Massachusetts Congressional candidates tangled in a raucous debate on Wednesday, with boos, shouts, insults and jeers raining down on them from a riled-up crowd.
Rep. John Tierney, a Democrat fighting to keep his 6th Congressional District seat, sparred with Republican challenger Richard Tisei as the moderator strained to control the sometimes angry crowd, the Gloucester Daily Times reported.
“I am disappointed the tone has turned out to be what it is. I have always run positive campaigns, and everything I am responsible for I have tried to be positive,” Tisei said. “Some of the ads Tierney has run are over-the-top.
"I must be the only person in the country who is pro-gay marriage, pro-choice, who did not sign the Grover Norquist tax pledge to be attacked and labeled an extremist. ... It speaks more about the congressman’s credibility than mine.”
Tierney, an eight-term incumbent, trails Tisei in the polls. Massachusetts hasn't had a Republican in the House since the 1990s and Democrats have been caught by surprise over Tisei’s strength. The Democratic Party has tried to paint Tisei, an openly gay former state legislator, as a right-wing extremist in ads.
In the debate, Tierney said, according to the Daily Times, “Let’s be perfectly clear on one thing: Richard Tisei is responsible for all of the ads of the Young Guns and the right-wing extremists…You wouldn’t because you know you went down to Washington and asked them to run strategy for your campaign and took $3 million of their money to run the sleaziest and misleading advertising campaigns.”
At another point, Tierney said, “In order not to talk about that issue, you went out and attacked my wife and her family as a way to get to me,” Tierney said. “If the issues were discussed, people would know you stood with the extremist Republican party.”
Tisei retorted: “What you just heard from Congressman Tierney is exactly what the problem in this country is. He is the most partisan Democrat in the entire country,” he said, according to the Daily Times.
Turning to healthcare, Tisei said he was “proud to vote in favor of health care reform in Massachusetts,” but criticized Obamacare, saying states should “come up with their own plan.”
“You said Massachusetts was a great model for the nation, it turns out you were right,” Tierney said, speaking to Tisei. “Now, like a mini-me Mitt Romney, when the tea party came to power, you turned around and said it wasn’t a good idea for the country.”
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