EXPANDED: Potter, Hoeven face off on issues in first debate
Republican Gov. John Hoeven and Democratic-NPL state Sen. Tracy Potter held their own against one another in the first of two verbal sparring matches set for North Dakota's U.S.
Republican Gov. John Hoeven and Democratic-NPL state Sen. Tracy Potter held their own against one another in the first of two verbal sparring matches set for North Dakota's U.S. Senate race.
During a one-hour debate Thursday afternoon, Hoeven and Potter defined their positions on issues, ranging from the economy to gays in the military.
At times, the debate turned heated, as Hoeven and Potter criticized each other's policy proposals and records in North Dakota government.
But offering quick wit, both candidates also drew a couple of chuckles from the crowd of about 100 who'd gathered to watch the debate at the Ramada Plaza and Suites in Fargo.
The only other debate Hoeven and Potter have planned is a taped debate Oct. 1 with Prairie Public Broadcasting.
Libertarian Senate candidate Keith Hanson of West Fargo was not invited to participate in Thursday's debate, which was sponsored by the North Dakota Broadcasters Association.
Here's what the candidates had to say Thursday:
Hoeven didn't specify to what extent he'd support continuing the Bush tax cuts but said taxes shouldn't be raised during a down economy. Instead, government should empower businesses to invest and create jobs, he said. Federal spending
Hoeven said cuts can be made through reducing aid to foreign countries and cracking down on fraud and abuse in entitlement programs, such as Medicare. Stimulus
Hoeven said the stimulus plan hasn't worked. Government intervention should have focused on job creation through empowering small business, he said. Social security
Hoeven offered no specific solution to ensure Social Security's solvency. He attacked Potter's proposal and said the government must enable business to invest and create jobs. Energy
Hoeven touted the state's energy policy, Empower North Dakota, as a model for the country to spur investment in alternative and renewable energy. Health care reform
Hoeven said "there's a ton of work" needed to fix the health care reform bill, such as tort reform, transparency and competition to empower individuals. Immigration
Hoeven said the U.S. needs to secure its borders and crack down on employers who hire illegal immigrants. 'Don't ask, don't tell'
Hoeven said the military's policy is working and he would oppose repealing it. He said military leadership should be consulted on any changes. Readers can reach Forum reporter Kristen Daum at (701) 241-5541