Candidates Debate In Special Election For Weiner House Seat

The candidates for the NY-09 special election, to fill the seat vacated by the resignation of former Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner, met for a debate on Monday night. Along with disagreement over the country’s fiscal issues and the social safety net, shots were taken on such topics as President Obama’s call for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations based around the pre-1967 borders, and the long fought-over proposal for an Islamic community center near the World Trade Center site.

The New York Times reports on the debate between Democrat David Weprin and Republican Bob Turner:

Some topics discussed at the forum have already been talked about at length during the campaign: Mr. Turner criticized the Muslim community center planned near ground zero, calling it an unnecessary provocation, and Mr. Weprin emphasized his support for Israel and said he disagreed with President Obama for saying that Israel’s pre-1967 border should be the basis for a peace agreement.

On the fiscal front, Turner called for spending cuts of 35 percent, and suggested eliminating the federal Departments of of Agriculture and Education. “We have a government that is out of control,” Mr. Turner said, stressing that the cuts should be made without increasing taxes. “It’s not only possible, it’s absolutely necessary,” he added.

In response, Weprin attacked Turner as a Tea Party candidate, and proposed raising taxes on wealthier Americans in order to protect the social safety net. “You can’t just cut, cut, cut,” said Weprin. “We have to preserve Medicare and Social Security, and those programs that Americans rely on.”

As the New York Post reports, Democrats have also sought to tie Turner to the national GOP’s proposals to privatize Medicare, which helped the Dems pick up a historically Republican House seat in upstate New York back in May. A recent ad from the state Dems asked rhetorically: “Will we stop extremist Bob Turner from sticking seniors with a $6,400 bill?”

At the debate, Turner pointed back at Weprin: “Want to hide from the problem – there’s your man.”