Texas Governor’s Debate: Davis Dodges Questions With Unfounded Attacks
by Bob Price on October 1, 2014 at 5:19 PM
Once again, Texas Senator Wendy Davis used the Texas gubernatorial debates not to advance her own agenda, but to dodge questions and continue unfounded and disproven attacks on Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott. Davis continued to ignore the moderator when her time had concluded on numerous questions and refused to give specific answers to questions from the panelists.
The second Texas gubernatorial debate was hosted in Dallas and moderated by KERA managing director Shelley Kofler. Questions came from Brian Curtis with NBC 5 in Dallas; Peggy Fikak with the San Antonio Express-News/Houston Chronicle; Norma Garcia with Telemundo39 and Gromer Jeffers with the Dallas Morning News. This was the final debate of this year’s election. A single debate between the candidates for Lt. Governor was held Monday night.
The opening question appropriately came in reference to today’s disclosure of a patient in Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital being diagnosed with the Ebola virus. Both candidates were asked what they would do as Governor to protect the citizens of Texas from this deadly disease. Abbott responded he would do exactly what he did today. He said he spoke with the commissioner of health and human services to find out what the plans were to contain and attack this virus. In contrast, rather than seeking information from a professional in disease control, she instead ran to a politician for advice and information. That politician was Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins.
Both candidates agreed that the time for quarantines is already here. Abbott said that even the ambulance that transported the patient had been quarantined and the emergency personnel who treated the patient were being closely monitored.
When asked about education and how many standardized tests there should be, Davis dodged the question and continued an unfounded claim that Abbott would create new standardized testing for four-year-olds. Abbott repeatedly denied the charge but Davis kept coming back to it without ever revealing her own plans. When she attacked Abbott again on this matter, Abbott suggested to the audience that they visit his website, www.gregabbott.com and read the plan for themselves.
Davis said she supports a plan to issue driver’s permits to people who have illegally entered the country and are currently driving unlicensed and uninsured. Abbott said other states that followed that path had been confronted by legal problems from the federal government based on the Real ID Act. Davis also stated she supports comprehensive immigration reform.
The battle over ethics became a hot item of discussion as Peggy Fikak asked Davis about the issue of her law firm’s involvement in the North Texas Tollway project. Davis briefly said she has always acted in the ethical guidelines of the stae and then blamed Abbott for making charges against her. She immediately went to attacking Abbott about chemical companies and pay-day lenders. Not satisfied with her answer, Fikak returned to the specific question and Davis again refused to answer.
Abbott maintained his calm demeanor throughout the debate while Davis continued unfounded accusations and dodging questions. She also ran over time allotments for answers and at one point continued talking over repeated admonishments from moderator Shelley Kofler.
Davis repeatedly dodged a question from Brian Curtis about the cost of her proposed education plan for Texas. He asked for a specific dollar amount and she would not provide one. Abbott, on the other hand, gave specific answers to the questions and detailed out pre-school programs and total education expenditures planned for the next biennium. Abbott said we must continue to invest in teachers for equipment, training and salaries. He also pointed out that more spending does not equate to more education by comparing the spending levels and results of California and Texas.
Rather than seeing what we have to spend and building a plan, Abbott said we should develop a plan for education reform and then figure out what the plan costs.
Another key difference was illustrated by their approach to ObamaCare and Medicaid expansion. Abbott supported Texas position of rejecting the Medicaid expansion from Washington. Davis seemed to imply she believe that California somehow gets more money if Texas doesn’t take its share. Abbott responded that she was incorrect on this.
Abbott claimed that Davis wants ObamaCare so badly in Texas that she would use executive orders to bring the Medicaid money to Texas. He asked her under what Constitutional authority she would write this executive order. Davis cited federal law, not the Texas Constitution, that gives her that authority but said she would first try and work through the Texas Legislature to get it done.
Both candidates committed to no more toll roads to increase Texas roadways. Both supported ending the diversion of gasoline taxes from building and maintaining roadways.
On gay marriage, Davis said she would support the repeal of Texas marriage protection constitutional amendment. She attacked Abbott for defending the Texas Constitution as he is required by his oath of office to do. Abbott said he believes in traditional marriage and would continue to support the Texas Constitution.
On the question of abortions for women who have been victims of rape or incest, Abbott expressed his belief that all abortion is wrong but acknowledged that Texas law allows women time to make a decision on whether to terminate the life of the baby or not. He cited his record of providing support for Texas women who are victims of rape and violent assaults. He said he as arrested more sexual predators than anyone before him as Attorney General.
Abbott said we should support the health and safety of the mother and child before and after birth.
Davis would not confirm her statement supporting a late term abortion ban and said that a woman should be guided by her faith and doctor to the right decision.
Davis said in-state tuition is good for the economy of Texas and she would veto any attempt to overturn that law. Abbott lamented that while the goal of the law was noble, its implementation has been poor. One of the key provisions of the law that is not enforced is the obligation of the student to pursue a legal immigration status. Abbott said he would not veto a bill overturning Texas’ in-state tuition law.
Davis appeared angry, still and antagonistic throughout the debate. Abbott remained calm and defended his positions smoothly. In an apparent slip, Abbott cited his record “As your Governor.” He later said, “As your next governor” he would continue the Texas growth rate by keeping taxes low and the government out of your lives as much as possible. “Texas is exceptional,” Abbott closed. “I am asking for your vote to make it even better.”
Red State Women issued the following statement in response to tonight's Gubernatorial debate:
"When it comes to the future of Texas, Wendy Davis ducked and dodged questions Texas voters deserve answers to. Instead, Wendy Davis offered education policies with no price tag and health care solutions using Obama-style executive orders. In contrast, Greg Abbott displayed a genuine plan to improve education, health care and transportation without raising taxes on hardworking Texans." - Red State Women Executive Director Cari Christman On Twitter, Abbott supporters reacted strongly in support of their candidate:
Houston Young Republican activist Vlidimir Davidiuk Tweeted, "The #TexasDebates prove @WendyDavisTexas is a blond, female, Texas version of Obama: a pathetically empty, clueless, vacuous paper tiger." Joe Pojman with Texas Alliance for Life Tweeted, "@WendyDavis_TX would not confirm that she supports the ban on late abortion in #HB2."
Conservative political strategist Matt Mackowiak Tweeted, "If relentless, nasty attacks were an Olympic sport, Wendy Davis would be the world record holder and gold medalist." And Lubbock Radio Talk Show Host Chad Hasty Tweeted, "Wendy Davis wouldn't even say she would be okay banning late term abortion. Wow."