WICHITA, Kansas – Todd Tiahrt was a U.S. Congressman. He wants his old seat back from current Congressman Mike Pompeo.
Both candidates came out firing at their first debate this week. It was sponsored by the Wichita Crime Commission.
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“He’s spent a lot of time trying to attack me. Tear me down, trying to say things, frankly, which aren’t true about me,” said Mike Pompeo after the debate. “I’m focused on Kansans. I’m focused on things that matter to our lives.”
“He’s been educated in how to debate. I’m just a country boy,” said Tiahrt. “I work for a living. But I’m sure he tried to manipulate the debate. And I think I got my points across.”
Both went after the other, on their records while in office. Both also went after the Affordable Care Act and President Obama.
“One definition of lunacy is doing the same thing over and over again,” said Tiahrt. “I think we need to start de-funding parts of Obamacare.”
“Our health care system had problems long before Obamacare,” said Pompeo. “But Obamacare went in the wrong direction.”
Both candidates got questions “picked from the audience” that included a very “Republican” crowd. This is, after all, the primary. The winner of the primary stands will move on to the general election in November.
With a largely Republican crowd in the room for the debate, both presented their views on why they appear to be the more conservative candidate.
Both say they will cut government spending. Both say they will work to stop Obamacare. Both say they want smaller Government.
But, there were differences in the approach to the debate. Tiahrt went after issues on the NSA and spying.
“He (Pompeo) continues to support the NSA continually listening to our phone calls. Reading our emails. Reading our text messages,” said Tiahrt. “As lately as June 24th he voted against common sense limits of NSA spying on us.”
“The Patriot Act was created after 911. Tiahrt voted for it,” said Pompeo. “This program did not change one inch since Mr. Tiahrt was in office. I offered an amendment to the Patriot Act…”
Will there be another debate? Tiahrt says one debate has been cancelled because of differences.
“So he’s making unreasonable demands,” claims Tiahrt. “They’ve had to cancel the WSU debate. I agreed to it immediately without any stipulations. But his stipulations were so severe, that WSU had to cancel it. Now we are in negotiations. Maybe we can satisfy that.”
Tiahrt says he is okay with another debate, and says the Pompeo camp did not want any notebooks at the proposed WSU debate. Pompeo says he will debate again.
“Of course,” says Pompeo. “We are not saying no. We will debate. I welcome… publicly pointing out the differences… between Mr. Tiahrt and myself.”
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