“Yes, Tim, I had both of them done.”
By all accounts last night’sFlorida Senatorial debate between Sen. Bill Nelson and Rep. Katherine Harris was a draw. But it seems to me that Nelson came out on top on at least two key issues.
[Tim] Russert, the host of NBC’s Meet the Press, also asked both candidates whether they would have voted for a war resolution today, knowing that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction.
Saying ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to war?
Nelson said he would not. Harris would not answer the question, insisting that there would not have been a vote.
Nelson supported giving President Bush the power to wage war, he said, based on information that turned out to be incorrect.
“The word is not mistake; the word is misrepresentation,” Nelson said about what he and other lawmakers had been told. “We were given the wrong information. We were given massaged information.”
Finally, Nelson said, “Today, knowing what we know, it’s a different situation. Of course, I wouldn’t be voting for it.”
Harris, despite repeated prodding from Russert, would not give a yes-or-no answer. Instead, she said, if the U.S. had better information before the war, “there would not have been the political will” to take the issue to a vote.
“I’ll say you abstain,” joked Russert.
Even some audience members sitting in the section for Harris’ supporters laughed when Nelson was asked to respond to Harris’ confusing explanation of a Medicare vote. “I don’t know what she’s talking about,” Nelson said.
When it was clarified that Harris was criticizing his vote against the prescription-drug plan approved for Medicare, Nelson became impassioned for the first time.
“That is an absolutely flawed sellout to pharmaceutical companies . . .,” he said of the plan in which private insurers compete to offer Medicare recipients an often confusing array of prescription-drug policies.
“So you’re proud of that vote?” Russert asked.
“You bet,” Nelson responded.