August 17, 2006

Chafee-Laffey II: Ad Wars, Part 2

Carroll Andrew Morse

Senator Lincoln Chafee and Mayor Steve Laffey, the Republican candidates for U.S. Senate, debated on today’s Dan Yorke Show on WPRO-AM radio. Here are the notes I jotted down as they were debating…

Dan Yorke plays the Chafee ad about Laffey’s record of raising taxes as Mayor of Cranston. Yorke notes that Laffey inherited pending bankruptcy and asks what could have been done differently.
Senator Lincoln Chafee cites his program as mayor of Warwick: a hiring freeze followed by small tax increases. That combination worked in Warwick. It’s hypocritical for Laffey to sign on to Club for Growth program of never raising taxes, when you can’t predict future circumstances that might require a tax increase.
Mayor Steve Laffey rebuts by mentioning a large pay increase for the Warwick teacher’s union that occurred under Chafee’s leadership.
Chafee said he was playing catch up.
Laffey says Chafee's situation in Warwick was not a crisis. Laffey says he worked with Democratic state Reps, and Governors Almond and Carcieri to fix things in Cranston. Yes, there was a supplemental tax imposed, but this year Cranston was the only RI community lower tax rates.

Yorke asks Laffey why the Cranston tax increases aren't a legitimate issue. Isn't it reasonable to look how someone has handled things in the past to figure out how they'll handle things in the future?
Laffey says local property taxes are different from Federal taxes and that Chafee wants to raise taxes on every single individual.
Chafee says Laffey should be more generous in sharing credit for fixing Cranston with the Cranston City Council and Cranston taxpayers. Chafee says he wants to do things on the Federal level that help reduce property taxes, like provide more Federal funding for special education. Laffey’s supporters in the Club for Growth are only interested in tax cuts for the rich.
Laffey notes that the No Child Left Behind Act, which Chafee voted for, is an unfunded mandate that puts tremendous pressure on property taxes.

Yorke acknowledges the education is a multi-wicket, but haven’t NCLB requirements brought in some necessary diligence?
Laffey says no, there’s been no measurable change in test scores. You have to treat Cranston differently from the Bronx.
Chafee wonders why all students shouldn’t be required to learn to the same level.

Yorke plays the Laffey campaign “peas in a pod” ad, which says Lincoln Chafee and Sheldon Whitehouse are basically the same. Yorke asks Chafee if he’s the same as Whitehouse
Chafee answers “far from it”. He’ll explain the differences during the general election campaign.
Laffey cites Chafee’s support of the death tax, opposition to Bush’s tax cuts, and the fact that Chafee has twice been mentioned as “porker of of the month” as similarities between Chafee and Whitehouse.

Yorke asks if it is fair to attack Senator Chafee’s record by singling out one project, like the bridge-to-nowhere, from an omnibus transportation bill. Don’t philosophical concerns about spending have to make some room for the practicalities of the legislative process?
Laffey says that $27 billion dollars in special earmarks in the highway bill were not in the interests of RI. They were not part of normal appropriations. Ronald Reagan vetoed a highway bill because it had 125 earmarks, this one had thousands of earmarks. Earmarks lead to a corruption
Yorke asks about giving the President line-item veto power.
Both candidates agree that a line-item veto is a good idea.
Chafee defends the earmark process as a legitimate part of a normal appropriations process, because it follows his asking town managers and mayors what their needs are.
Laffey asks how it was possible for Chafee to vote against the railroad-to-nowhere, if it was impossible for him to vote against a project like the bridge-to-nowhere.
Chafee cites his Concord Coalition designation as the Senate’s most fiscally conservative member as evidence of his strong record of fiscal responsibility.

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See Gondorf on post below:
Chafee-Laffey II: Ad Wars, Part 1

His analysis is suscinct, brilliant, and 100% right.

Round 1 Laffey wins 10 to 9 (10 point must system).

Round 2 Laffey (with two knock downs and a standing 8 count) wins 10 to 8.

Round 3 next Wednesday Night.

J Mahn

Posted by: Joe Mahn at August 17, 2006 9:43 PM

I confess that I was unable to catch today's debate, but if Joe Mahn thinks Laffey won 10-9 and 10-8, I'm sure Chafee's people will be ecstatic.

Posted by: Anthony at August 17, 2006 10:19 PM

I think Joe is being far too easy on the scoring for today's debate. Laffey might not have knocked him out, but he was definitely pummeling along for most of the hour.

Posted by: Will at August 17, 2006 10:39 PM


Chafee gets his ass kicked today and Anthony says he missed it. If it had been the other way around, I'm sure he would have heard it.

Today was a home run for Laffey, maybe Linc's henchmen should make his 3'x5' cards 8.5' x 11', then he might be able to go more than one line before flailing around.

Laffey 2, Chafee 0

Posted by: Carl Elliott at August 17, 2006 11:25 PM

For those of you who don't understand the nature and use of the 10-point must system in boxing please take the time to educate your selves.

For the lazy people (like Anthony) here's a primer.

Winner of round gets 10 loser gets 9

One or two knock downs, or a standing eight count- Winner gets 10 loser gets 8

Knock downs, severe pummeling, blood everywhere, loser barely stumbles back to his corner- Winner gets 10 loser gets 7

The 10/7 round score is a rarity. Typically the referee will stop the fight and award a TKO.

Bottom line: Its Laffey 2 and Chafee 0

I'm not sure I can watch the TV debate. It may get very ugly for Chafee who tends to bleed very easily.

See you all there.

J Mahn

Posted by: Joe Mahn at August 17, 2006 11:43 PM

Anthony must have been busy working his "summer job" that gives him a wealth of private sector experience.

Posted by: John Shelby at August 18, 2006 9:42 AM

I'll score that one 10/8 Mr. Shelby over Anthony!

Posted by: Stretch Cunningham at August 18, 2006 10:49 AM

Having not heard yesterday's debate, I won't get into the discussion of who won or lost. But the two TV debates next week will have a much bigger impact than the radio debates.
If this Cranston City Hall investigation amounts to anything (and a week is an eternity in this race) , there's an X-factor that didn't figure into the first two debates.

Posted by: Rhody at August 18, 2006 11:42 AM

Rhody was unavailable yesterday too (like Anthony) and didn't have access to a radio or a computer?!?


I wonder if any Chafee supporters actually listened to the debate yesterday?

Posted by: Carl Elliott at August 18, 2006 12:53 PM

I heard they were all in stunned silence after D2. They know their guy is going down.

They'll have to return all those nice t-shirts to Mr. Chafee. But I also heard that after their rally at D2 they all folded their shirts and packed them neatly back in their boxes so they are all neat and clean for the next event.:) They sure are neat.

Like Stretch, John and Carl I also thought it was odd that Chafee's biggest supporters on this blog didn't tune in to the debates. Fortunately with the miracles of modern science they can listen to them online right here.



Listen in and then tell us what you think.

J Mahn

Posted by: Joe Mahn at August 18, 2006 9:54 PM

Dear Mr. Mahn,

If we were scoring debates like we did when I was on the debating teams in High School and College, you would be correct. However, we aren't.

It is still the case that as long as Chaffee does not find a corner to retreat to and assume the fetal position in while repeating over and over "I won every Italian district but Silver Lake" (sorry Bruce, I couldn't help myself), he wins.

Who's fault is that? The Laffey people. You folks screwed up the expectations game so bad, you can't advance as a result of these entanglements.

By the way, you Chaffee folks should take no pride in this whatsoever. Normally, I wouldn't type that, but I've seen you in action. Makes you wonder what the horses used to think.

Posted by: Bobby Oliveira at August 18, 2006 10:20 PM


Nice analysis, but you're wrong.

Chafee made direct accusations and couldn't back them up with facts. That's a knock down.

Chafee got the Rep convention issue dead wrong and could not come up with a source for his pro-life support attack. Those are two more knock-downs.

His recent "bully" commercial is an editing fabrication, and has no basis in fact. And everyone knows it on both sides. Standing 8 count.

I could go on and on. Laffey was the clear winner of round 2. But even more importantly he has an actual plan and the leadership skills to get the job done for the taxpayers.

This week's TV debate will continue to demonstrate the huge gulf (both in philosophy of public policy, planning, leadership, and the ability to work to get it done for the taxpayers with whoever) between these two men.

The word for the week is momentum.

J Mahn

PS. I can't believe Chafee announced that he went on Laffey's web site and looked for the pixel man. That was classic.

Posted by: Joe Mahn at August 18, 2006 11:20 PM

The audience for the TV debates will be much bigger than the audience for the radio debates (mostly us political junkies whose opinions already lean strongly enough to one side or the other that nothing we hear in a radio debate will change our mind).
The landscape of this race changes seemingly every day. Eventually, some event will make it break one way or the other, but that event probably hasn't happened yet.
One thing that is breaking in Laffey's favor is how nasty the Democratic SofS primary is getting. Some Chafee voters who are crossing parties might decide that keeping that thug Ralph Mollis (my mayor, sad to say) off the ballot may be a bigger priority.

Posted by: Rhody at August 19, 2006 2:10 AM