U.S. Senate candidates square off

Seth Roy

U.S. Senate candidates from Ohio Mike Dewine and Sherrod Brown promise to do what’s best for Ohio citizens if they’re elected.

“I vote for Ohioans,” incumbent Republican Senator Dewine said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” yesterday morning as part of the show’s Senate Debate Series.

Both candidates said they wouldn’t vote based on partisan issues, but based on what is best for their constituents.

“My interest was representing Ohio,” Brown said. “Not my party and not my president. On major issues I’ll stand up to the president of my party. My ultimate allegiance is to the middle class and working to help Ohioans.”

Dewine said he’s had a history of working with both parties to get things accomplished.

“I have a long, long record of working with Democrats,” the Republican senator said. “He (Brown) has a very, very slim record in the House of Representatives. He has been described as a partisan; he is on the fringe of his own party.”

Brown said his focus is on the middle class and keeping jobs in Ohio.

“I’ve devoted my whole career to fighting for the middle class,” he said. “Middle class tax cuts, working to help college kids go to school, (and I) voted against these job-killing trade agreements. … I want to see more trade. I want fair trade. We simply have abandoned the middle class.”

Brown said Ohio’s economy suffers from the exportation of jobs overseas and to other states – while Dewine said the job outsourcing is helping Ohio’s economy by creating different jobs.

“One-fourth of our agriculture is exported,” Dewine said. “13,000 Ohio businesses export every single day. That’s where our jobs come from. That’s where our future comes from.”

Concluding the war

Dewine said setting a date to leave Iraq is irresponsible and could be disastrous.

“We cannot leave Iraq with the job undone,” he said. “And we cannot set an artificial timetable. It would bring disaster. It would bring about chaos in Iraq.”

He said the U.S. military must continue to train the Iraqi military and give Iraqis the equipment they need.

Brown said the United States should’ve developed an exit strategy long ago, and the intelligence committee is to blame for not asking the right questions.

“People who sit on the intelligence committees like Mike Dewine have simply not done their jobs,” Brown said. “They’ve not demanded accountability. They didn’t demand any kind of exit strategy.”

Brown said an exit from Iraq is needed but would have to be slow.

“I’ve never said, ‘Bring them out today’,” he said. “We pressure, we force, we push the Iraqis to build the security forces.”

Congressional misconduct

Both Brown and Dewine said they were shocked to hear of Florida Representative Mark Foley’s instant messages to a 16-year-old congressional page. They were even more shocked that some members of the House may have known of the allegations for more than a year.

“My first thought … was that I was thinking about the families around the United States who sent their 15- and 16-year olds to Washington assuming they were safe,” Brown said. “When you hear that the leaders of the House of Representatives knew about this ahead of time and did nothing to protect the safety of those children, it’s just absolutely outrageous.”

Dewine agreed.

“It’s a horrible situation,” he said. “I think there has to be a full investigation of who knew what and when they knew.”

The next debate between Brown and Dewine will be Friday, Oct. 13, at 8 p.m. in Dayton.

Contact public affairs reporter Seth Roy at [email protected].