In what has been called a “Super Tuesday” of U.S. Senate campaign debates, Democratic hopefuls in Colorado, Georgia, North Carolina and West Virginia faced a relentless assault from their Republican opponents tying them to President Obama and accusing them of being his “rubber stamp.”
All four debates sounded like re-runs of each other, as GOP candidates marched in lockstep, discrediting Democrats with voters who are unhappy with the Obama Administration.
“Barack Obama even said this week that his polices are on the ballot,” said Georgia Republican David Perdue, a line repeated by his Republican counterparts in Colorado, North Carolina and West Virginia.
“I am absolutely running against Barack Obama and Harry Reid,” Perdue told his opponent Democrat Michelle Nunn. “No amount of false advertising will remove the fact that Barack Obama hand-picked you, he hand-funded you, and he’s mentoring you.”
Nunn told Perdue that it’s her name on the ballot and not the President’s, while also reminding voters that the President’s tenure is limited.
“We have two more years of President Obama and then we will have another President,” she said.
West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant used her opening statement to warn voters about Republican Shelley Moore Capito’s incoming attack lines.
“Every time you hear the Congresswoman say something about Harry Reid or Barack Obama, I want you to ask yourself, ‘What is she hiding?’” Tennant said.
“She supported him twice in his election and gave him money for his inauguration,” responded Capito. ”He said point blank, ‘Every single one of my polices are on the ballot,’” she said. “Who is his representative on the ballot? The Secretary.”
Back in Georgia, Nunn emphasized bipartisanship as she stuck to the narrative that she’s a centrist Democrat in the mold of her father, former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn, who taught her that bipartisanship is key.
“Dad said he never passed a meaningful piece of legislation without GOP support,” she said. “We need to send people to Washington that aren’t about attacking and not about paralyzing and polarizing our government.”
“I don’t know about y’all, but I’m getting a little bored of hearing this ‘I’m going to work across the aisle’ talk’,” Perdue shot back. ”Your first vote will be for Harry Reid as majority leader.”
Nunn slammed Perdue for the revelations that he acknowledged outsourcing thousands of jobs in the private sector claiming he would be “the only senator who has built a career around outsourcing jobs.”
“I was building an organization in Georgia while you were outsourcing Georgia jobs,” she said.
Foreign Policy was also at the forefront in Tuesday night’s debates. Republicans Perdue, Capito, Cory Gardner in Colorado, and Thom Tillis in North Carolina blamed President Obama for creating a vacuum that has allowed the rise of ISIS. Perdue said the President doesn’t have a plan while Tillis criticized the President for advocating for “peace through weakness.”
Gardner also ridiculed President Obama for not having a plan and leading from behind but held Udall accountable for those policies because he “votes with the President 99% of the time.”
“You are tied hooked line and sinker with the President who said his policies are on the ballot,” Gardner told Udall.
Nunn claims that she warned about the threat in Syria over a year ago when Perdue said nothing at the time.
“One year ago when we were all asked what we should do about Syria, David Perdue said we should do nothing,” Nunn claimed. ”I said we should arm the moderate rebels.”
Hagan echoed a similar case for arming the moderate Syrian rebels and chastised Tillis for complaining about policies while waffling over what to do in regards to ISIS and never offering solutions. Tillis accused Hagan of missing over 50% of Senate Armed Services Committee hearings, which he confused for the Foreign Relations Committee on several points.
“You’ve missed half the meetings,” Tillis told Hagan. “What other commitments did you have that you thought were more important?”
Gardner and Tillis both said their Democratic opponents broke promises to the people of their states who were told they could keep their doctors and insurance plans under Obamacare. Meanwhile, Udall and Hagan said their Republican challengers would take us back to a broken system by repealing the Affordable Care Act. Perdue called the ACA “the worst law passed in the history of the United States,” and advocated for it’s repeal. He also said “the 2016 election should be a referendum on Obamacare.”
Gardner said thousands of Coloradoans had their health care plans cancelled because of Obamcare, including he and his wife, and told the moderators he’d love to debate the failures of the law for the entire hour. But when pressed by the moderators who grew frustrated with Gardner, he ducked the question and a follow-up about why he won’t release details of the rejected health care plan he had been touting.
Udall slammed Gardner as an extremist who “built a career on limiting women’s reproductive rights” and for supporting a personhood amendment that would outlaw abortion and restrict access to birth control.
“Congressman Gardner has a long way to go to understand the needs of women in our state,” Udall said.
Udall, Hagan and Nunn cheered the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision earlier this week not take up same-sex marriage cases and support marriage equality.
“All people should have the same right as my husband and I have to marry,” said Nunn.
Hagan reiterated her opposition to North Carolina’s ban on same-sex marriage while Tillis said he would defend the ban and railed against activist liberal judges, who he says legislate from the bench. Gardner and Capito said they support traditional marriage but Gardner also said “people deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.”
Tennant said she supports equality but didn’t overtly come out in support for same-sex marriage.
“I think that under the law, people should be treated equally and fairly,” says Tennant.