NC SEN: Hagan Struggles With Obama Baggage, Tillis A Little Shaky On Equal Pay

Matt Vespa
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Posted: Oct 08, 2014 4:00 PM
NC SEN: Hagan Struggles With Obama Baggage, Tillis A Little Shaky On Equal Pay

Last night, Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan duked it out with Republican Thom Tillis duked it out again in a debate hosted by ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos. It was the same as first bout between the two sides in this race. ISIS, immigration, health care, and common core were some of the main issues debated between Tillis ad Hagan, but Tillis seemed more prepared this time.

Hagan’s opening salvo slammed Tillis for putting the wealthy and big corporations first, gutting education, and dividing the state. Tillis went after Hagan again for being too close to the Obama administration.

On the issue of ISIS, Stephanopoulos asked Hagan if she supports Obama’s policy in dealing with this terrorist group and will it succeed. She said that the ISIS members are terrorists, they’ve attacked Americans, and our mission should be to eradicate these terrorists. Additionally, she said she supports airstrikes to take out weapons caches, ISIS training grounds, and arming and training the moderate Syrian rebels–and that all of this should be be done through a broad coalition; she hit Tillis for waffling and being “spineless” on these national security issues. And there’s the question?

What other policies does Hagan support and does she regret any votes she made in support of Obama’s policies? She has voted with the president 96 percent of the time. I’m guessing that Tillis’ folks saw the Elon poll that showed Obama is more of a liability for Hagan than Gov. McCrory is for Tillis. It’s an interesting fact since out of all the states Romney won in 2012; Obama’s approval rating was one of the highest in North Carolina.

One could conclude that the “Hagan=Obama” attacks had a ceiling, but Elon noted that her favorability dropped when Democrats, Republicans, and independents saw a photo with her and the president. Yet, this poll was comprised of registered voters, a sample of likely voters would have been more accurate.

Nevertheless, Hagan had a difficult time answering if Obama’s policies were on the ballot; she can thank the leader of her party who said last week, “Make no mistake: these policies are on the ballot. Every single one of them.” This was something the Hagan camp didn’t want going into what could be the final debate in this election between the senator and Tillis.

Even Time magazine noticed the Hagan-Obama baggage:

“A vote for Senator Hagan is a vote for President Obama’s failed policies,” Tillis said. With the trap set, Sen. Kay Hagan seemed to stumble into it. Asked to name an instance where she regretted a Congressional vote, after Tillis noted the Democrat has voted with Obama “96% of the time,” Hagan failed to come up with one. Tillis said this was proof that she was “proud” of voting with the President.

Back in January, Hagan ducked a question on whether Obama would hurt her chances of reelection.

On the other hand, Mr. Tillis encountered some trouble regarding Hagan’s questions over equal pay legislation. He said it’s best to enforce the current laws we have now that prevent gender-based wage discrimination, like the Equal Pay Act, instead of passing new regulations that will burden businesses. He also cited his working mother and grandmother, adding he knew his grandmother was being discriminated against when she had to work during the Depression era–and how that’s wrong. He also said his daughter, who is about to start nursing school, better be paid the same as a man with the same skill set in this field.

At least in theory, both Tillis and Hagan agree that women deserve equal pay for equal work.

Hagan said that that the Equal Pay Act hasn’t passed. Uh, actually it did; back in 1963. President Kennedy signed it into law.

While Hagan has a slight lead over Tillis, remaining “afloat” meant some serious cash needed to be injected into this race. So, while Democrats can see Hagan as holding the line, it’s also come at a considerable price.

Addendum: Big takeaway story from last night's debate was that Hagan admitted to skipping out on an Armed Services committee hearing to go fundraise.