The other candidates were incumbent Congressmen Leonard Boswell, a Democrat, and Tom Latham, a Republican. The fourth was Scott Batcher, a self-described independent Republican.
The debate began with a question on the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Boswell said he supports the law with “a little tweaking.” Latham and Batcher support repeal. “Draconian cuts coming to providers will dramatically effect costs to seniors,” said Latham, who also said the plan is too costly.
“With both Obamacare and the program the Republicans are putting forward, working people will pay the price,” Rosenfeld said. “We need health care, not health insurance. As long as health care is bought and sold as a commodity those that don’t have money will get the short end of the stick.”
Rosenfeld described health care in Cuba as a model where “a person walks into a clinic and gets care, no insurance card and no money change hands. That’s what we need here. Health care should be approached as a human right.”
When the debate turned to jobs and the economy Rosenfeld, who spoke first, said, “Jobs is the question out of every politician’s mouth. But what is striking about it is that none of them— Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, my opponents in this race—offer a plan of putting people back to work. We have 17 million unemployed. What we need is a fight against this capitalist government, a fight to force the government to put tens of millions to work. There are tremendous social needs when we talk about the infrastructure: roads, schools, bridges, child care. It’s through a fight like this that working people will get confidence in ourselves, in our worth and our collective power.”
“We need to activate Made in America,” said Boswell, who claimed economic improvement and “steady growth” under the Obama administration.
Batcher called for “incentives to businesses that bring their work back to the U.S.”
Latham said “the problem is the regulatory burden put on businesses today and the uncertainties on the taxes.”
When the discussion turned to abortion, Latham said, “I will always be pro-life, I have a 100 percent pro-life voting record.”
“I’m 100 percent in favor of a woman’s right to choose,” Rosenfeld responded. “Without the right to control reproduction, women cannot achieve full social equality.” He said since the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion in this country, there’s been a nonstop attack on that right, eroding it year after year after year. “Any idea that putting your faith in a so-called ‘friend-of-women politician’ has been shown to be in error.”
The moderator asked what needs to be done to restore compromise and bipartisanship in the federal government. Batcher called for throwing all the incumbents out to start with a clean slate. Boswell said that members of Congress must work together to bring down the federal deficit by enacting budget cuts and “efficiencies.” Latham said bipartisanship has improved under the Republican-controlled House.
Rosenfeld rejected the premise of the question. “In fact, I think it’s better when this government has trouble working with itself,” he said. “The only reaction they have to the economic crisis we face is to continue to batter down the rights and living standards of working people, and to try to desperately put off an economic collapse. Why would I want a government that could do that better?”
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