Bass, Kuster Clash on Health Care and Income Tax

The 2nd Congressional District candidates took part in a debate at the WBIN studio in Derry.

Shots back and forth came early and often between U.S. Rep. Charles Bass (R-NH) and his Democratic opponent Ann McClane Kuster during an Oct. 10 WBIN debate, with the two most contentious issues being health care and an income tax in the state.

Kuster came out firing, saying that Bass has voted 31 times to repeal health care for "millions of Americans."

"To say nothing of his vote to dismantle Medicare that's going to cost seniors $6,400 out of pocket," she said.

Bass countered that figures like $6,400 are numbers that come from the Democratic Campaign Committee "facts machine."

He also said that Kuster not only supported the public option for Medicare, but didn't think the Obama health care law went far enough.

Kuster said that she never supported the public option, it was always the "public insurance option."

Bass hammered Kuster on what he called her lack of commitment to an income tax position, despite her statement that she does not support a broad-based income tax in the state.

"She just made a comment the other day that former (NH) Gov. Mel Thomson, who is the father of anti-broad based tax in this state, was quote 'a worm,'" Bass said.

He said that Kuster's income tax position will last for 27 days until the election is over.

Kuster went after Bass over and over for his votes on GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan's budget.

"The Ryan budget is absolutely not serious about cutting deficits and getting to a balanced budget," she said, adding that the Republican budget will not balance until at least 2040. She also criticized Bass for voting for both wars that "drove up" the nation's debt.

Bass argued that the budgets are plans.

"Budgets don't cut or raise spending," he said. "They are plans that are presented to Congress."

He said the Democrats wanted so much for the Republicans to have a budget so that they could "come up with any kind of kabuki accounting to charge the Republicans with anything that they wanted to."

Kuster retorted that the budget is someone's "statement of principle (and) of their values."

The two also traded barbs on campaign contributions, with Kuster saying that Bass' campaign has been "almost entirely funded" on corporate contributions.

"I won't be dependent on anyone other than the individuals," she said.

Bass said that while he represented people, Kuster, an attorney, represented clients.

"I haven't received close to $100,000 from the JStreetPac in Washington," he said. "I'm not part of these big national liberal organizations that characterize Annie as being a 'bold, liberal progressive.'"

Both also refuted claims of impropriety. Kuster said that, if elected, she will no longer be associated with her law firm or her small business that she started for non-profits.

She went after Bass for his association with a Jaffrey-based company that manufactured wood pellets for heat.

"What makes me sad about this debate – first the claims are totally unfounded," he said. "It (also) really affects the vitality of this company which is an employer, an alternative energy company."

He added that he produced a stock certificate showing that he doesn't own any share in the company until he leaves Congress.

While they clashed on issues of the economy, the two candidates were more civil during a discussion on the Benghazi attack as it relates to foreign policy.

Bass responded to reports saying that the Libya attacks were "not spontaneous."

"I certainly hope that the State Department will take this issue seriously which they have," he said.

"There have been many different explanations that come out of the State Department on this issue," Bass added. "One that seems to have the most veracity is one that indicates that they simply weren't prepared for this."

Kuster said that the shame is the loss of the life of Ambassador Chris Stevens.

"Obviously it is a very unstable region and we have to provide the security for Americans abroad," she said.

On veteran affairs, Kuster accused Bass of not supporting the troops when they come home after voting to send them to war.

Bass countered immediately, saying that he has a full-time employee who does nothing but handle veterans' affairs, and he also attends ceremonies that occur when veterans return home.

"I support withdrawal from Afghanistan, I support the President's plan," Bass said. "I support speeding up the plan as long as the safety is not hampered in any way."

The two remained partisan on voter ID, with Bass saying that he does not support a federal identification card while Kuster said that it is a "solution looking for a problem" and an "interference with our democracy."

Both reacted similarly to a question from a New Hampshire resident on student debt, referencing their college-aged children.

Kuster did bring up the Ryan budget once more, saying that it will eliminate 10 million students on their Pell grants and "interfere with their ability to have higher education."

Bass said that while Kuster characterized the Republican budget as "pitiful," that it will be the framework going forward.

On the negative advertising this election cycle, Bass called the ads "terrible, misleading and untruthful," while Kuster said she is also offended by the advertising.

Jan Schmidt October 11, 2012 at 12:46 PM
More than 50 years in NH October 11, 2012 at 01:09 PM
Hyper perhaps
Peter D'Antonio October 11, 2012 at 03:39 PM
There is no choice here. Ms. Kuster is against the repeal of Obamacare. She supports unconditional and unlimited abortion. She supports the taking of $700 billion from Medicare to fund Obamacare. She doesn't represent NH values and will work against reducing federal taxes and federal budget cuts. Her claims echo the false claims being made by the Obama campaign about Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. Her actions and positions are so extreme that she will not work across the aisle.
Jan Schmidt October 11, 2012 at 04:20 PM
Women have the right to decide their care in this country, the taliban doesn't rule here yet. People are already benefitting from Obamacare, my neighbor is able to keep his 3 kids in college on his insurance so they can get the most out of their education. The $700 billion lie is going stale, time to retire it. Annie represents NH values a whole heck of a lot more than Charlie who will lie to your face. She knows privatizing earned entitlements will put more money in the hands of corporations and less toward our care. You're only right about one thing - there is no choice. Annie will be a terrific Representative.
salemvoter October 11, 2012 at 05:55 PM
Jan, yes woman have the right to decide care in this country. Partial birth abortion is abhorrent. Some occur solely because of the sex or inconvienance of having a child and they want the taxpayer to pay for it. Abortion is an elective procedure, with the exception of the mothers health, rape, incest, or severe birth defect. Should the taxpayer have to pay for elective surgery? Should insurance companies be required to pay for elective surgery? Where do you draw the line, nose jobs, tummy tucks, breast augmentation, brazillian fanny lifts? Before Obamacare I had 3 kids in college and they were covered by my health insurance as long as they were in college in an accredited program. Obamacare did not enact this rule. Perhaps you are thinking about the Obamacare mandate to cover your kids until they are 26.


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