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Republican Senate hopeful John Boozman said Arkansas “can’t afford” Blanche Lincoln anymore, while the Democratic incumbent accused Boozman of putting politics above the state’s needs as the two debated on Friday for the first time in their election matchup.

Boozman and Lincoln sparred over Social Security, taxes and earmarks during the debate hosted by Talk Business and Little Rock television station KLRT. Lincoln, who is seeking a third term, is trailing Boozman in most polls and is considered one of the most vulnerable incumbents seeking re-election.

“Sen. Lincoln is a good friend and I admire her, yet we can’t afford her anymore,” Boozman, a congressman representing northwest Arkansas, said.

Lincoln criticized Boozman for supporting House Republicans’ moratorium on earmarks and said that his opposition to money for local projects is harming his congressional district.

“The fact is he signed with his party above his state and his district,” Lincoln said.

The two disagreed over the tax cuts that were instituted under former President George W. Bush, with Lincoln calling for extending the cuts for low to moderate income taxpayers. Lincoln, however, said that extending the tax cuts for the wealthy should only be done if it can be paid for.

“The ultrawealthy, I do not think should receive that tax cut unless it is paid for in a responsible way, and that’s an important thing we have to do,” Lincoln said.

Boozman he supports extending all of the tax cuts and said that not extending them for the higher income taxpayers would hurt small business owners.

“The last thing we need to do in this economy is raise expenses on small businesses, especially on small businesses that are making money,” Boozman said. “That makes no sense at all.”

Lincoln also criticized Boozman’s past support of allowing workers to invest their Social Security taxes in private accounts, saying it would privatize the system and hurt retirees. She also criticized Boozman for co-sponsoring legislation that would replace the federal income tax with a national sales tax.

“The 23 percent sales tax is just a bad idea for Arkansans,” Lincoln said. “It is replacing your federal income tax with a 23 percent consumption tax on anything you purchase, anything from your bread to your tires to your home to your car.”

Boozman defended his position on Social Security and said that private accounts should be looked at as an option. Boozman said that he’s open to the idea of the national sales tax and said it would simplify taxes for Americans.

“I think it’s something that needs to be looked at. I would love to get rid of the IRS,” Boozman said.

At one point in the debate, Boozman and Lincoln were allowed to pose each other questions. Boozman asked Lincoln to defend her vote for the federal health care overhaul.

Lincoln said she worked to make sure the overhaul didn’t include a government-run insurance option and helped small businesses.

“Where there are places to correct in this bill, I will work hard to make it better. The fact is I’m hearing from Arkansans that there were a lot of things we needed to do and I think this got us started,” Lincoln said.

Boozman said he voted against the overhaul because he heard overwhelming opposition from Arkansans to the legislation.

“Something needs to be done, but the idea that we’ve got to do something and that’s the solution is what I think is wrong with government,” Boozman said.

Read tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

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Archived Comments

  • aimee
    September 10, 2010 at 2:12 p.m.

    Republicans HAVE no plan except to defeat Obama... They think they can win seats based on Tea-Party hysteria... Okay, say they win, THEN what..??? Nothing, because they have no idea what to do except to return tax cuts to the rich and destroy everything the Democrats have tried to do... Doing "nothing" is a failing plan...

  • DontDrinkDatKoolAid
    September 10, 2010 at 2:43 p.m.

    Now just wait a min. here, Obama is seriously thinking of extending the tax cuts (with the possible exception to the rich) of the Bush Administration, or did I read something wrong from Axelrod?

  • aimee
    September 10, 2010 at 3:31 p.m.

    No, and that is the big difference.... Obama wants to keep the tax cuts for 98% of American and the Republicans are ONLY worried about trying to sneak the other 2% in there as well (their benefactors)...

    To hear them tell THEY are the ones who want tax cuts for EVERYONE..!!! They accuse Obama of NOT wanting tax cuts for EVERYONE... As if 98% is not practically EVERYONE...!!!

  • JRS
    September 10, 2010 at 4:22 p.m.

    Republicans are not the party of nothing...they just disagree with the Dems. I would vote no too, if I didn't agree. The Dems vote no when they don't agre with the Pubs.

  • quiet4us2
    September 10, 2010 at 4:47 p.m.

    So sad to see people like aimee so misguided and blind and factually wrong,as most libtards are. The "rich" as you keep calling them provide the jobs that Mr. Obozo is destroying. The "rich" pay more taxes than any other group including middleclass and the worthless that don't want to work. The "rich" have spent billions to help Obozo occupy the white house. HIS bailout money went to the "rich". He's in their pocket just as much as you have accused the Republican party of being. Come November we as real Patriot's have a great chance to start to take our once great and feared country back form Obozo's communist regime. And we can start right here in Arkansas by giving old blanchie the boot. And in 2012 when this lame duck is ousted, maybe we can put someone in there that actually cares for America. I would vote instantly for The Husckster if he ran. It's pretty sad when Obozo won't even go to New York to pay tribute to 3000 lives lost on 9-11. He's gonna be in Ohio campaigning for a Governor's race that is already over. And won by a uh oh ...could it be....YES Republican. Said he doesn't have time....for the second year in a row by the way. But he has time to fly overseas to try and sway the Olympic committee to bring the olympics to his adopted hometown of Chicago. I say adopted because his real hometown is somewhere in Kenya. And he can sneak off to New York with his female for "date night" as he calls it. But can't take a few minutes to visit the site where so many people died. Thanks largely to william jefferson clinton.God (not allah) bless America !!

  • 80Redux
    September 10, 2010 at 5:49 p.m.

    Can't wait to see Boozman hammer Blank on her Healthcare vote. I notice that NOT ONE Democrat is running on their support of Obamacare, which is funny since that is the biggest bill they passed.

  • aimee
    September 10, 2010 at 5:54 p.m.

    Careful, quiet4us2...your IGNORANCE is really showing...!!!

    You call Obama a Communist, but say he is in the pay of the wealthy..!!! Do you even KNOW what a communist is..????

    You talk about giving "blanchie the boot" but fail to realize who would replace her... Old "I'm a Razorback" Boozman... What good has he EVER done for Arkansas... Name one thing..!!! He hasn't done anything..!!!

    Going to Ground Zero has nothing to do with being patriotic... And as a person who has been in the city when the President is there, I can tell you that it can really cause quite a mess... I wouldn't hold THAT against him...

    Hope you and all your fellow rabble enjoy yourselves tomorrow...!!! Maybe you will get your wish and innocent people will die because of your bigoted stupidity... Let me know how many notches you put in your gun... I will light that many candles to undo your evil...

  • aimee
    September 10, 2010 at 6:03 p.m.

    JRS:

    The "Party of NO" only votes no (some of what they are voting "no" on are their OWN ideas) to pull down the President... They are so afraid that he will succeed and people will see how GOOD his is for this country, that they will NEVER be able to take the White House again....

    Rep. Boozman is a good example of this strange voting pattern... He co-sponsored two bills supporting the implementation of a nationwide 23% sales tax... When questioned about this, he stated that just because you are a co-sponsor of a bill doesn’t mean you necessarily support it... What other bills has he cosponsored, that he now claims not to support...???

  • getright
    September 10, 2010 at 6:55 p.m.

    For once I agree with aimee! I don't like blanch to much, but I sure don't like boozman. If we let the repub's in, they will be dug in like tick's on a hound and wont do anything for the american people,except get thier back's scratched and pockets lined! Just how do you sponsor a bill and not agree with it? That's about the most stupid thing I've heard yet! Blanch sure ain't perfict, but Boozman will be a lot lip. mostly NO. I don't think whoever get's voted in need's to agree with everything the president comes up with, but we need someone who will work with the president to come up with soluitions to our problems. Boozman has already said,"I'll stand aganist the president". Not that he would work out soluitions! We have had it with grid lock and get nothing done, for far to long. We have all seen what a C-avg. president can do in office and his war monger vice has done.

  • DontDrinkDatKoolAid
    September 10, 2010 at 11:51 p.m.

    She did not read the Bill.

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