Perry hammered over toll roads in first gubernatorial debate

Vote for who YOU think won last night’s Republican Gubernatorial debate here.

In the first Texas Republican gubernatorial debate last night, Rick Perry self-destructed. He took a beating from his two opponents and was completely unprepared for meaningful policy discussion. He showed NO VISION for what he plans to do for the next 4 years and simply repeated what one viewer called a “recorded message” that “Texas is great” about 2 dozen times, acting more like a yell leader than an experienced policy maker.

When your opponents point out multiple failings of your administration as well as one’s untruthfulness, like the number of jobs lost on Perry’s watch and proving his claim of cutting taxes and spending were false, he gave no answers other than Texas is great.
Both Kay Bailey Hutchison and Debra Medina slammed Perry for his mismanagement of TxDOT, particularly its $1.1 billion “accounting error” for which no one was fired, the Trans Texas Corridor, and his veto of the strongest eminent domain bill to pass the legislature.

But Hutchison made transportation and Perry’s push for unwanted toll roads front and center and right off the bat said one of the federal programs she’d pull Texas out of is the federal highway program that has shorted Texas it’s fair share habitually since its inception. Hutchison brought Texas up from getting back 76 cents of every gas tax dollar sent to D.C. to 92 cents, but she says that’s still not enough.

She emphasized that she doesn’t want tolls all over Texas in her closing statement. Though her transportation plan released a few weeks ago would reduce the number of toll roads hitting Texas, make strides in reforming TxDOT, and would require a public vote on toll projects, she still supports managed lane projects that toll portions of existing right of way (though not tolling existing lanes) as well as controversial public private partnerships that sell our Texas highways to foreign companies. Two areas that make her vulnerable to Medina, who many at a debate watching event in San Antonio feel ran away with the debate and demonstrated she’s a force to be reckoned with.

The real self-destruct moments came when Perry couldn’t make a cogent defense of his veto of the eminent domain bill and when he claimed ignorance to a controversial end of life bill that passed while he presided over the senate that mandates medical personal pull the plug on patients who are still conscious and whose families still want to pay for care. The audience member who asked the question said it’s the worst end of life law in the country. Perry’s strongest supporters to date have been from the pro-life community, and Perry not only allowed the bill to come through the senate when he as the senate’s presiding officer had the power to stop it, he failed to repeal or address it in 9 years as Governor. This could really hurt Perry with his base.

Voices raised during 3-way GOP debate
By R.G. Ratcliffe and Peggy Fikac – Express-News
Web Posted: 01/14/2010

DENTON – Gov. Rick Perry and U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison clashed repeatedly in the first Republican gubernatorial debate, speaking over one another and all but calling the other a liar.

Activist Debra Medina pushed for a place apart, describing Perry and Hutchison as politicians who embrace big government solutions to Texas’ problems.

After one overlapping exchange of sniping between Hutchison and Perry, Medina expressed frustration, declaring, “This squabbling isn’t getting us anywhere.”

The debate was a key encounter between the candidates leading to the March 2 primary. Only one other debate currently is scheduled for the Republicans.

Perry as the incumbent was the candidate to beat going into the debate, and he repeatedly showed he was willing to take the contest to his two challengers. Hutchison and Medina would not let him back them down.

Hutchison went after Perry’s veracity time and again, while Perry painted Hutchison as out of touch from her years in Washington.

Read the rest of the story here.

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