Skip to comments.Harris hoping last debate can close gap with Nelson
Posted on 11/01/2006 5:29:26 PM PST by NautiNurse
ORLANDO, Fla. - Republican Katherine Harris and Democrat Bill Nelson clashed on taxes, the Iraq war and the future of Social Security in their final debate before next week's U.S. Senate election.
Harris, a Longboat Key congresswoman, again attacked Nelson as a liberal who would raise taxes. Nelson, the incumbent senator, said he voted against President Bush's initial tax cut bill because it was flawed but has voted 81 times to cut taxes or extend tax cuts.
"I'm not going to let her get away with this," Nelson said, sitting at a table with Harris and moderator Tim Russert in the televised debate. "She has made a number of statements that are not true, and credibility has a been a problem for my opponent in this campaign."
The debate was seen as critical for Harris, who lacks the money to run statewide TV commercials. She was feistier Wednesday than during the first debate last week, but there were few fireworks and it's questionable whether she got the boost she needed to close the gap between her and Nelson, who has a big lead in the polls.
Continually pressed by Russert to say whether she would vote for the war now knowing that Iraq did not have the weapons of mass destruction, she repeatedly declined to answer.
Instead, she said, "If we knew today what we knew back then, there never would have been a vote called to go to war."
Nelson told Russert he would have voted against the war with the knowledge that Iraq did not have the weapons.
"The word is not mistake, the word is misrepresentation," Nelson said of what lawmakers were told about weapons in Iraq. "We were given the wrong information. We were given massaged information."
When asked if Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was doing a good job conducting the war, Harris said it was "adequate" and added that "he needs to focus on a new strategy, one that is flexible."
Both candidates said a new strategy is needed in Iraq, including work toward a political solution. They also agreed that a timetable cannot be set for military withdrawal. But they had opposing views on the whether troops can be win the war.
"We can clearly win this war. When you talk to the troops, they say it's winnable," Harris said.
After Harris criticized Democrats for not offering solutions to protect Social Security, Nelson accused her of making it a partisan issue.
"Listen to the words of my opponent - the Democrats this, the Democrats that," he said. "The only way we can solve these kinds of problems and lot of the other problems, including Iraq, is to reach out to both sides of the aisle and bring people together."
On the stump Harris paints Nelson as a far-left liberal who tries to raise taxes, coddles illegal immigrants and undermines President Bush's policies.
Nelson's campaign repeatedly has attacked Harris' claims and credibility, characterizing him instead as an effective freshman senator who has fought for tax cuts, voted in favor of the Senate immigration bill supported by President Bush and leans more toward the center than the left.
Harris, 49, gained the adoration of the Republican rank-and-file - and the scorn of Democrats - in 2000 when as Florida secretary of state, she oversaw the recount that put George W. Bush in the White House. She won her congressional seat in 2002 and was re-elected in 2004.
She continues trying to repair the damage that has plagued her campaign all year.
Support was lacking initially from state GOP leaders, including Gov. Jeb Bush, who tried to recruit someone else to run. Campaign workers have defected in droves, she has made questionable public statements and has had to answer questions about her dealings with a corrupt defense contractor.
As of Sept. 30, she had less than $1 million in her campaign coffers, compared with $6.8 million for Nelson, 64, who is seeking his second six-year term in the Senate.
Nelson has been running statewide TV ads and also has donated $500,000 from his campaign treasury to the state Democratic Party.
Nelson really doesn't look well either.
the florida gop and jeb let us down here
why didn't jen bush run?
why didn t ms jennings run?
Thanks for posting this..
I missed the debate the first time...
I am just sick that Nelson and Casey are going to win so easily..(if the news is correct)...
Both of them are idiots.
why ask why, just support harris
I haven't seen a single Harris commercial on TV. Sad. She'll get the true believers' votes, but she has done very little to make inroads.
btw...my 22 months old granddaughter is laughing out loud at that picture of Nelson...
Well, she got at least one vote today. Hope it helps.
Did you see the debate? I was astonished when Nelson was asleep at the wheel.
Why is she losing? Do people not like her? She is a republican, so what's the problem?
Yeppers...she liked that one too...
But, then again, I am teaching her to laugh at ALL dems!
Viewed EXTREMELY negatively by independents and swing Democratic voters due to her prominent role in the 2000 Election controversy and the general media and talk show mockery of her at the time.
She's only a hero for her role in the 2000 election to a fairly small group of hardcore Republicans who always vote Republican anyway.
What has Katherine Harris said about drilling off Florida's coastlines???
The reason I ask is...I watch the Senate all of the time...and if any Senator even mentions drilling or even exploration...Nelson will run down to the floor before that Senator can take a breath....to nag, nag, nag about how he won't stand for any of it.
How are conservatives faring in the People's Republic of Maryland?
Harris agrees that drilling off the coast of FL and ANWR is necessary.
Yeah, what you said.
Better than they are in Florida at the moment.
Why do people get so upset at simple truth? It's simply the way she's perceived by a large group of people that you have to get at least some votes from - REGARDLESS of whether it's a correct or incorrect perception. Most people found the 2000 election controversy a horrifying and annoying experience and don't want to be reminded of it in any way, shape, or form - particularly that group of swing voters that you still need to win statewide in a state like Florida.
As I've noted repeatedly before people seem to be incapable of distinguishing between someone's PERSONAL opinion of a candidate and their ANALYSIS of how OTHER people whose votes are necessary perceive that candidate.
Of course, the chaos in her campaign (which cannot be blamed solely on lack of funds) reflects on her managerial abilities, and her extremely stupid remarks regarding religion suggest that in and of herself she's got serious weaknesses as a candidate, beyond her public perception.
Someone wanted to know why she's losing so badly, and that's why.
"I was astonished when Nelson was asleep at the wheel."
I wasn't. He thinks he's cruising into another 6 year term. I surely hope he's in for a surprise. I have yet to hear anyone admit they're voting for him.
Katherine Harris did beautifully. She exhibited a knowledge of the facts on issues and presented innovative ideas to solve problems that are going to have to be addressed.
Good for her....
Another question: Who is going to get her seat in the House...now that she has run for the Senate??
Will it be a dem or Republican??
The FL 13th District runs R. However, the R candidate is pretty weak. Bush & Co. have been spending a lot of time down here lately. Toss up.
It's your delivery. Not to mention--I still haven't seen any post from you that indicate you are a conservative as long as you have been here.
Jeb needs to make some money in the private world....then will return to govt (I hope).
Can you tell me why Jeb Bush didn't run???
I am ignorant of Florida...and didn't realize until lately that you were having a Gubernatorial election...and he isn't in it.
I suppose there are term limits for the Gov...but, he COULD have run for the Senate, yes??
There's a fair chance that the Republicans might lose the seat she gave up to run for senate, too.
Jeb promised his wife he would take time off from politics after his two terms as governor. Yes, FL has term limits.
Strategerist didn't have to say he was liberal or conservative as it is not an issue. He clearly stated why Kitty has no chance in this election. It is his opinion but it is also a clearly reasonable opinion, which does not warrant a kitty reaction.
You lying scum!
"Viewed EXTREMELY negatively by independents and swing Democratic voters due to her prominent role in the 2000 Election controversy and the general media and talk show mockery of her at the time."
And people in FL are dumb enough to buy into that? I would think there are enough republicans (not just hardcore) that would vote for her to win it.
"massaged information" was Bill Nelson's pet buzz term for the evening. He used it over and over during the Iraq discussion.
Thanks for your concern. Michigan is a nice conservative state, no?
Sadly Nelson shows many signs of Dementia, especially where he drifts back into his Florida Cracker accent which seems exaggerated,but is how he used to speak. He is talking slower,and really seems to have a hard time finding the word/words to say.He also looks gaunt,thin,spacey and IMHO it looks like he is forgetting to eat which is typical of Alzheimer's Patients. They either eat and think they did not and try to eat twice, or their Brains do not signal them to feel hunger. I believe the Dems have been sliding him through and hoping they can win the Governorship,so when he goes any further South Mentally they will let him retire and they would appoint a Dem Senator in his place. I have never seen him look so bad,and he stares off blankly into space in the Political Ads.
It's shameful the way the Republican party in Florida turned its back on Katherine Harris senate run. I know some Republicans that are voting for Nelson just because the media says he would be a better senator and is good for the space program. They know nothing about Nelson's record and don't care. Jeb has been a great Governor but I give him a big F on the way he's letting Nelson hang around like some kind of hanging chad for another six years.
Why do you make such aserbic assertions and assumptions? I vote in Florida on Tuesday (and I will vote for Kitty)but her chance of becoming our next US Senator are nil. Read what Strategerist said; KH has no mathematical chance of winning. She takes no votes away from the democrats (remember a thing called Reagan democrats?) and she does not bring in the independant voters. In fact, even if considered conservative, she is not well liked by republicans. She is a recipe for disaster. Nothing has changed in that regard for the last 12 months.
Your observations are exactly what I have noticed too. Scary.
Her name is not Kitty,and it is offensive to K Harris supporters the condescending,smug way you are posting.
Why are you posting these comments in a public conservative forum during election week? What new information are you attempting to impart beyond what the MSM has so eagerly been ramming down our throats for the past year? What are you trying to accomplish here?
Yep, and I've told them every time they called for $$$.
Because of the 2000 election and because she is easily characterized, Kitty has been under more scutiny than most candidates but that doesn't mean she is without fault and that her candicacy has not been a total disaster. The MSM is not to blame and her "grass roots" are non existant. Follow the $$$.
Indeed, I noticed Nelson was virtually invisible for the past year. Did a news search awhile back, all I could find was a groundbreaking ceremony for some pork project Nelson landed for a little airport. Even my elderly mother noted the other day that Nelson doesn't look healthy.
Katherine Harris is pretty darn gutsy. She went to the wall for the GOP and they hung her out to dry. Pres. G.W. Bush is my hero and I like Jeb a lot, too, but what are they thinking?! I cannot in good conscience vote for Nelson.
The Dems are keeping Nelson around as a prop. Otherwise, he surely appears to have a case of grey matter atrophy.
Fair enough. Keep your chin up.