tv Americas Election Headquarters FOX News May 1, 2018 3:30pm-4:00pm PDT
what are you teaching these kids? ask your broker if they offer award-winning full service and low costs, backed by a satisfaction guarantee. if you don't like their answer, ask again at schwab. ♪ >> it is the kickoff of the 2018 election season, the midterms with congress hanging in the balance. >> we cannot be complacent. we have to fight like hell and when the house or the senate. >> a senate race could lie here in west virginia. the heart of trump country where it stands at 87% tonight. >> of this wonderful to be back in west virginia, a very special place during the election for me. it was not even close, was it? >> republicans looking to take the seed from incumbent democrat senator joe manchin. it for voting against repealing obamacare and against the trump
tax cuts. >> your senator joe, you voted against. it was bad. i thought it would be helpful, but he votes against everything. danny voted against the task cuts. >> a state rocked a will be owed epidemic, the cold industry but rarely hanging on. >> and a teacher walk out that sparked funding strikes. three g.o.p. candidates face off on the issues. front runner congressman evan jenkins. >> the only one up there in washington actually working with them to drain the swamp. >> the attorney general. >> the only clear conservative choice in the space. >> and don blankenship a year in jail over a deadly coal mining accident. >> they think they can be mean, but they have not yet. >> they battle it out on policy and politics. as west virginia takes center stage. >> in the first of our series of debates across the country, leading up to the midterms.
>> it all starts right now on america's election headquarters. ♪ >> bret: welcome to the metropolitan theatre here in morgantown, west virginia, and the kickoff of the 2018 midterm primary debate. good evening, i am a bret baier. >> martha: i am martha maccallum, you will hear from the candidates taking on joe manchin in november. president trump won here in 2016, and republicans believe that this seat may be ripe for the taking. >> bret: we will meet the candidates, first we have evan jenkins, representing the third district of west virginia. then west virginia attorney general patrick morrisey, and finally former ceo don
blankenship. welcome. >> martha: the rules of the debate are simple, candidates will have 60 seconds to answer the questions, 30 if they are given a follow-up after that question and they also get 30 seconds if their name is mentioned by one of the other candidates. >> bret: if the candidates go over their allotted time, they will hear this. [bell sounding] we do not like to do that, because some of the dogs at home thinking that somebody is at the door. let's try not to use the bell and get going. >> martha: as you all know, the opioid epidemic has hit the country hard. we will talk about that in great detail, but let's get started at the top of our questions. >> bret: grossman jenkins, you are at the center of the stage because you are leading in the fox news poll in this race, your opponents on the stage however call you a card carrying member of the political establishment. you voted for the 1.3 trillion dolly ocean spending bill that conservatives called uploaded material and republicans align
with mitch mcconnell are spending money to help your campaign. so here's the question, how do you convince west virginia voters that you can drain the swamp if they think that you are a part of it? >> thank you, bret and martha and to every one of you that are here this evening. from a proud west virginia, i have not been up in the swamp a very long. i took out a 38 year incumbent just a couple of years ago. i am up in washington actually working with president trump. i have been fighting this establishment. i have been fighting the swamp. and what a difference an election makes. we are starting to see west virginia turning around. working with president trump, standing up with him. i proudly endorsed president trump in the may primary 2016. the only one up here on the stage who did that and have been standing with him each and every day. so we are bringing real results, yes, we are cutting taxes and
reducing regulation. making a difference in west virginia. leading the country in a lot of ways to standing up for what we believe is west virginians. >> bret: congressman, thank you. >> martha: mr. blankenship, you were imprisoned on a conviction in the mine explosion case, you have blamed the obama justice department and that administration's war on coal, but too many of these mining families did blame you. can you blame them if they do not think that it is right for you to go from the jail cell to the united states senate? >> i do not think that is a question that we need to be asking. to the question we need to be asking is whether we can prevent a big branch from happening again. at this time and have them because the government took it in half and finished almost eight hours before there was existence for 17 years exploded. basically the government did not blame me, they blame the coal miners were not doing their job, which was terribly untrue. nearly 400 years of experience,
they did their job. and i plea bargain during the trial, that would've been amazing that the miners did not do their job, i cannot do that. facing 30 years in prison for a fixed charge, and i beat all three of the felony is, they put me in jail, because i did not stop the coal miners from telling each other that the inspectors had arrived. that is not a law that is on the books. that is a law that the obama prosecutors made up in reparation for the trial. the trial was violated of a person's human rights to a fair trial. today did things like in order to comply with the rule that they had to give the documents that they are going to use at trial, they gave us 1 million and a half documents and said that they were going to use the documents in there somewhere. it is incredible. they sent me imprisoned for a misdemeanor, i was the only prisoner that was a misdemeanor. it was clear from the beginning to the end that it was a fake prosecution. >> martha: what do you say to
those that say that you have made it about you? do you accept any responsibility for the deaths of those 29 miners? >> i am accepting the responsibility to do everything i can to keep it from happening again. the government cuts it in half. the job was finished eight hours before the explosion. there's not much you can say about it. you have to have an explosive atmosphere no matter whether you have sharp bids, dole beds, plug water sprays, no sprays coming have to have an explosive atmosphere. to the way you prevent it is a lot of airflow, and these guys they do the government not to make that change. they should apologize to them and tell them the truth. >> martha: why did you insist that they did not make that change? >> because i was not aware that they were making the change. when you have 119 coal mines, it is impossible to keep up with what everyone is doing. we need to bring it to a regulatory inspector group and investigative group like the nts in the aviation industry when
you use the technology in the mines to control the atmosphere. we also need to have a relief valve when the government is trying to do something that you do not want them to do for your engineers at odds with the government engineers, they should not be able to dictate what you do. >> bret: mr. morrisey, this is not your first attempt to get elected into congress. you ran in your new in jersey, which jenkins mentions on the campaign trail. joe manchin grew up here and never left. he will surely call you a carpetbagger. so how do you counter that claim? >> first of all, thank you for the opportunity that the fox news is giving us to be here tonight to show off west virginia. we have an amazing state. and i feel very fortunate that i am one of the folks up here who moved to the states by choice. i love west virginia with all of the fiber in my beginning. that is one of the reasons why when i ran for attorney general,
i knew that we needed a change. we had a 20 year incumbent who was wreaking havoc on the state of west virginia. i knew that we needed a conservative fighter to go after obama overreach and give obama everything he had. fortunately i was able to win in court time after time after time against barack obama. if anybody raises west virginia values, show me someone who has done more to go after the absolute wretched excess of the barack obama era. we went after it and we won the clean power plan, the legal amnesty. we have been fighting for pro-life principles. we are the conservative fighter of anyone standing here tonight. >> martha: we have been watching all of the commercials and the ads going after each other. so congressman jenkins, from new jersey, what are new jersey values and what is wrong with them? >> you look at the ad when he ran for congress in new jersey. great picture of him in his campaign logo with new jersey and the ad said i will stand up and fight anybody who goes
against jersey values. you know what, we need somebody representing our values. you cannot change your values just because you change your zip code. >> martha: what are jersey values as opposed to west virginia values? >> we have two folks from jersey here, i will let you talk about it. [cheers and applause] >> martha: i'm just curious what is wrong with them. [laughs] >> you know, i appreciate you being here. we do welcome outsiders. we love having you here. people need to be coming to west virginia for the right reasons. patrick morrisey grew up in jersey, made all of his living in this money and the millions of bucks lobbying washington, d.c., and then he went back to jersey to run for congress. and he did on his jersey values. he came in last place in the republican primary, then he
moved back to washington, d.c., making more money. then he came to west virginia, put his name on the ballot. west virginians see through that. this is not about shopping for a state for your political career. candidly, we have that with a vy well-heeled democrats who moved to west virginia out of the northeast. once they set up shop, it is tough to get them out. we welcome outsiders. we love people moving to west virginia. but we want them coming to west virginia for the right reasons. >> bret: let's have a response mr. attorney general morrisey. >> it is very clear, west virginians want someone with conservative values. i look up here on stage and i can say that i am the only one on this stage who has always been a conservative. i have been strongly pro-life my entire career. second amendment rights, there is a reason why i am the
endorsed second amendment candidate, the conservative back candidate, because people know that i have the conservative west virginia values. if you look at the congressman, he actually has been very liberal if you go obamacare, checked a box, he supported, hillary, he went and rallied for her. nancy pelosi, john kerry, planned parenthood spending just a couple of weeks ago. evan, you should be ashamed for yourself or that outrageous vote killing the unborn. [cheers and applause] >> fortunately patrick is not being honest. there is not a penny in the bill that we pass to fund the federal government that is going to planned parenthood. if any money goes to planned parenthood, that will be the trump administration. i actually led the charge and fought to defund planned parenthood. i've stood up for life, and as a
matter of fact, the national right to life organization has given me a 100% voting record. i'm the one that actually has a voting record, patrick, dawn, they can talk about how they will vote to 100% pro-life, 100% defending the second amendment with the national right to life, i will tell you that i will not allow you to challenge my west virginia values, my proud history of fighting for our state each and every day of my life. >> bret: mr. blankenship, let's get you in the mix paid when you are asked about the carpetbagger question, a lot of people have houses in different states, but isn't it true that you live in nevada? you pay taxes in nevada? and your probation officer is in nevada, but you are running for u.s. senate in west virginia? >> yes, probably pay more taxes than anybody on this state to west virginia.
[cheers and applause] and if it was not for me, neither of the two guys will be up here. it is funny that pat says only conservative on the stage, conservatives were not even popular in west virginia then i caused them to be conservative by investing $5 million of my own money. honesty, it is funny to hear politicians talk about honesty. i think that that is odd. and as far as a voting record, i voted for the unborn and i have given hundreds of thousands of dollars to write for life. that is a real vote. being able to use the states money, that is pretty easy to do. it does not take any personal sacrifice to do that. i have made a lot of personal sacrifices if you will to stop the bomb that would have wasted money in west virginia cut your food tax. those types of sacrifices when you are a conservative or you take a position that is not popular is what it is going to
take to drain the swamp. you cannot drain the swamp being like the swamp. >> bret: if joe manchin comes after you for living in nevada, what you see a question mark >> that he has lived in d.c. too long. [cheers and applause] >> martha: congressman jenkins, you were a democrat, and then you were a republican and then a democrat again, and then about five years ago you became a republican again, so how do you convince these people who have come tonight and the other republicans in west virginia that if there is a blue wave, november and the tide turns again that you will not flip again? >> i am a proud republican and a proud west virginian. i put my west virginia values first. barack obama devastated our state and our country prayed he put literally thousands of coal miners out of work. look at the democratic platform that supports abortion on demand, gun grabbers limiting the second amendment.
the west virginia story is that we are a proud red state. look in the republican primary donald trump won west virginia by 77 points. he won the general of 44 points. donald trump was a democrat. ronald reagan was a democrat. it is a people who follow their values and put their values first rather than their party registration. i simply could not be a part of a democratic party that was so wrong for west virginia, so wrong for who we are and what we believe. i will always stand up for our state. i will always stand up for our values. so standing up with this president for what we believe, that is an easy choice for me. that is something that i will always do. >> martha: what would you say to the charge that you are too similar and just another joe manchin with a little less experience? >> i welcome the opportunity to face joe manchin in the november primary. i voted to cut the taxes and put more money in people's pockets.
joe manchin voted "no." i voted to defund planned parenthood, joe manchin voted to fund planned parenthood. i voted to reduce the regulations bringing the west virginia jobs back. joe manchin is on the chuck schumer team. he is sitting there with elizabeth warren, bernie sanders, he has a 70%, 80% voting record with them. that is not west virginia. i welcome the opportunity to take on joe manchin this november and replace him and bring a much-needed republican vote to the united states senate. [cheers and applause] >> bret: mr. morrisey, you are running as an insurgent republican, a political outsider. but you worked on capitol hill. and as a big-money lobbyist in d.c., so how are you not a creature of the swamp? >> i think it is very clear of all of the candidates on the stage, i am actually the only one with a conservative record of results. and when so many people here on
the stage either abandon the state or they were on the barack obama team, i was literally by myself suing barack obama because he threatened our way of life here in west virginia. he came after our coal jobs. i was the only one to stand up. i fought against barack obama. we took him all the way up to the u.s. supreme court and beat him 5-4, that was not an easy thing to do. we built a 27 state coalition to do that. we went after obama's illegal amnesty. these guys were in active in all of these fights when west virginia needed a proven conservative fighter to change the abortion laws in our state. neither of these guys were around. they would not weigh in at the time. i stood up and now we have a pain capable law protecting the unborn. that is why west virginia for life has endorsed my candidacy. that is why the conservatives have gotten behind me. they know that we have a strong conservative record. and we have gone after
washington a lot harder than these guys ever could. you have to put large conservative coalition together, that is what how you have done. these coalitions would look like hillary and nancy pelosi and that is not the change that we need. >> bret: thank you, mr. attorney general. >> martha: the opioid academic has hit the country hard, nowhere order then west virginia. here is rick leventhal. >> police. >> it is hard to find anyone who has not been touched in some way by the opioid epidemic. killing more americans in car crashes and guns. [sirens] >> in 2016 the government statistics show -- he died from drug overdoses. more than 42,000 of them from opioids. by comparison 37,000 died in car crashes, 38,000 in gunshots. west virginia is an unfortunate leader in the opioid crisis with the highest drug overdose rate in the nation.
52 deaths for every 100,000 residents. leading the next eight by 20%, doubling the national average. last december the governor called in the national guard for logistical support trying to help tackle the epidemic. last year was the states worst with nearly 1,000 dying from opioid ods, the 84 lives lost in 2016. part of a steady rise of fatalities and west virginia since the start of the century. one reason for west virginia's issues is the easy availability of the pills. between 2007-2012, shipping hydrocodone and oxycodone pills into the state which economists estimate cost west virginia nearly $1 billion in lost productivity and resources to address the issue. >> martha: congressman jenkins, representing west virginia for 24 years, small towns both in your
district have been flooded with enough hydrocodone and oxycodone to supply thousands of pills to every man, woman, and child. so what makes you believe that you deserve a promotion when the district that you represent is ground zero for the opioid crisis? >> we have been making a real difference. we are seeing progress. we have here two ladies that called me five years ago, sarah and rhonda, two nurses that saw the precious newborn babies that have been drug exposed during pregnancy and through the labor of love, rhonda, sarah, me and some others started lilly's place, a facility that melania trump visited giving every child a start in life. and i love talking about the flood of opioids, patrick morrisey and his family lobbying in washington, d.c., cardinal health, not our state to bird, it is the pusher of all of these pills.
he and his family lobbying firm have made millions and millions in his 18 years as a d.c. lobbyist and hill stafford. they have flooded our state with these pain pills that have devastated people in west virginia. if you want to see what the problem is, it is the pill pushers and patrick morrisey is representing those people for years and made millions. >> bret: our first bell of the evening, but mr. morrisey. >> there he goes yet again, did your mom ever tell you that we should wash your mouth out with soap with those lies? [cheers and applause] i'll tell you what, obviously not only people know that we did not work on those issues in the private sector, but no one has done more to go after the opioid epidemic, suing, going after $78 million in damages from the pharmaceutical companies, recently we went after the dea,
because that federal government agency had been blanketing the state, rubber-stamping the applications coming in, flooding west virginia with pills. we went after it and are putting an end to that. education in the schools, and obviously we are going after treatment as well. because we have to address people's needs in their heads and their hearts. i will conclude on this note, all of us including me and my family, we have seen issues with addiction. there is no one here tonight that has not felt it. and for someone like evan jenkins to keep the political dialogue to say that things are not true to hide his deep liberal background is very sad. >> bret: mr. morrisey i understand, but as attorney general you did see with the major pill distributor, but at the same time your wife was lobbying for that pill distributor period is that not a conflict of interest? [cheers and applause] >> we have handled everything exactly right, i think most
people in the state would say that we have a more effective taking on the opioid epidemic than anyone. i note when i got into office there was no substance abuse fighting unit in the state. we have turned things around her to the other point, you cited it, the statistics from 2007-2012, look, joe manchin was on the watch as governor. he was sleeping at the switch when pills were flooding into our state and it took me and the ag office to go after that aggressively. >> when he came into office, cardinal health paid for his party. they were so happy that patrick morrisey had won the attorney general, they knew that they had a friend. returning the money. >> he has a pain pill pledge. [cheers and applause] he has a pain pill pledge, he has taken tens of thousands of dollars that he will not return. so this is what we call
hypocrisy. i wish you would stop. >> martha: let's get to mr. blankenship in here, you talk tough on opioids. >> i would like to address what they said. >> martha: i will ask you the question. in fact, you want to drug test everyone from lawmakers to teachers, what about the other side of the issue? do you have empathy for addicts? >> i do not think empathy will fix the problem. if we stop the drug abuse we do not need to have empathy. when we say that patrick said he is the only conservative up here. i already explained that neither would be up here without me. me. both of them are misleading. patrick morrisey came to west virginia in 2012. he's been here six years. drug abuse deaths have gone up 63% and they continue to be on the rise. they like to talk about endorsements. most of patrick morrisey's endorsements are the same that joe manchin had. conservatives don't go out and take campaign contributions from
planned parenthood, and conservatives don't accept money from drug companies that are flooding west virginia with opiates. i will leave it with that. >> bret: we have much more ahead and we will give you plenty of time to respond. what got to take a commercial break very quickly. coming up, they also they would drain the swamp, but which one of these candidates would support senator mitch mcconnell? >> martha: we will ask them is the debate continues live in morgantown, west virginia. ♪ much money do you think you'll need in retirement? then we found out how many years that money would last them. how long do you think we'll keep -- oooooohhh! you stopped! you're gonna leave me back here at year 9? how did this happen? it turned out, a lot of people fell short, of even the average length of retirement. we have to think about not when we expect to live to, but when we could live to.
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♪ >> martha: welcome back to morgantown, west virginia, in the first fox news debate of the 2018 midterms. the three candidates on the stage are hoping to take on senator joe manchin in november and flipped the senate seat from blue to red. let's get back to the questions. >> bret: gentlemen, if you would, welcome back, if you would please raise your hand if you would support mitch mcconnell for republican leader in the senate. [laughter] [applause] >> bret: we noted your .
we got that. you've been a beneficiary of groups, why wouldn't you supported? >> mitch mcconnell has an even ask for my support. i think it's way too premature. i think candidly mitch mcconnell deserves a debt of gratitude for being able to hold a supreme court seat open so neil gorsuch could be on the supreme court today. what i'm interested in doing is getting through the november election bringing a much-needed republican vote to the united states senate and then we will see who's running for senate. i'm not ruling anybody end, i'm not ruling anybody out. nobody has asked for my support. what i would do is make a decision on who is going to lead the senate to support the president trump agenda. >> bret: i'm noticing you are not raising your hand either. >> i'm not the product of the liberal establishment. i think that's why you are saying all the conservatives come out for me.