Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

October 25, 2006


Host: Michael Grant

Hayworth/Mitchell Debate


  • The Arizona Chamber of Commerce hosts a debate between the candidates in U.S. Congressional District 5. Republican incumbent J.D. Hayworth debates the issues with Democratic challenger Harry Mitchell. HORIZON will broadcast portions of the debate.
Guests:
  • J.D. Hayworth - U.S. Congressman, Republican incumbent
Category: Elections

View Transcript
Announcer:
Horizon is made possible by contributions from the friends offer eight, members of your Arizona PBS Station. Thank you.

Michael Grant:
Good evening and welcome to Horizon. I'm Michael Grant. On the morning of October 23rd the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry hosted a debate for the U.S. Congressional District five seat. Republican Incumbent J.D. Hayworth currently serving his sixth two-year term in the house. Challenger Harry Mitchell, a former state legislator and former mayor of Tempe. The debate lasted an hour but Horizon has edited it to under 30 minutes. We chose some of the issues of the debate for our broadcast, but didn't edit the candidate's answers. Three reporters asked the candidates questions.

Matt Bunk:
Good morning, Congressman. Back in 2004, you joined the rest of Arizona Congressional Delegation in opposing, or at least not supporting proposition 200, which required I.D.'s at the polls and to register to vote. It was later approved by almost 60\% of the voters and later on, even still, the courts blocked the requirements to the measure. Following that you issued a statement that read in part that this decision is a slap in the face to every Arizona voter by out of control activist judges. It risks throwing the upcoming election into chaos. Every illegal vote dilutes every legal vote robbing voters of a fundamental constitutional right. My question is two part. What is your current position on the voter I.D. law, and if you could also kind of explain the apparent change of heart that you may have had and also should this voter I.D. law be used as a model nationally?

J.D. Hayworth:
Well, actually the voter I.D. law, let me take the second part of your question first. The voter I.D. law has been used for a model nationally. We voted in favor of voter I.D. qualifications on the floor of the United States House of Representatives, and we did so based on the recommendation of a bipartisan commission led by former Secretary of State James Baker and former president of the United States Jimmy Carter. It is only reasonable that if you need an I.D. to board an aircraft, if you need an I.D. to establish a bank account, for crying out loud, if you need an. I.D. to rent a video at a video store then you should be willing to show an I.D. reaffirming that you are a citizen to engage in the most basic right given a citizen, a right to vote. And I applaud the Supreme Court for staying the mistaken decision, in my mind, of the ninth circuit court of appeals. Going back to the campaign in 2004, I had a couple of concerns. First of all, what seems to be the hostility of the judiciary in terms of ballot propositions? I was concerned that the proposition was too encompassing, that it would be taken off the ballot unless it dealt almost exclusively with voter requirements. And also, freely admit I allowed myself to succumb to cynicism. I allowed myself to believe that what would transpire with prop 200 would be what transpired with prop 187 in California. That was the wrong thing. The good news is the voters showed me that faith in the people and abiding by the decisions of voters at the ballot box should be the most important action. And so upon reflection and taking a look at the will of the people and also realizing that we had great inertia dealing with these problems it was time to get it in gear. The people have spoken. Just as the people in their wisdom will speak November 7 and return me to the congress of the United States.

Announcer:
Mr. Mitchell?

Harry Mitchell:
Thank you. I don't believe anybody believes that you shouldn't be a citizen to vote. That is one of our most basic rights and everyone should be a citizen and we need to eliminate every type of fraud in voting. But let me tell you what's happened in Arizona. If you vote by mail or if you vote early -- and that's a month before the election date -- you don't have to show an I.D. I think there's a real loophole here. And I believe that if we're going to have a show of citizenship, proof of citizenship or I.D. to vote it should extend to not only those going to the polls on election day but also early balloting and mail in ballot. And there's a free flaw there. I think it's a loophole that we need to close.

Announcer:
Thank you, Mr. Mitchell. Mr. Hayworth do you have a rebuttal?

J.D. Hayworth:
Well again, I believe that we have put in place sufficient safeguards. You have typically heard talk that somehow citizens are disenfranchised by a failure to have voter I.D. The bill that I voted for on the house floor actually sets up a situation where those people who may not have I.D. can actually secure it at the expense of the government, not out of their pockets, to reaffirm the basic right to vote. So, I salute again the fact that we will be checking I.D.s at the polling places. I believe that franchise is reserved for citizens. It is the most sacred responsibility of citizens in a free republic and we must do all we can to ensure ballot integrity and maintain that citizens who want to avail themselves of the right and the privilege of voting have a chance to do so.

Announcer:
Thank you, Mr. Hayworth. Matt, your next question?

Matt Bunk:
Mr. Mitchell, as you know, the U.S. for some time now has been using diplomatic channels to pressure North Korea into giving up its nuclear weapons program, but that country has continued toward its goal, nonetheless. During the past year, North Korea has launched a ballistic missile into the sea of Japan. On October 9 it tested what appears to have been a nuclear weapon underground. The U.S. has insisted on restarting the 6 nation talks and has pushed through some economic sanctions. So my question is, when if ever should the United States take more aggressive action to halt the proliferation of nuclear weapons and limit the threat of attack by North Korea, actions such as blockading cargo shipments for inspection or possible military action?

Harry Mitchell:
Well first let me say that right after 9/11 we had the sympathy of the world on our side. And since then, it's very hard to get the international community to get together and help us deal with rogue nations like North Korea and even Iran. I think that we have got to use every diplomatic channel we have. And we've got to go back and reestablish our diplomatic ties with our former allies. We need to better utilize instead of bash the U.N. and these other nations we ought to go back and try to mend fences and work diplomatically. When it comes to a more aggressive course with North Korea, this has to be done with the understanding that the world community is behind us. And I think we can only do that if we sit down and negotiate.

Announcer:
Mr. Hayworth?

J.D. Hayworth:
On six occasions I've had the privilege of raising my right hand and taking the oath of office to defend the constitution of the United States, not the charter of the United Nations. The question is about North Korea. What should we do? I can tell you one thing unequivocally. All options should remain on the table. Specifically, you talked about the rather modest, but I believe important step of a blockade or quarantine of North Korea. We are already tracking ships, because one of the troubling aspects of this is the fact that there has been an exchange of technology and materials between North Korea and Iran. We are tracking merchant vessels now that could very well be loaded with taepodong missiles. And here is the threat. Sadly the North Koreans with the taepodong missile now have the range to attack the continental United States, including the Fifth Congressional District of Arizona. The stakes are high. That is why no option should be taken off the table. The U.N., if in fact the U.N. dealt with this in a more forth right manner instead of passing a resolution that offers a gaping loophole preventing the boarding of ships should have moved with greater force. But it does not come with an attempt to teach Kim Jong Il a Dale Carnegie course internationally or otherwise on how to win friends and influence people. While we welcome diplomacy we must understand the words of our first President, George Washington. "We must see the world as it is, not merely as we wish it to be." and the best way to ensure peace is to be prepared for war.

Announcer:
Mr. Mitchell your rebuttal?

Harry Mitchell:
Thank you. And I think one of the best ways to secure peace not only is to prepare for war, but to work with the rest of the nations. In order to secure peace, we need to establish and continue dialogue with other countries. This go it alone as has been suggested is not the way we're going to bring about the peace that we desire in this country or the world.

Announcer:
Thank you. Mike?

Mike Sunnucks:
Oh, this question is for Congressman Hayworth. What kind of change of strategy, change of course do you think we need in Iraq? And does that include new leadership perhaps Donald Rumsfeld? Do you think he should stay as defense secretary?

J.D. Hayworth:
I believe our goal in Iraq should be clear and unequivocal. And it can be summed up in one word, "victory." The stakes are just that high. Now, many people say and want to debate the whole notion that Iraq might not be the central front in the war on terror. But I absolutely believe that to be true, because I take our enemies at their word. Intercepted communications from Al-Zaquari who has since thankfully been sent to his reward and Al Zaquari - the number 2 man in Al Qaeda-indicate that they would like to see, in the world of Islamo-Facism, global dominance beginning with the institution of a world wide caliphate with Baghdad at its center. They've also talked about what is at stake if they fail to win there, if we succeed in bringing democracy to Iraq. Now granted, that's not an easy row to hoe. But we can change tactics to find a way to prevail in Iraq. It's not a matter of staying the course. It's a matter of finishing the job. Responding and changing tactics with the overall, unapologetic goal of victory. Victory to put down the forces of Islamo-fascism and to see democracy flourish in the troubled middle east.

Announcer:
Mr. Mitchell?

Harry Mitchell:
Thank you. One of the most basic responsibilities of congress is oversight and accountability. And we have not had any oversight at all over the Iraqi situation. In fact, J.D. has voted against having any hearings on Iraq and said that the time to ask questions is after the war. I think absolutely we need a plan. Staying the course is not a plan. It's nothing more than a slogan. Even Colin Powell said this month, staying the course isn't good enough, because the course has to have an end. J.D. has been a rubber stamp for this failed policy and repeatedly says stay the course. We need somebody to ask tough questions. We understand that things are getting worse in Iraq. It's become a breeding ground for terrorists. We need and I would call for the removal of secretary of Defense Rumsfeld. I think we need new leadership, we need a new direction. Even other Republicans, whether it's Senator John Warner of Virginia or former Secretary of State James Baker all saying we need to look at this and we need to ask tough questions. No tough questions have been asked about where we're headed in Iraq. It's time for a change.

Announcer:
Mr. Hayworth you have one minute.

J.D. Hayworth:
Well, sadly my opponent continues deliberately or otherwise to misrepresent my record and the facts. I never voted against hearings on Iraq. Certainly my opponent with his background as a history and government teacher understands that oversight is a fundamental constitutional right of the congress of the United States. And as a routine matter oversight hearings have been constantly scheduled and there has been significant oversight. But the bottom line is this: decisions about tactics shouldn't be left to politicians in Washington. They should be made by commanders on the ground. Now, I think it's very enlightening that a columnist for the "Arizona Republic" said of my opponent's vision that that it is a fairy tale. That's absolutely the case. You get this done through victory, not through disengagement, not through mischaracterizing the plan but seeing this through. Is it tough? You bet. But the stakes are higher should we fail. We cannot afford to fail.

Announcer:
Thank you, Mr. Hayworth. Mike, your next question?

Mike Sunnucks:
Next question is for Mr. Mitchell. What can we do to reduce our reliance on foreign oil? And how do you feel about increased domestic oil drilling, whether it's in the arctic national wildlife refuge or say offshore in the Gulf of Mexico?

Harry Mitchell:
First of all it's important to note that United States has three percent of the world's oil reserves. We use 25 percent of the world's oil. We are importing 60\% of the oil that's used in this country. That's not good for our national security or good for us. It's not good for our environment. I believe that we ought to invest in every form of alternative fuels that we possibly can. And I don't believe that we can drill our way into energy independence. Opening up the north shore, opening up the Alaskan or opening up offshore oil is not going to do anything but keep us dependent on oil. It's bad for the environment and the economy and certainly not good for you and I paying these high gasoline taxes. So, we have got to reinvest. I am opposed to the tax credits and the tax breaks that were given to a big oil company at a time they were having record profits. A lot of that has to do with the way our congress has voted in order to give tax breaks to oil companies. We're not going to drill our way out. We've got to find alternative sources.

Announcer:
Mr. Hayworth?

J.D. Hayworth:
Well, I think it's another demonstration of a lot of talk as opposed to a lot of action. The fact is as a member of the ways and means committee, I drafted the solar energy tax credit that is now law that was part of that energy bill. I, as a member of congress, I'm a part of a bipartisan group. I'd encourage everyone in attendance today when they get home to check the website of "setamericafree.org." Frank Gaffney former assistant secretary of defense to Ronald Reagan, former congressional staffer to Democratic Senator Henry M. Scoop Jackson started this group and I was happy to join, because geopolitically we cannot afford to mortgage our future on oil from Iraq, Iran or Venezuela. We must be self-sufficient. So I embrace those new forms of energy and champion tax relief to get that done. But there's something more. As we're making the transition, we are not going to abandon oil in the near future. And there's a gulf between the rhetoric and the reality of exploration on the arctic national wildlife refuge. The arctic national wildlife refuge is the size of the state of South Carolina. The area where energy exploration would take place is an area about the size of Dulles International Airport in suburban Washington, D.C. in the Virginia countryside. We've taken steps to limit the ecological footprint. So our challenge is this, to find a way, yes, to get off oil, to embrace new technologies, but to understand for our national security we can explore for energy in an environmentally sensitive and responsible way and we should pursue that. Because the longer we fail to do so, the more we make ourselves susceptible to undermining of our supplies by those who wish us ill.

Announcer:
Thank you, Mr. Hayworth. Mr. Mitchell?

Harry Mitchell:
Yes. It's kind of interesting that on the one hand when we see what's happened to our debt and our dependence on foreign oil that this last quarter the largest reason for having a balance of payments deficit was oil. What we're doing is borrowing from our economic competitor china and turning around and spending it to buy oil from some of the very people we're training our troops to defend. That doesn't make much sense. We have got to rein in and be more fiscally responsible and actually invest in all types of alternative fuels, not just solar. Every type should be on the table.

Announcer:
Thank you, Mr. Mitchell. Phil?

Phil Riske:"
Mr. Hayworth, how do you bring home the bacon, so to speak, for the state of Arizona and your district and yet reduce federal spending?

J.D. Hayworth: Well, I think it's very important that we take a look at the overall budget. And indeed, Phil, as you take a look there is a 1-2 approach if you will that we should utilize. Number one, through our pro-growth, low-tax economic policies we have seen record revenue receipts to the federal government. Indeed, our goal was to cut our deficit in half over the next five years. We accelerated and reached the halfway point on reduction of our deficit through revenue receipt growth and economic growth just a couple of weeks ago. That's number one. But number two, we do have to work to rein in wasteful spending. That's why I supported every one of the earmarked votes proposed by Jeff Flake in our appropriations action to actually strip out spending and indeed I voted to eliminate 53 wasteful and duplicative programs that cost taxpayers $3.5 billion a year. There's something else we need to talk about that's a fair question, and that is how do you differentiate between wasteful spending, that is earmarks, something we haven't debated, put in the dead of night and legitimate investment? We are now the fifth largest metropolitan area in the country. We avoid capital expenditures and infrastructure expenditures for transportation and quality of life at our own risk. When I advocate that type of investment, I do so in the clear light of day. The mass transit initiatives that we have here were part of the president's budget. People may disagree with that, but we put those in the budget to highlight them and make them part of the regular way of doing business. And I've been pleased to work with Arizona State University in bringing back to Tempe over $140 million in investment in terms of biomedical research, in terms of research with the war fighter of the future and flexible displays for our men and women in harm's way, in terms of innovation for education and a variety of other programs.

Announcer: Thank you, Mr. Hayworth. Mr. Mitchell?

Harry Mitchell: Thank you. It's interesting that we start talking about the deficit and we ended up with all this other. Revenues are increasing. And the reason revenues are increasing is because we're borrowing more as well. Revenues are increasing; spending has increased more than ever before. Our national debt is increasing as I said earlier $42 million an hour. But what's interesting is this: in 1995, Congressman Hayworth said this, "how can someone who's willing to suffocate our kids with our debt pretend to represent them"?" it's immoral, he said to, to leave our children and grandchildren saddled with debt. Interest on our debt is the fastest-growing item in our budget. It's the fourth highest item in our budget at this time. The interest on the debt. The thing that's important about this is our national debt has been purchased 90\% of it by foreigners. This also becomes a national security issue. We have paid this next year $116 billion to foreigners in interest payments. This becomes nothing more than a foreign aid program. And I think this is dangerous. We have got to rein in our debt. We can talk about spending. But I think what we're doing if we continue to borrow money as we're doing, not only with the City of Tempe out of business and the state of Arizona but you can't run your businesses that way. We would have been out of business. We cannot continue just to spend, spend, spend and say, well, revenues are increasing. And that's true. But so is our debt. And I think that that's wrong.

Announcer:
Mr. Hayworth.

J.D. Hayworth:
Two glaring omissions from my opponent's analysis. Number one, the benefits of reducing across the board taxation that actually results in higher revenues, and an active history so profound that it cannot be glossed over or ignored. 9/11 occurred. We are a nation at war. And I will absolutely tell you that if given a choice of passing on to my daughter in the audience in adulthood the challenge of dealing with effective ways to deal with a deficit but to live in freedom with a protected nation, I will gladly ensure that she and my other children and my opponent's grandchildren will live in freedom to have the luxury of embracing policies through discussion in a free society. Again when it comes to saving money, Harry talks a good game but back to taxes. In Tempe at a time of economic turndown, in the old bad days of carter "stagflation" he increased property taxes 12\%. Harry likes tax hikes. I'm a tax cutter.

Announcer:
Thank you, Mr. Hayworth.

Michael Grant:
No other local television program provides you with the in depth comprehensive election coverage Horizon does. You can learn more about elections on our website. Here's more.

Mike Sauceda:
To get to the Horizon vote 2006 website, go to the eight website at azpbs.org. Once you're there click on "vote 2006". That will take you to our Horizon vote 2006 homepage which is loaded with features to help you as you prepare to cast your ballot. One of the most prominent features is top videos, with the top videos feature you can view past Horizon election shows. The five tabs on the upper part of the screen allow you to access all the information you need on the propositions, statewide races, the U.S. senate race, congressional races and clean elections debates. For example, if you click on the proposition tab you'll get a list of propositions that will appear on the November ballot. Click on one of the propositions, such as prop 100, and you will get links to the text of the proposed amendment, analysis by the legislative counsel, arguments for and against the measure, the official ballot language and dates of town halls on the measure. On the Horizon vote 2006 website you can also access online videos, RSS feeds, podcasts and the Cronkite eight poll. A couple of other features you will want to check out. My ballot, a printable form to remind you of your choices as you vote. You can also check out when to watch Horizon election coverage.

Michael Grant:
Thanks very much for joining us tonight on Horizon for our continuing election coverage. I'm Michael Grant. Have a great one. Good night.

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