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Casey, Barletta Joust Over Healthcare, Robert Mueller, the Deficit and More: Three Takeaways from 1st PA Sen Debate

PHILADELPHIA- Incumbent Democratic Sen. Bob Casey and GOP challenger, Rep. Lou Barletta participated in their first of two televised debates at WPVI in Philadelphia today. The hour long debate which will air on WPVI and stream online starting at 11:30 am on Sunday that will be available to other TV stations, included fierce disagreements on the Affordable Care Act, the current state of the economy, special counsel Robert Mueller and ended with a personal back and forth between the candidates.

Here are three takeaways from today’s showdown.

Barletta Wants The Ad Down, Casey Says He Didn’t Intend for the Ad to Cause His Family Pain

In the closing statements of the debate, Barletta pleaded with Casey to remove a television ad that he said mirrored the situation his family is currently going through with his 18 month-old grandson being treated with chemotherapy for cancer. The ad is no longer running in the Scranton market, but remains on the air in other parts of the state. “The ad is still running today as we speak, my family is still hurt, my grandson still has cancer…,” Barletta said. “Could you tell me why you did that? Why you won’t take the ad down?” The ad criticizes Barletta’s vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Casey said the ad was never meant to hurt his family and he was just trying to tell the story of another Pennsylvania woman’s twin daughters going through cancer treatment. “Congressman, if that ad caused you and your family any pain, I apologize for that,” Casey said. “It was never intended that way. “The reason I didn’t make the connection between that ad and your grandson was very simple; I was thinking about Stacie Ritter and her story and her daughters’ story about pre-existing conditions.” After the conclusion of the debate, Barletta told reporters that he wasn’t sure how sorry Casey really is about the ad if he is still running it in other parts of the state.

Casey Wants Legislation To Protect Robert Mueller, Barletta Wants the Investigation to Wrap Up and Does Not Support that Legislation.

The last question before the closing statement asked the candidates whether or not they’d support legislation to protect special counsel Robert Mueller and his investigation from being fired by President Trump. Casey said he “absolutely would” support this legislation and said there’s no question that there was election interference from the Russian government. “The American people want this investigation to be thorough…,” Casey said. Barletta was pressed on this very question several times until he said he would not vote for that bill and pinned Sec. Clinton of colluding with the Russians. “I would like to see the conclusion of this never ending probe that’s been going on and on and on for years,” Barletta said. “The only one that colluded with the Russians has been Hillary Clinton, your friend, that’s the only one… No, I’m going to say I wouldn’t vote for that if he’s going to go on for another 5 years…”

Barletta and Casey Agree the Deficit has increased, but see different ways in how it can be lowered.

The candidates finally agreed on one notion, the deficit is too high, however they see different factors that resulted in this. Barletta blamed President Obama for the increase in national debt and lauded the GOP tax reform bill and the Trump agenda as the reason he thinks the economy is doing well right now. “Why would we wanna stop this?” Barletta asked. Casey blamed the GOP tax reform bill for that he said was “rammed through” as the cause of the deficit increase. The Democrat sees the bill as benefitting the top 1% and dubbed it a “corporate special interests giveaway” and pleaded multiple times throughout the debate and in his closing statement for putting forth “middle class tax cuts.” Moderator, Jim Gardner asked Barletta if he believed that the GOP tax reform bill did increase the deficit, to which the Republican agreed, but thinks the tax cuts have already positively effected the economy and in the long run will help bring the deficit down.  

17 Responses

  1. The fact is Lou voted at least a dozen times to allow Big Insurance companies to deny people with pre-existing conditions ,medical coverage — Mr Casey should demand that Lou apologize to these individuals and their families. Prayers to all those that are sick and their families .

    1. Did Barletta vote for a bill that would have priced out people with pre existing conditions? Yes, he did. The grandchild, who I wish nothing but good health for, is not relevant to that. I will bet his family has terrific health insurance.

    2. Barletta who against the ACA is singular cry baby claiming that his own attacks on the ACA are not relevant as he claimed the ad was only about him and his woes!

      it is time to stop the crying for his own problem and deal with the real healthcare problem of the masses in this nation by offering a replacement that will allow the ACA to be upgraded not repealed.

      As for you Doctor, heal thyself.

      And before you again point to the fact that I am a Democrat please understand that most who have known me over the years know who I am beyond this singular political page! Go heal pain instead of creating it!

  2. It is Obama care that is unaffordable ! The only people who think it is OK is if your health insurance is being paid by someone else ! I am rooting for Lou Barletta to be our next U.S. Senator

  3. The one thing every political junkie learned this cycle was how horrible it is to treat opponents badly with words that have really bad connotations–I am speaking of the “golf spikes” video of Scott Wagner that everyone was horrified over. There was a bipartisan condemnation of these words. Even if not meant “literally” these words are completely out of bounds and do not ever belong in political discourse. That said–any decent human being would feel for Lou’s family and I am absolutely certain that Bob Casey was only speaking of the healthcare issue. I think if Lou did make anti Obamacare votes then it is appropriate to say as such–Bob Casey handled the matter well in the debate.

  4. I see Casey as a little too liberal for me. But I see him as a man who cares about PA and about real issues faced by PA families…. unlike Barletta and Trump over in propaganda and invective world — who gin up anger where Casey seeks compromise and problem solving. While I see Casey as a tad too protectionist on trade – he has conviction and has promoted real potential solutions that would help Americans – and improve other countries standards.

    Whereas on trade (and immigration and foreign policy broadly) Trump and Barletta use fear and anger and prejudice and inspire a sense of American victimhood. Spare ne!

    Better to go with one I sometimes find too economically and socially liberal than to go with a lie. And once Trunp loses or is impeached or resigns, the GOP will have none of the allure or celebrity of Trunp to go on. Just clowns like Barletta who would only win intentionally gerrymandered districts – like the travesty that is Barlettas 11th.

      1. On the second try. Kanjorski mopped the floor with him first time around. You guys like to forget that

        1. In 2008, which was a Democrat year, Kanjorski beat Barletta by less than 10,000 votes, 51.6% to 48.4%

  5. It’s too bad that Lou Barletta’s grandson is fighting cancer, but the point of the ad is that Barletta’s votes support corporate for profit health insurance being permitted to deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions. The only true solution is to take for profit corporations out of the health insurance equation…. and it’s called single payer.

  6. I still don’t understand why should Casey apologize for the ad? Lou’s family has the same situation with another family who is much less fortunate than his, is depending on the ACA to help pay for costs. Casey should use this ad to point out Lou’s hypocrisy even more, and the fact that he can’t even relate to this poor family

    1. Yea, I feel bad for any sick child but Bartletta’s vote would have made health insurance unaffordable for people who are more vulnerable than his family. The ad had zero to do with his grandson. He loses well into double digits because, this was the highlight of his awful campaign.

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