NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Election Connection

October 10, 2012

Tempers flare at debate

Crowd feisty as Tierney, Tisei and Fishman face off

(Continued)

Throughout the campaign, both candidates have criticized hyperpartisanship in Washington, and that continued last night.

Tisei, who has argued that his record of bipartisanship would help abate the dysfunction on Capitol Hill, named his proudest moment as the formation of the coalition, Democrats for Tisei, which, he said, “made me feel good to know that people of the opposing party ... felt comfortable and confident enough in me that they came out to support me.”

Tierney has claimed that a Tisei victory would further enable Republicans to pass an agenda he has described as anti-women, anti-Medicare and anti-middle class.

When Tisei claimed he believed in government’s role to protect the needy and would protect programs, Tierney bristled.

“It’s funny to hear that because Mr. Tisei is going to go down (to Washington) to support the exact party who don’t believe in government, wants to shrink government and drown it in the bathtub, and let Medicare wither on the vine,” Tierney said.

Tisei said he was “proud to vote in favor of health care reform in Massachusetts,” but criticized the Affordable Care Act and wants it repealed. The state plan was only a small fraction as long, had no tax hikes — the federal plan has 21 — and kept the existing health system intact, unlike the federal plan, which changes the relationship between doctors and patients, Tisei said.

States should “come up with their own plan,” Tisei said.

Tierney defended the Democrat’s signature health bill, by saying there is no way to make insurers cover pre-existing conditions and eliminate lifetime caps without a mandate for individuals to be insured. He also blasted Tisei, aligning him this time with Mitt Romney, who signed the Massachusetts health law and also wants to repeal the federal law.

“You said Massachusetts was a great model for the nation, it turns out you were right,” Tierney said, turning to Tisei. “Now, like a mini-me Mitt Romney, when the tea party came to power, you turned around and said it wasn’t a good idea for the country.”

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