Angie Craig And Jason Lewis Debate On Almanac- Full Video And Transcript

Transcript By Susan Maricle, Video By Michael McIntee

For the first time in the campaign the DFL and Republican candidates for Minnesota’s only open congressional seat debated. Angie Craig (DFL) and Jason Lewis (R) along with independent candidate Paula Overby answered questions for about 25 minutes Friday night on public TV’s Almanac program. All three are on the ballot in Minnesota’s second congressional district where incumbent Rep. John Kline (R) is not running this year. Health care, negative campaign ads, Donald Trump, Social Security, climate change, regulation and the US military were all topics for conversation.

Transcript and video
Debate starts at 3:59 into video. Note: Video may not play in all browsers.

CATHY WURZER: Now we call this a debate, but it’s really a conversation. There are no stopwatches, no opening or closing statements, no coin flips, no short straws.

ERIC ESKOLA: Quick word about who we invited to be with us tonight. We usually use polling support to determine who to invite, but in congressional races, there are few public polls. And so, we’ve invited all three candidates whose names appear on the ballot. Here they are, in alphabetical order: Angie Craig is the Democrat in the race, she’s a business executive long involved in the medical industry.

“L” comes after “C,” so Republican Jason Lewis, well known for his years as a talk radio show host; the Independence Party represented tonight by Paula Overby. She’s worked as a quality assurance analyst. Welcome.

Um. Healthcare’s in the news. Ah Mark Dayton and President Clinton have criticized Obamacare. Angie Craig, replace and — repeal and replace? Single payer? Tweak it? What do you want to do?

ANGIE CRAIG: Well, I’ve been saying for months now that we need to fix what’s wrong with the Affordable Care Act. There were many parts that allowed families like the one I came from, I grew up in a house without insurance, a household without insurance, but – I think we have to make improvements to that individual marketplace. There are too many families in the Second Congressional District whose premiums have gone up too much, and my healthcare background will help me inform me to do that. Ah in fact, I think we should start ah by looking at, what are we doing to ah make healthcare more affordable overall? And at the federal level, I think we’ve gotta start with prescription drug prices. I actually managed the private health plan at St. Jude for a number of years, and the cost of pharmaceutical drugs in this country, and the fact that we are not –

ESKOLA: How do you, how do you get

CRAIG: allowing Medicare

ESKOLA: How do you make it affordable?

CRAIG: Yeah, absolutely. Well, you’ve gotta bring the cost of prescription drugs down –


CRAIG: Number one, ah you’ve gotta allow Medicare to negotiate with Part D drug pricing. Medi – pharmaceutical company pricing follows Medicare

ESKOLA: Okay. Negotiate.

CRAIG: And high value healthcare. Mayo. Mayo is a model in this country.

WURZER: Okay. All right.

JASON LEWIS: The the problem with price controls is you’re not gonna get innovation. What we’ve got is 4,000 generic drugs on backlog at the FDA. That’s what we need to streamline so we can get more competition that way. The price controls usually don’t work, so I’m very weary (sic) about that. You know, Angie said, awhile ago, that the Obama Obamacare was a good thing. It needed to be expanded. That was the only thing wrong with it. It didn’t go far enough. Now she’s saying “Well, gosh, you know I want to tinker around the edges

ESKOLA: But but

CRAIG: (unclear)

LEWIS: Look, some of us some of us have been talking about Obamacare for years, and predicted what would happen when you mandate the most expense

ESKOLA: What do you want to do?

LEWIS: coverage.

ESKOLA: What do you want to do?

LEWIS: I’ll tell ya what I want to do. I want to reform the system and remove the mandates, I want to change the tax code, and remember: we had 35 high-risk pools before the Affordable Care Act. One in Minnesota that was very effective, MCHA. Now it’s gone. And those were working great. So now everybody’s forced into a very high-cost Cadillac insurance plan with a community rating that is causing young people to pay exorbitant rates. I – just one more thing.

ESKOLA: Quick.

LEWIS: Ah this is personal to me. I’ve been in the individual market for five years. I’ve gone through three insurers, my premiums have tripled, my copays and deductibles up, along with my premiums. This is a disaster! Mark Dayton is right.

PAULA OVERBY: Well ah I mean what we’re realizing is the problem of doing healthcare for profit. Okay. So the insurance companies, they want the profitable segments. They want the high-margin business. And that’s what they have. Ah they want the taxpayers to pick up the rest of it.

ESKOLA: What do you want to do?

OVERBY: Part of it is transition. So – I definitely want to move towards more of a single-payer system. I mean we have such a huge range of different healthcare services and providers for veterans, Medicare, private, now we’re talking about a public option, ah auto insurance pays a lot of our healthcare, they pay some of the highest premiums – we need to look at that system and look at what how to integrate those and negotiate


OVERBY: cost.

ESKOLA: Folks in the Second District have seen some negative ads, and one of them is from the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee. And it criticizes Angie Craig’s record at ah St. Jude, a medical device company, and her stand on healthcare. Let’s let’s take a look at that and we’ll talk about it after.

(begin commercial)

ANNCR: On Obamacare, Angie Craig’s going big. Pushing to expand Obamacare even further.

CRAIG: “I would fight to expand the Affordable Care Act.”

ANNCR: A big blow to middle-class Minnesotans. Huge premium increases, up to 67% higher. Catastrophic damage. Angie Craig would make it worse. Yet Craig pushed to get her own industry a special exemption from Obamacare taxes. Angie Craig. Big profits for her. A big disaster for us. The NRCC is responsible for the content of this advertising.

(end commercial)

WURZER: Respond to that, Angie Craig.

CRAIG: Absolutely! So I’ll start with the response about the industry. There are a hundred thousand jobs in Minnesota in the medical technology industry. And you better bet I opposed a business tax that was going to cost Minnesota jobs and cost the Minnesota economy jobs. So absolutely I did. And further to that, Jason describes ah the dogma around this issue. Now under the ACA, we don’t pay higher rates as women, we’re allowed to keep our children on our plan until age 26 – he is part of the dogma that wants to simply repeal it has attacked – has attempted to repeal the Affordable Care Act now over 65 times. He’s with Donald Trump on a number of issues, and that’s of course where he is here. Repeal-repeal-repeal with absolutely no plan

WURZER: Are you still going to expand

CRAIG: to act in its place.

WURZER: Jason mentioned, made the comment that you said you want to expand the ACA.

CRAIG: Well if you look

WURZER: You still in that, in that camp?

CRAIG: Yeah! If you listen to that whole interview, what you would see is I said we need to improve the Affordable Care Act. We need to make the individual marketplace more affordable. And so as you expand the risk pool in the individual marketplace, you’re actually going to be able to lower the cost of healthcare.

(Cross talk)

ESKOLA: You described the problem very well, what are you going to do about it?

OVERBY: I’m curious myself how we do that.

LEWIS: Well there are a hundred thousand Minnesotans in outstate Minnesota, that are now gonna be shoved in one plan, with really low benefits. Drug formularies are narrow. This this experiment that some of us predicted is not working.

ESKOLA: What are you gonna do instead?

LEWIS: I want to repeal the onerous mandates, I wanna get a national market, I want more choice and more competition – and I don’t have a problem with premium subsidies. For the downtrodden. Nothing wrong with that. But understand: we had a very effective high-risk pool in Minnesota that this that this act kicked off the radar screen!

CRAIG: And see, this is the

LEWIS: And that that well I mean, Angie – the the

CRAIG: Go ahead.

LEWIS: Premiums are skyrocketing! Sixty-seven percent!


OVERBY: We don’t need lower cost insurance. What we need is lower cost healthcare. And one thing I love about being in CD2 is the fact that we have a really excellent model of localized healthcare delivery called county-based purchasing. Ah in the last legislative session, they nearly eliminated that because of the procurement process that we have. We have HMOs in this in this state, managing our healthcare, that have never been audited.

ESKOLA: Well let’s, let’s

OVERBY: We don’t know how much we’re spending on healthcare.

ESKOLA: Let’s get to another topic. Ah the another of the negative ads that’s that’s turned up is from the Angie Craig campaign. Provocative comments by Jason Lewis is the subject. Let’s let’s take a look at that one.

(commercial begins)

CRAIG: I’m Angie Craig and I approve this message.

LEWIS: I’m gonna say what I believe, and I don’t care who it traumatizes.

LEWIS: Well, y’know, if you don’t want to own a slave, don’t! But don’t tell other people they can’t.

LEWIS: Those women are ignorant. They are simply ignorant of the important issues in life. Somebody’s got to educate them. A vast majority of young single women, who couldn’t explain to you what GDP means, they care about abortion and gay marriage. They care about The View. They are non-thinking. I actually believe this stuff.

(commercial ends)

WURZER: Jason Lewis, you want to respond to that.

LEWIS: Well that’s that’s an interesting ad, it’s a good ad; Angie just said a moment ago on the other ad, “If you would have listened to the whole conversation, why you would have heard me say other things.” And so they take in snippets of 25 years and they placed them together – two television stations, the ABC affiliate, the NBC affiliate, looked at these ads and they said “Look, they’re not only out of context, but they are deliberately misleading.” So my point to everybody watching is, if Angie Craig is willing to mislead you here and now, she’ll mislead you in Congress. I don’t think – and by the way, those ads were paid for by her campaign. The ad you played earlier is an outside (unclear). My ads have stayed on the issues, and have been much more positive. So I don’t believe in this scorched-earth, negative campaigning, 2.7 million dollars’ worth. It doesn’t lower healthcare premiums, it doesn’t flatten the tax code, it doesn’t get GDP moving. I think it’s a horrible distraction, and I don’t think Minnesotans are buying it.

WURZER: What do you think when you see, by the way, Paula, these two arguing back and forth about this, as a third-party candidate?

OVERBY: Well I mean this is fundamentally what’s wrong with our political process. I like to quote ah Truman, back in 1948, he called the 80th Congress the “do-nothing Congress.” Because they only passed 906 bills. Ah our 113th Congress, they passed 296 bills, 50 of ‘em were naming post offices and federal buildings. Our Congress is getting absolutely nothing done. And this is why. What are we arguing about? We’re arguing about ah – well, look at our presidential debate. It’s become a battle of the sexes. We’re not hearing anything about what needs to be done.

WURZER: (unclear)

LEWIS: I certainly agree with that, and we ought to stay on issues.

CRAIG: Well, under what context is it ever okay, Jason, to talk about women in this way? You called over half the population ignorant and nonthinking. You talked about one of the most painful, darkest periods of American history ah in such an inappropriate way, and of course what you really were talking about (LEWIS laughs) is you were comparing marriage equality ah to as immoral as slavery. That’s what you were really


CRAIG: That’s what you really meant. And that’s what you said. And I —

LEWIS: No, I was arguing against the Hodges decision. If you listen to the whole conversation – look, I’ll I’ll be the first to admit, I was paid to be provocative on the radio. Did my job well. Angie, you were paid to look after vets, seniors and kids, and you put profits ahead of patients. You had to settle with the Department of Justice over overcharging vets and the VA for 3.65 million dollars. You had to settle with the DOJ for 16 million dollars in physician kickbacks at your old company. So if we’re gonna examine careers, we need to examine everybody’s career.

CRAIG: I think that —

LEWIS: And you have a lot to answer for there.

CRAIG: I think we should. In fact, I was the head of corporate communications and global HR, so if you wanna pin all those things on me – ah go right ahead, but

LEWIS: No what is “helping lead from the boardroom” in your ads?


LEWIS: You say you’re helping to lead from the boardroom. Now if you’re on the board, you have a fiduciary responsibility to shareholders, and to run the company. So


LEWIS: were you helping to lead from the boardroom or not?

CRAIG: Well – you actually don’t know how board works,

LEWIS: (unclear)

CRAIG: and how business works,

LEWIS: Oh really.

CRAIG: — if you’re even asking me that question.

LEWIS: Really? Okay.

CRAIG: Because I went into the board and reported on corporate communications and global HR activities. And that’s what I did. Certainly ah y’know, any time a medical device fails – it’s an absolute tragedy.



OVERBY: I’m still curious to know what we’re getting out of this conversation.

LEWIS: That’s a good question.

OVERBY: And I certainly don’t feel like I’m part of this conversation. (laughs)

WURZER: Well, you did bring up the presidential debate, Paula Overby, and I’m I’m curious. Are you supporting Donald Trump, Jason Lewis?

LEWIS: Look ah he was not the my first candidate, ah I didn’t endorse him, I don’t

ESKOLA: Who was your first candidate?

LEWIS: I didn’t actually endorse anybody, but I liked Rand Paul. A lot.


LEWIS: But but look. I don’t approve of the things he says, but I’ll be honest with you: after this week of Wikileaks dumps, where you’ve got somebody trading diplomacy for cash, I am unwilling to turn this country back to the Clinton machine.

CRAIG: Well I’d like to say something about that, because how many women have to come out alleging sexual assault against Donald Trump before you would be willing to follow

LEWIS: About the same number that came out against Bill Clinton.

CRAIG: to follow your values? To follow your values instead of partisan politics in this country? I actually fully believe that Jason, we have to look at each of our careers, for sure. So you spent the last 25 years on talk radio, right-wing radio, and frankly I believe that you helped create the Freedom Caucus. That helped create the Tea Party, helped create the rise of Donald Trump, and now you are standing with him.

LEWIS: Angie, you you just got the endorsement from the Progressive Caucus. The most radically left group in Congress, of 70 members, Keith Ellison, Bernie Sanders, and when you got that endorsement, you said you were humbled and gratified. Now, excuse me, the Progressive Caucus wants 6.6 trillion in new taxes, they want a carbon tax which will devastate energy, and the Pine Bend refinery in our district – ah when you talk about radical caucuses, you need to talk about the Progressive Caucus and why you took their endorsement. The Freedom Caucus never endorsed me! But the Progressive Caucus endorsed you.

OVERBY: Well that —

ESKOLA: You want to carve another path here?

OVERBY: Yeah! That’s what I would say.

ESKOLA: Go ahead.

OVERBY: I mean that’s probably what this thing which is our campaign: is that we’re funded by individual donations. We’re not funded by superPACs and corporations. Ah – that’s a major part of what’s happening with our political process. Candidates aren’t even running our process anymore. It’s all ah indirect spending – ah

WURZER: What –

OVERBY: People have heard of Citizens United. I don’t think that people have even heard of

WURZER: I’m going to go, I was talking about – an issue. How’s that? (all laugh) Let’s lets, we’re gonna go into this this area now, there’s a looming retirement crisis, we all know that, there’s like what, 74 million baby boomers retiring, ah Social Security’s not in great shape, a lot of people are retiring with very little in savings. Ah and I’m curious, from where you all stand, how does Social Security need to be shored up? Are there other ways maybe to help people prepare for retirement? Jason Lewis, start with you.

LEWIS: Well, we’ve got about a 200 billion dollar deficit. And in roughly 18 years, if we do nothing, benefits will be cut by 21%. So we’ve got to have a bipartisan solution to preserve this vital program. And we have to work together, across the aisle, with everybody in on it. Ah I I will not support, or I don’t I’d rather not support, it depends what the compromise looks like, ah a means testing. Because once you mean, even FDR understood, if you means test Social Security, you pull the rug out from under its support. It becomes a means-tested program and there’s less support there. So I don’t think that’s the way to go. But I think both parties need to get together and actually work together on this.

WURZER: Angie Craig.

CRAIG: Jason – you’ve said out loud through the course of this campaign that you would support undoing Medicare, and your proposals would actually ah virtually eliminate Social Security.

LEWIS: (laughs)

CRAIG: So I don’t know how in the world you’re sitting here today talking about this.


CRAIG: I believe we have to protect, as a matter of priority, access to Social Security and Medicare for our citizens. We have 19 years left in the Social Security trust fund, absolutely, and we do need to come together to find some bipartisan ways

WURZER: But what’s the solution?

(Cross talk)

OVERBY: This is a classic classic example of political polarization, and how they argue back and forth. I we definitely need to fix Social Security. We need to fund the Social Security trust fund. Ah y’know even past 2034, there’ll be 75% benefits, this is an issue that’s used to polarize the voters and the pol and Congress needs to get together on this and I agree with Jason, and fix it.

WURZER: Y’know – and I’ve heard politicians over the years, in my many years of doing this, say “We need to fix the system.” But what is the fix?

CRAIG: Well that’s the whole point, is we’ve stopped looking for fixes. Ah it’s the “repeal the Affordable Care Act” dogma that persists in Washington today. My entire career has been spent building bridges across the aisle

WURZER: How would you fix Social Security?

CRAIG: and across business. So with Social Security, I think we need a bipartisan task force. Just like we had in 1983, the last time we needed to find a a solution to sustaining Social Security. What I would never do is support something that would undo Medicare and privatize Medicare or ah make Social Security unsustainable anymore.

WURZER: A bipartisan solution you were talking about, Jason Lewis.

LEWIS: Yeah, I think everything has to

WURZER: What would it look like?

LEWIS: Everything has to be on the table. Let’s be honest here. Ah you know what happens: one party puts out a proposal, the other party holds back and they rip that proposal to shreds. So they say “I’m never gonna put out a proposal.” So you’re gonna have to have a bipartisan proposal with everything on the table.

Now, to to my opponent’s point about undoing Medicare – all I offered for Medicare was the same thing you’re defending with the Affordable Care Act. Premium subsidies! If they’re good enough for the ACA, which you’re still defending tonight, after Bill Clinton called it “the craziest thing in the world,” after Mark Dayton says “It’s not working,” and you’re here saying “Oh, gosh, we can’t repeal the Affordable Care Act.” I think a lot of Minnesotans are gonna disagree with you on that.

CRAIG: Well, I have said we need to fix it. But that’s the problem. You wanna throw the whole thing

LEWIS: You said we need to expand it.

CRAIG: the whole thing out. I said we need to expand access to the individual marketplace, Jason.

LEWIS: Okay.

CRAIG: And that means we’ve gotta make it more affordable.

WURZER: How about

OVERBY: But what happened to Social Security?

ESKOLA: Say again.

OVERBY: What happened to Social Security?

LEWIS: We’re all ears, Paula.

OVERBY: Well I I’m saying you know we need to fund the trust — trust fund, the Social Security trust fund. So that it’s fully funded. Okay. We we have accurate projec projections; ah we know how much money we need in that trust fund to sustain benefits past 2034; there’s a lot of different ways we could consider doing that. Now we’re talking about the economy, right? How do we take money from some other area of the budget and fund the Social Security trust fund and be done with that issue? Okay. There’s a number of ways we can do that. Let’s hear your answers.

(LEWIS laughs)

ESKOLA: I think that we’ve discussed it enough. Go to your, go to your Web sites. (OVERBY laughs)

ESKOLA: Climate change.

OVERBY: But they haven’t given us any solutions yet. (laughs)

ESKOLA: What do you want to do about climate change? (OVERBY continues laughing)

CRAIG: Well, I I think we need an energy policy that also addresses the impact of climate change in this country. I’ve spent a lot of time

ESKOLA: What would it, what would it, what would it entail?

CRAIG: So I you know I support a move toward renewable energy as a matter of of focus for our economies, I think we have to have an energy mix that includes all of the above, but I think we have to prioritize renewable energy. If we don’t, a country

ESKOLA: A subsidy? Would subsidies

CRAIG: China, no, we’ve got we’ve gotta promote renewable energy in this country. That means, just as today, tax credits for companies that are investing in renewable energy. The problem with Jason’s approach to energy is that he is a climate change denier. He denies the experts at the World Health Organization and other organizations, 97% of scientists who say this is a real issue for us. I think we have to tackle climate change, and I don’t think it has to be a burden to our economy. I think we can do both.


WURZER: Jason, there are symptoms of climate change, signals of climate change.

LEWIS: Well I think that’s why my opponent supports the Clean Power Plan. Ah, the Clean Power Plan, which is a tap and — cap and trade – cap and tax system that came out of the Oval Office that even the Supreme Court couldn’t stomach, had to put a stay on it, “Mr. President, you can’t write law from the Oval Office,” he has a pattern of doing this, with amnesty and Arctic drilling and now this, that’s about a 500 billion dollar tax on fossil fuel and energy. And energy in the Second District is crucial. We have the, we have Minnesota’s largest refinery in the Second District. It provides most of the aviation fuel to MSP, and many other things. Plastics, cosmetics, asphalt, rubber, you name it. We simply can’t say, “Oh, we’re just gonna move to renewables.” Now I’m for all of the above as well, but I’m not gonna saddle the economy with a 500 billion dollar cap and tax scheme

WURZER: Do you

LEWIS: even though Angie’s y’know supporters at the Sierra Club seem to think that’s the way to go. I don’t.

WURZER: Do you see climate change as a threat to our environment and to the health of our people?

LEWIS: Y’know, all of this is a cost/benefit analysis. It really is. You take a look at the risk and you say, “Can you afford to shut the economy down?” We’re growing at a whopping 1% in the Obama era. We haven’t hit 3%, the lowest in post–World War II history. And now we’re gonna saddle on a massive tax on energy? Um you have to look at that cost, and then you have to look at the benefit. Is 500 billion dollars worth a half a degree Celsius over the next 100 years? I’m not certain; I’d have to take a closer look at that. Certainly right now I don’t support the Clean Power Plan.

OVERBY: I’m I’m a

LEWIS: And neither does the Supreme Court.

OVERBY: I’m a quality analyst, and I think in terms of risk management, and that’s kind of where we’re at right now in terms of severe weather. Ah climate change, severe weather events, ah different ways of approaching the issue, and defining it, but that’s where we’re at. We need to start looking at how do we mitigate these consequences of what we’ve already done.

LEWIS: Let me add one quick thing

OVERBY: I I agree with that

LEWIS: Warren Buffett was asked last year: “You’re in the insurance business. Have you seen greater claims or calamities in your business,” he says, “according to climate change and hurricanes and things?” He says, “No, actually I haven’t seen any evidence of that.”

WURZER: So you’re saying, do you you do you agree, then, that that you don’t see that

LEWIS: Oh no,

OVERBY: You’re saying that, but you’re saying we’re not there yet.

LEWIS: absolutely I agree with you.

OVERBY: Weather events? Is that what you’re

LEWIS: I just don’t know how much man man has contributed to it.

ESKOLA: We’ve had the Wells Fargo – I don’t know if it’s a scandal, but situation where they had dummy accounts and there was demands from on high for sales quotas and so forth, and it caused some people to to misbehave. Ah how much regulation is enough, and how much is too much?

CRAIG: Well I worked under the regulation of the Food and Drug Administration for the last 22 years, and I think it has to be a balance. What we typically see in any scandal, you called it that, um is the pendulum swings too far, one way or the other, and so I think we’ve gotta take a balanced approach. And make sure that ah small businesses and organizations are still able to do what they need to do, and create jobs. And – y’know, that’s the big thing. Ah we we can’t let overregulation um disrupt our economies. I think economic growth and developing jobs and making sure that we’ve got ah the workforce here in our regional economy, ah to tackle those jobs, is extremely critical here

ESKOLA: What’s your regulation level

CRAIG: in the 21st Century.

ESKOLA: tolerance?

LEWIS: Well, we are overregulating. The Federal Register now has 82,000 pages, the most since 1936. Competitive Enterprise Institute says it costs the economy 1.9 trillion dollars! Ah it’s a real crisis. I’ve talked to ranchers and farmers in the Second District, and the Water of USA rule, is turning ordinary plowing into a clean water violation where the Army Corps comes in and starts threatening fines!

But ah the other issue here is, who’s doing the regulating? If you’ve got a statutory construct, if you’ve got statutory authority and there’s a great debate and people have a say in it, that’s one thing. But if the regulations are coming from unelected bureaucrats at federal agencies – which they are – that’s quite another. And it’s a real danger to separation of powers, I believe.

WURZER: Y’know I want to move on to another subject.

OVERBY: Well –

WURZER: What’s your philosophy

OVERBY: what I mean, there are some fundamental changes that we need in our banking industry, and in our healthcare industry. You know one of the worst things we did was associate insurance and HMOs. We’ve done the same thing in banking, when we insert investments and banking. Those things should be separate and they should be clearly separate.

WURZER: How long

OVERBY: I mean, we we should have learned that lesson in the subprime mortgage crisis

CRAIG: Ah the problem

OVERBY: in 2008.

CRAIG: And you’re right, Paula, and the problem is, y’know, Jason wants to get rid of all regulation on business, and we saw what happened in 2007 with the recession; and today, I think we’re seeing from the pharmaceutical industry, the result of a lack of regulation.

WURZER: I’d be remiss if I didn’t get this question in. Paula, I’m gonna start with you first, Paula Overby. What’s your philosophy around the use of military might in the world?

OVERBY: I think we’re definitely exceeding ah our limits. Ah certainly from a cost perspective, we’re definitely exceeding our limits. Ah our strategies are not working. We’ve been following these same strategies for three or four decades now. Ah started kinda pretty much with ah the Reagan Doctrine, back in the eighties. We armed Iraq. They were the fourth largest army in the world! And then they invaded Kuwait, and so we disarmed them. Ah that policy has been repeating itself over and over again; we armed the Taliban against the Russians in Afghanistan, then we were fighting against the Taliban in Afghanistan. We need a clear change of direction in our public policy.

WURZER: Jason Lewis.

LEWIS: Well I I think that’s a great point. Ah I happen to be with Ike. I like Ike on this. I’d be very wary of using military power abroad. You need to be strong, but you have to be discreet where you use it, because you have unintended consequences. Regardless of the issues abroad, though, there’s one thing we can do that has the best chance of keeping us safe here, and that’s control who gets in the country and who doesn’t. Hillary Clinton now, we know, from these Wikileaks emails, wants open borders. When Angie said she was going to run for Congress, she said she wanted to completely fund the president’s unconstitutional amnesty order. DACA and DAPA. We have got to get control of these borders. No parent should wake up on a Sunday morning, like my wife Leigh and I did, from our daughter in St. Cloud, and get a text saying, “Mom and Dad, I’m OK.” That should not be happening in Minnesota.

CRAIG: I think we have to have a strong and a strategic approach to our military. And so, I would support full military spending; one of the issues that I know ah Congressman Kline had with Jason Lewis, when he was running in the primary, is that he has called for defense cuts, and that the sequester didn’t go far enough in terms of cutting defense. So, I think with respect, we we have to stay in. Ah in Syria, in Iraq, we have to continue to make certain that we’re taking back those territories. And I think that we’ve gotta make sure we’re fully funding Homeland Security. Because ah what Jason talks about

LEWIS: This this

CRAIG: These homegrown terrorist threats that we have – ah we’re not gonna solve those by just sort of erasing our

LEWIS: Angie,

CRAIG: leadership in the world.

LEWIS: I know the liberal answer to every problem is more spending, but that’s not the problem. It’s priorities here. Of closing the border. Outreach programs are great. The budget sequestration cut less than 2-1/2% from the federal budget. There’s probably 2-1/2% waste in every department here! So let’s get real on the priorities, and secure the state and the country.

OVERBY: Let’s talk about priorities!

ESKOLA: Anybody in our Congressional delegation you want to model your career after?

OVERBY: In our Con Congressional delegation?

ESKOLA: Yeah. In our Minnesota Congressional delegation. Anybody you particularly like?

OVERBY: Ahhh….yeah, I I like Tim Nolan ah up in the Eighth. (to self) Tim Nolan, geez. (laughs) Ah Nolan.

ESKOLA: Congressman Nolan.


ESKOLA: All right. (motions to LEWIS)

LEWIS: (laughs) Well, I mean look, I think John Kline did a great job in the Second District. And before he was a congressman, he did a great job. And he did a great job because he saw somebody across the aisle that could move the needle towards the direction he wanted to work with, or go towards, he worked with that person. Senator Ron Wyden from Oregon, a very liberal Democrat, had some great amendments on the Affordable Care Act, I would love to work with that and pursue that.

CRAIG: Yeah, I’ve been really honored and humbled to have Senator Klobuchar serve as a mentor throughout this process to me. And so if there’s anyone I’d like to model my leadership in the House and serve as her sister in Congress, it would be Senator Amy Klobuchar.

ESKOLA: Excellent. Thanks for joining us, we’ve run out of time, wish we had more, but good luck on November 8th. Thanks!

OVERBY: Thank you.

ESKOLA: You bet. 

Thank you to AFSCME Council 5 for sponsoring our debate coverage
Thank you to AFSCME Council 5 for sponsoring our debate coverage

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