Oct 21, 2014 8:37 PM

Kevin Landrigan: Shea-Porter and Guinta engage in NH1 debate


CONCORD - Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter, a three-term Democrat and her predecessor, ex-Republican Congressman Frank Guinta engaged in a spirited but respectful debate Tuesday night on NH 1.

The two parted company over federal budget cuts in 2011, Obamacare and whether to abolish the Internal Revenue Service.

But for the most part, they were civil towards one another even though this is the third campaign between them.

And they even agreed with each other on some issues such as their joint belief the Obama response to the Ebola crisis was slow in coming.

"We are back to having czars again. It is a person with no medical background. It is patently political,'' Guinta said.

"I think the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) was pretty flat-footed from the beginning.''

Shea-Porter went on to criticize Guinta for favoring cuts to the CDC which led to the agency not having enough resources to respond.

They also opposed the Obama administration's foreign policy to arm the Syrian rebels and deal with the terrorist threat posed by ISIS in the Middle East.

"I don't think it was a complete plan,'' Guinta said.

It's not as if these two who know each other very well failed to disagree.

Guinta, the former Manchester mayor, hit Shea-Porter hard for her support of the Affordable Care Act that he warned would lead to as many as 70,000 citizens in the state having to change their health care plans next year.

Stylistically this pair acted very cautiously during the first half of the debate which reflects a race that has remained within nearly every poll's margin of error for the past six months.

They did get chippy at one another near the close of the debate when they were able to question one another.

Guinta asked Shea-Porter to defend her support of Obamacare while Shea-Porter asked why Guinta had supported abolishing the IRS.

In response, Guinta accused Shea-Porter of promoting the IRS because its employees political action committee had given her campaign $10,000.

Congresswoman Carol-Shea Porter is seeking her fourth term for the seat she first won by unseating Republican incumbent Jeb Bradley in 2006.

Former Manchester Mayor Frank Guinta "retired'' Shea-Porter in 2010, a mid-term election in which Republicans swept offices throughout the ballot but for Democratic Gov. John Lynch who hung on to win a third term.

Two years later, Shea-Porter returned the favor, beating Guinta in a presidential election year when big wins for President Obama and Gov. Maggie Hassan contributed to Shea-Porter's victory.

Now we have the third contest between the two and it's borne some resemblance to the past two campaigns.

You can find part 1 of the debate here, part 2 here, and part 3 here.

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