on ratings, it looks like most Louisianans tuned into the NCIS: New Orleans or The Mindy Project instead of last night's Louisiana Senate Debate. Well, never fear, NoDef is here to provide some Cliff Notes for y'all.


Last night, October 14th, was the first debate in the Louisiana Senate Race. It was the first time that Republican Candidate Bill Cassidy sat down with Senator Mary Landrieu and Tea-Party Candidate Col. Robert Maness. 


From the opening remarks, Landrieu came out fists blazing at Cassidy. The Democrat has often criticized the Republican for not appearing at more debates, saying that the congressmen is "running away from his record". She cited her own record eighteen years in the Senate frequently and said that she is "proud" of her what she accomplished. Cassidy, not one to cower, spent much of the debate linking the Senator to the President, calling her the "deciding vote for Obamacare" and stating that she "supports Washington" while he "supports you." Maness threw fewer jabs than the duo, and focused on his own record in the Air Force.


Healthcare and Medicare                

Both Cassidy and Maness threw their punches when it came to the Affordable Care Act, criticizing Landrieu throughout the debate for her support of Obamacare. Cassidy even steered the argument towards Obamacare while answering questions about other issues like equal pay for women. However, instead of only condemning the bill, the Republican gave specifics about an alternative health care plan that could be put in place. "I have found that when the patient has the power the system lines up to serve the patient, but when a bureaucrat has the power it lines up to serve the bureaucrat."  


Maness did not offer a plan, noting that “we have time” for Medicare at least, to be solvent. He added that “we all need to come to the table together and develop solutions that will work for the people of the 21st century." When asked about the Affordable Care Act. the Tea-Party darling went so far as to call the bill an "abomination."


Landrieu on the other hand, implied that Cassidy introduced a version of the Affordable Care Act as a Louisiana Legislator, stating that he "has some answers to do for his own record." Landrieu later went on to say that the bill should not be repealed even though it is not perfect. 



The Islamic State, a radical Islamist group that has been growing in power in the Middle East, is a hot issue of late. Asked about the terrorist organization, the three-time incumbent answered that she supports the use of force, but she does not think we are ready to go “boots on the ground” just quite yet. “I think we have made an enormous sacrifice in that part of the world and America must continue to lead.”


Cassidy said he supports Obama’s plan “because it is the only plan out there” but also conceded that it is not “adequate”.


Maness, brought up his 32 year experience in the military and said that he thinks the President overstepped his authority. “He has not defined the objectives of this operation. He has not defined success, and he has not defined an exit strategy." The Colonel then called out Congress, and more importantly, Cassidy and Landrieu for dragging their feet in the "undeclared war." 


Social Security

The Congressman started off the discussion, with his plan to raise the social security age. "The reality is you've got to make some changes someplace, we are living longer." He likened the strategy to Ronald Reagan, saying that ideally you start raising the age as young as possible, maybe even "someone who is not yet born" so the future recipients have time to adjust and plan.


In a surprising turn, both Maness and Landrieu agreed that the recipient age of Social Security should not be raised to 70. Landrieu pointed out that in some of the poorer parishes in Louisiana the life expectancy is only 70 years old, while the Colonel stated that "there's no way" that certain jobs can be done up until the age of 70. 


Louisiana’s Coastal Erosion and Climate Change

Landrieu stated that she does "not agree with President Obama's on his energy policy" but that she does believe that the "climate is changing" and that "humans contribute."


Cassidy shied away from going so far as to say whether he thinks climate change exists or not, blaming coastal erosion on the "levees on our river taking sediment." He feels that what is important is "getting that sediment out of the Mississippi River and putting it into the marshes where we can rebuild."

Maness, went back to his tried and true statement "I think we have a lot more to learn" adding that we have a "window" of time. He went on to say that we should instead focus on issues like "energy independence" and rebooting the "stagnant economy."



Obama and Jindal

Cassidy distanced himself from Jindal while Landrieu distanced herself from Obama. The candidates were asked to rate Obama and Jindal on a scale of one to ten. Maness gave Jindal a solid middle rating of five, while Cassidy gave him a more favorable review at 7. Landrieu, on the other hand gave him "barely a three".


As for Obama, he was not very popular amongst the candidates last night. “I don’t trust the President," said Cassidy when discussing ISIS. "I think he is a very poor Commander-In-Chief.” He later gave POTUS a goose egg.


Landrieu ending up giving him the same score that Cassidy gave Jindal: a seven. 


At this point in the election, a runoff seems likely. In Louisiana, a runoff occurs between the top two contenders if no candidate receives a majority in the November vote. A potential runoff is seen as unfavorable for Landrieu, because she is counting on Maness to split the Republican vote with Cassidy.


The Shreveport debate was sponsored by Louisiana Public Broadcasting and the Council for a Better Louisiana it was held Shreveport. There will be a second debate featuring all three candidates at LSU on Oct. 29th.

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