The two candidates vying for the seat in Connecticut's 5th Congressional District met in a debate last night at the Litchfield Community Center.
Republican David Cappiello criticized incumbent Democrat Chris Murphy on issues ranging from taxes and government spending, to foreign policy, including this exchange:
"The Congressman is saying that we can pull out of Iraq and that region will be okay, but put more troops in Afghanistan so that region is more secure. I don't know how you can have it both ways, Congressman. "
"Well, because there are critical differences between Iraq and Afghanistan. There is a sense of national identity in Afghanistan that does not exist in Iraq. There is not the sectarian strife in that country that exists in Iraq. And the people that attacked this country on September 11, 2001, did not come from the sands of Iraq. They came from the sands of Afghanistan."
For his part, Cappiello said he doesn't agree with the doctrine of preemptive war, but that he's reluctant to point any fingers retrospectively about the decision to go into Iraq.
The two also sparred on campaign contributions. Murphy has raised twice as much money as Cappiello, and Cappiello accused Murphy of moving away from his support for campaign finance reform. That drew this retort.
"Its a different way of legislating. Complaining about a situation, complaining about your competitor, versus actually working on reform. I do think there are differences that are certainly worthy of pointing out. My support for campaign finance reform and your opposition for campaign finance reform. We've legitimate differences on that issue."
Cappiello says his stance is that, if elected, he will not take any contributions from political action committees.
"I simply won’t take the money. Isn't that the best way to start to make a change? You are saying I'm complaining about you, but you are complaining about the system and yet you’re simply are becoming part... You became part of the system the day you were elected.”
Congressman Chris Murphy is running for reelection for the first time in the district. Cappiello and Murphy served together in the state Senate before Murphy won the seat in Congress in 2006.
Listen to WNPR's coverage and the entire debate below!
For coverage of Election '08, check out CPTV & WNPR's Democracy Project.
Will this Presidential race attract the youth vote? Get the history, forecast and young voter's opinions on the CPBN.org web original series, Youth Vote.