The best question came at the very end. A moderator asked the three contenders for the Louisiana Senate seat Tuesday night to rate, on a scale of one to ten, President Obama and Governor Bobby Jindal (R). Dr. Bill Cassidy (R) gave the president a “zero” and Gov. Jindal a “seven,” Retired Colonel Rob Maness (R) gave the president a “zero” and Jindal a “five,” while incumbent Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) gave Gov. Jindal a “three” and was a little easier on the president, giving him a “six to seven.”
I give the question a ten. Not only did it allow Cassidy and Maness to boldly challenge the president, it proved just how much Landrieu is willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. After all, she does vote with him 97 percent of the time.
In addition to their rating of the president, the candidates vastly differed on policy. Here were just a few of the most significant topics they discussed.
Landrieu: “I support the airstrikes against ISIS and believe all presidents should have the authority to act when they believe America is in danger...I think I would stop short at this point for boots on the ground.”
Cassidy: “The president has not presented a strategy. I support this plan because it’s the only plan out there...I don’t trust this president. I think he’s a very poor Commander-in-Chief.”
Maness: “The president has overstepped his authority...A declaration of war needs to be satisfied or not and we need to figure out how to pay for this war because we can’t continue to put these things on a credit card...I would authorize ground troops if the president could satisfy all those questions and address the exit strategy.”
Landrieu: “We have to keep [Obamacare] and not under any circumstance repeal it.”
Landrieu once again admitted the Affordable Care Act is not perfect, yet insisted it could be fixed with something like the Copper Plan, which would raise additional subsidies, and allow insurance agents to sell.
“When a bureaucrat has the power it lines up to serve the bureaucrat.”
Maness: “We need to pull Obamacare out by the roots.”
Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission confirmed that the government cannot restrict independent expenditures from non profit organizations in political campaigns. Naturally, this ruling causes some controversy come election time.
Landrieu: “The richer you are, the louder you get to speak...I would overturn Citizens United.”
Landrieu criticized Cassidy and the Koch Brothers for using millions of dollars to air “misleading” ads.
Cassidy: The GOP challenger hit back by pointing out Harry Reid and Michael Bloomberg have contributed millions to Landrieu’s campaign and were outspending Cassidy’s campaign by 5 to 1 before Labor Day.
“Mayor Bloomberg likes Landrieu because she agrees to restrictions to Second Amendment rights.”
Maness: Supports Citizens United as it stands.
Cassidy: “Under this president, pay inequality has increased.”
The doctor explained how, under Obamacare, low income workers have seen their hours reduced and employers have downgraded full-time jobs to part-time jobs to avoid having to pay for their employees’ health insurance.
“If we want to do something about income equality, we need to repeal Obamacare.”
Maness: The colonel does not support raising the minimum wage and said that the real issue comes from not fully enforcing the Equal Pay Act.
Landrieu: The senator supports raising the minimum wage.
“The federal government has a role to equalize opportunity.”
Maness believes the federal government has no role in education and the Department of Education at the federal level should be gutted.
“My daughter’s dyslexic. If there’s a one-size-fits-all tactic, it wouldn’t fit my daughter. The federal government should not force Common Core upon states...He who governs best is the one who governs closest to the child.”
In other words: Parents, not the federal government, should have the final say in their children’s education.
Our latest polltracker results have Cassidy ahead by five points: