Rep. Patrick Murphy (D) and his challenger, Mike Fitzpatrick held their first of five debates, with vigor well-suiting one of the most contested races in the country. Inside a “pep-rally” atmosphere, the candidates went at each other, focusing on national issues like the economy and health care reform. Murphy took this seat by a narrow margin from Fitzpatrick in the 2006 Democrat wave, and is now fighting to hold it against the tide of public anger with the liberal agenda. This race is one of Liberty Central’s Top Races, and Murphy scored an F on the Liberty Central Scorecard with yes votes for Obamacare, Cap and Trade, Financial Reform and the Stimulus.
Fitzpatrick hit Murphy on the fact that unemployment has doubled since Murphy took office, while the bailouts and stimulus have grown the deficit. Fitzpatrick also said that the failure to vote on the Bush tax cuts before leaving Washington leaves the economy in an uncertain place. “Businesspeople will tell you that they need certainty in order to create jobs,” Fitzpatrick said. Failing to vote on extending the Bush cuts, he said, “is the worst thing they could have done. As a result, there will be no jobs created in the next three months.” Murphy tried to paint Fitzpatrick as a “vote for the Bush administration and Wall Street.”
Murphy defended his vote for health care reform, calling it necessary and budget neutral. Both sides agreed that military action would be acceptable to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.