the republic logo

Kuster, Garcia boil 2nd District race down to 2 words in debate: absent and naive

bug
Share/Save/Bookmark

CONCORD, New Hampshire — The candidates vying for New Hampshire's 2nd Congressional District tried to boil the race down to two words during a debate Tuesday: absent and naive.

Democratic incumbent Annie Kuster used the televised debate to call Republican Marilinda Garcia naive on several issues, including efforts to eradicate the Ebola virus and equal pay for women. Garcia meanwhile said Kuster has been "absent in leadership" in Washington and absent at home for failing to hold town hall meetings with constituents.

"She hasn't accomplished anything in D.C. to solve a lot of the problems we've talked about today, and she also hasn't been here on the ground in New Hampshire," Garcia said.

"You're still not correct, but keep trying!" answered Kuster, who argued that question and answer sessions she's had at various New Hampshire companies are more like traditional town hall meetings than the "publicity stunt" events Garcia has held with screened participants and questions. Garcia said the only people she keeps out are Kuster's trackers, and that the questions are screened only to make sure they fit the stated topic of the meetings.

The debate came several hours after Gov. Maggie Hassan issued new state protocols for people returning to New Hampshire from West African countries that have been ravaged by the Ebola virus. Those rules specify that anyone who had contact with Ebola patients will be monitored at home for 21 days, while those returning from the affected countries without having had contact with patients would be monitored but not required to stay home.

Garcia said that doesn't go far enough and has called for a travel ban to and from the affected countries. Asked about a New Hampshire National Guard official who has been helping the U.S. military build treatment centers in Liberia, she questioned whether physicians and others from that country were doing enough to help themselves.

"I think a quarantine is important, but the greater question is, at a time when we're over-extending our military, why is it we're sending them there?" she said.

Kuster, who previously said she doesn't back a travel ban, said she now believes that the government should stop issuing travel visas to people in the West African nations who want to come to the U.S. She called Garcia's response "very naive," however, given that thousands have died from Ebola overseas.

PHOTO: Republican challenger Marilinda Garcia, left, listens as Democratic incumbent Annie Kuster answers a question during a live televised debate for the 2nd District Congressional seat hosted by WMUR, the New Hampshire Union Leader, The New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, N.H., Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)
Republican challenger Marilinda Garcia, left, listens as Democratic incumbent Annie Kuster answers a question during a live televised debate for the 2nd District Congressional seat hosted by WMUR, the New Hampshire Union Leader, The New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, N.H., Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)

"This is an epidemic. It is out of control, and absolutely we need to be part of eradicating it at its source," she said.

Kuster also called Garcia "naive and inexperienced" when her opponent said she believes women should get equal pay for equal work but that the gender gap has narrowed significantly.

"Just naming legislation 'The Equal Pay Act' doesn't make it happen," Garcia said. "It might actually limit your options in terms of negotiating your salary."

Kuster said she has spoken to thousands of women across the state who have experienced unequal pay, and said she has experienced it herself. "I don't think it's something we're making up, frankly," she said. "These aren't just women's issues they're family issues, they go to the crux of our economy."

This is the first time two women have run against each other in a Congressional race in New Hampshire, and Kuster has been focusing on so-called women's issues such as equal pay and reproductive rights.

During the debate, the candidates were asked to respond an ad Kuster is running that claims Garcia voted to ban all abortions. Garcia is anti-abortion, but the bill in question wouldn't have gone that far. Instead, it would have made it a felony for anyone to perform an abortion "when there is a reasonable expectation that the fetus would be viable if delivered."

"I am a woman, if I need to state the obvious," Garcia said. "The idea that I don't support women is absurd on its face."

After showing the race tightening in recent weeks, a WMUR-TV Granite State poll released Wednesday showed Kuster with a wide lead.

The debate was sponsored by WMUR-TV and the New Hampshire Union Leader.

Think your friends should see this? Share it with them!

Story copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Feedback, Corrections and Other Requests: AP welcomes feedback and comments from readers. Send an email to info@ap.org and it will be forwarded to the appropriate editor or reporter.


All content copyright ©2014 The Republic, a division of Home News Enterprises unless otherwise noted.
All rights reserved. Privacy policy.