tv Campaign 2018 Tennessee Senate Debate CSPAN September 29, 2018 7:01am-8:03am EDT
in the house, that the republicans keep the house of representatives and then there's no 'em peachment. i think -- impeachment. i think to have that albatross over the country's head, you know, for many months, that would be pretty bad for the country, i believe. >> voices from the states, part of c-span's 50 capitals tour. >> in tennessee's u.s. senate race, congresswoman marsha blackburn is running against governor phil bredesen for an open seat currently held by senator bob corker. the candidates met tuesday in nashville for their first debate. this hour-long event comes to us courtesy of wtvf-tv in nashville. >> live there campus of historic cumberland university, this is the 2018 u.s. senate debate. presented by the news channel 5 network, "usa today" network
tennessee, nashville public it's the, the league of women voters and cumberland university. now, please welcome our moderators, neil, roy and the tennessean's david plazas. ♪ ♪ >> moderator: and good evening, everyone. welcome to cumber lan university and the first 2018 tennessee senate debate. before we begin, we want to briefly explain some of tonight the's rules. >> both candidates will be given a chance to answer all questions. the first candidate will get 60 seconds to answer, the second candidate will have 90 seconds to respond, and the first candidate will have 30 seconds for rebuttal. >> the audience has been instructed to remain quiet and not to applaud except right now when we welcome the candidates. congressman ma shah -- marsha blackburn and former governor phil breed accept.
phil bredesen. [applause] >> thank you. welcome do to you both. we have a rot to cover in a short amount of time. we'll begin with our first question, and it goes to you, congressman black burn. what do you think is the single most pressing issue nation tennessean, and what will you to as senator to address it? blackburn: i want to begin by saying thank you to cumberland university for hosting us, also to riege of women voters -- the league of women voters, the tennessean and channel 5. thank you for giving us the opportunity to talk to tennesseans about issues that are pressing and so important to them. as i talk to tennesseans around the state, the number one thing that they talk about is making
certain that we keep the jobs and the economy growing as it is. tax cuts are working in tennessee. and with we hear story after story from people about how very important it is. now, i know phil said he would have voted against with the tax cuts, he called them crumbs, but i've not to tell you when you see the economic growth and development, this is what they're talking about. in scott county last week they said they're even advertising for people to come in and work because of the jobs growth. this is their number one issue, a healthy economy good for all tennesseans. >> moderator: thank you. governor bredesen. bredesen: i think it's got to be the overarching issue of how disfunctional washington has become. so many issues that affect tennesseans economically and in every other way are stall thed in many ways because of the lack
of ability of washington to engage with issues. it's become hyper-partisan, it's become almost impossible to actually get things done and move forward. you know, relative to that in this idea that somehow your party affiliation, whether you're a democrat or republican, ought to determine everything about how you think about things and how you approach things is one of the things that's crazily wrong with it. you've heard a lot recently in this campaign about me, about how -- these crazy ideas about how somehow if i'm elected and go to washington that suddenly i'm going to turn my back on a whole lifetime of thinking for myself and being independent and suddenly become some kind of a political lackey, that's not going to happen for a bunch of reasons. i think a lot of the problem in washington is with the leadership we have there now. whether it be, whether it be ryan or pelosi or connell or
schumer, they're not doing the job. we need to get new leadership, and i can tell you right now when i'm elected and go to washington, i am not going to be voting for chuck schumer. >> moderator: all right. and 30-second rebuttal. blackburn: phil had a choice. he could have run as a republican or independent. probably didn't want to do that, he's running as a democrat. he will be with chuck schumer if he were to go to washington. but back to tennesseans, was they -- because they want the focus on them, and this campaign is really about them. the number one issue, healthy jobs and economy and healthy communities. and then security, making certain our border is secure so that a our communities are secure. and we know he are vote with chuck schumer because his vote is already bought and paid for. his campaign is bought and paid for by chuck schumer.
>> moderator: thank you. >> this next question is related to tax cuts. those cults also have contributed to massive increases in the federal deficit. how concerned are you about our national debt, and what measures would you support to cut the deficit, and, governor bredesen, 60 second for you. bredesen: sure. the tax cuts, i think way that was handled is a perfect example of the dysfunction in washington. the idea of tax reform and tax the cuts to go with it was a great idea. but what happened when it got to congress was the hard part of it. the reform got part of it, and the tax cuts is what went forward. nobody objects to a tax cut for the middle class, but you've got to do both sides of that equation to make it work and not drive the deficit up. this particular tax cut program as $1.5 trillion to national debt, and it's crazy. there are ways of addressing that. i've talked in this last,
recently about the idea of just holding spending constant. don't try to reduce it, let the revenues grow into that. that would take about five and a half or six years to get it back to. it's something which is possible to do the if the congress has got the willingness and to have a little courage and make it happen. >> thank you, governor. congressman? blackburn: yes. when you talk about debt and deficit, phil called barack obama a transformation aal leader. it's important to realize he did transform our nation's dead from $10 trillion to $21 trillion. all of that is way too much. in order to get et under control, "24" three things we have -- three things we have to do initially. number one, balancing that budget without a tax the -- tax increase. it is something that we need to do. number two, we need to make certain that we have spending reductions. and number three, we have to
continue to grow the economy. we're at 4.1% gdp growth. jobless claims are at the lowest they have been in nearly 50 years. in tennessee our median income is growing faster than any other state in the southeast. and we are one of the top five in the nation. that is good news. now, also when it comes to tax cuts and we look at tennessee, one of the reasons we are attracting jobs and people here, we do not have a state income tax. i led that fight when e was in the -- when i was in the state senate. people around this state joined with me. we defeated that state income tax. that is good for tennesseans, and it is going to continue to pay for a dividend. phil said he would have voted against the tax cuts, chuck schumer has bought and paid for his campaign. he would vote to take those tax cuts away. thank you. >> thank you, congressman. governor, 60-second rebuttal?
bredesen: you know, this issue of balancing the budget, i certainly give the congressman credit for organizing protests around the capitol when the income tax came up, but i'm the one who had to settle down and over the course of eight years make a whole bunch of difficult decisions to get uses through very difficult years. my time as governor embraced the entire great recession. we had some very tough budgets in there, had to make some very tough the calls and choices. the very first year i was there we had to cut expenses 9% across the board except for k-12. what it takes to, i mean, what it take the to keep these things under control is not just talking about it and talking a good game and protesting against somebody, you know, proposing a tax the, but the willingness to do the hard work and make the hard choices that i have done in the business world and as mayor and as golf to actually -- and as governor to actually run the governor in a way that you don't
need these tax the. >> thank you, governor. >> moderator: we want to turn to health care. recent polls suggest just more than half of all americans now support the affordable care act, the highest percentage since the law took effect in 2010. what role should the federal government play in health care, and how will you insure all tennesseans have access to affordable health care? congressman. blackburn: i think that's exactly the right question to ask, how do you make certain that all tennesseans have access to affordable health care. because what we have seen happen in tennessee because of the affordable care act is that you have had 160,000 tennesseans that can't afford to buy health insurance, and they had to pay the penalty. now, here is the kicker, and what is so bad with this is that 100,000 of those families had joint household incomes of $50,000 or less. the affordable care act does not work. now, i know that in phil's book,
"fresh medicine," he supports a single-payer, government-run health care system. that is where he thinks we need to be moving. we know that when chuck schumer and the democrats try to push that, he would be right there with them supporting government-run, single-payer health care that would run -- it would take half of your taxes to pay for that. >> moderator: thank you. governor. bredesen: you know, when the affordable care act was first proposed, i was not for it. i criticized it, and president obama got very mad at me over that. when it passed and became the law of the land, which it did, i said what we do now is we support it and try to make it work. i think, first of all, this action that's going on of people trying to sort of actively sabotage it by modifying it in ways that make it more difficult to have it work is really unconscionable.
i mean, there are 250,000 tennesseans today who depend on the a affordable care act for their insurance. there's almost 11 million nationwide. and an earth -- effort to try and undercut that and sabotage the it, it makes no sense at all. it's just cruel to people who are looking at it that way. and do you know, i mean, the congressman brags about she opposed the affordable care act and has vote ised against it umpteen times, but there's something wrong -- and congressman, what's wrong with congress in a microcosm is you're sitting up there, and for the last 16 years you've had a wonderful health care system fully paid by the federal government which costs you nothing or very little. and in the meantime the, you're voting to take health care away from 250,000 tennesseans with no idea about how to replace it with something else. and for what are really purely pretty cool and partisan reasons. -- political and partisan reasons.
>> moderator: last question we gave a 60-second rebuttal. we'll give that to you also, congressman. blur blush wonderful, i appreciate. that the affordable care act has driven up the cost of health insurance in tennessee 106%. we have counties in tennessee that cannot even buy something that is aca-compliant. so, of course, what would be most beneficial to tennesseans is to get the affordable care act off the book, to open up the health insurance marketplace, to make certain that we have across-state-line purchase of health insurance so that individuals can buy a product that suits their needs at a price that they can afford. that is what individuals want. also when you look at access to health care, making certain that our rural hospitals and community health centers have access to high-speed internet, that they are going to be the
able to do telemedicine, that they are going to be able to do digital and remote monitoring so that they have that daily access. >> moderator: thank you. >> that's a great segway to next question. the state of tennessee has the heist rate of rural hospital closings anywhere in the country. what will you do to insure rural tennesseans have access to quality health care, and we'll begin with governor bredesen. bredesen: it is a a real issue. when i've gone around the state and talked about health care in general, when you get into these rural communities, just simple access has become an enormous problem. hospitals closing, inability of doctors to locate sometimes in these communities. i think there are self-things that you can do -- can several things that you can do. first of all, the future or more those rural hospitals is likely to be in some sort of an association with an urban hospital so they can work
together. there are things you do in the reimbursement policies in hhs that make that more or less practical, and you can push people in that direction. and i think really a lot of the future for health care in these rural commitments is going to be the form -- rural communities is going to be the forming these associations to keep the hospitals they have open, to keep the ability to get doctors into these communities and, you know, and provide the services that people need in these communities to live there and work there. >> thank you the, governor. congressman? blackburn: yes. i was talking with one of my county mayors, rural mayors the other day, and his comment was so pointed and so precise. he said, you know, i think during the obama years they forgot about those of us in rural america on a host of different issues. and, indeed, they did. and, of course, our state has suffered because of ten care and the impact there. we were the test case for hillary clinton, and phil gave
hillary $33,400 for her campaign, and they pushed ten care forward in our state. now, what we have seen is nine hospitals close. the tenth one is getting ready to close, is my understanding from our rural mayors. they say what we need is access to 21st century health care concepts. we want to make certain that we have our community health centers, our hospitals, that they have telemedicine, that they have digital imaging, that they have the ability to bring people in to triage our areas where they have lost hospitals, number one on their let's free-stand thing emergency -- number one on their list, free-standing emergency rooms. that is something we are currently on so that is going to be available. the other thing i will add, we have over 200 community health
centers in our state. this is a really good program. it helps get -- >> thank you, prime minister your rebuttal -- thank you. your rebuttal, governor? bred bred first of all -- bredesen: first of all, i am more than familiar with ten care, hillary clinton had nothing to do with its inception, and ten care actually had some pretty effective programs in helping to keep rural hospitals open. i believe very much that the state should have gone ahead with the medicaid expansion, and i've talked with people about some ways in which they could have structured that to avoid some of the problems with ten care. it's a real problem. >> thank you, governor. >> moderator: the single biggest health care crisis facing tennessee is the opioid epidemic. what is your plan for fighting opioid abuse at the congressional level, and would you support the legalization of medical marijuana as an alternative to prescription painkillers?
congressman. blur blush and thank you so much for that because the opioid epidemic is one that affects everybody. i've come at this as a mother and a friend and have watched so many people suffer. i have a friend right now whose child has an opioid issues, and and she said every time the phone rings and she does not recognize the phone number, her heart skips a beat. and that is how this affects so many of our families. what we are doing about this, more resources to local law enforcement. they're on the front line. right now they say the number one issue they're dealing with is fentanyl and heroin. of course, much of this is coming in from mexico, and phil has said he opposes securing that southern border. and chuck schumer, who has bought and paid for his campaign, will say do the not, do the not vote to secure that
southern border. that is where those drugs are coming from. >> moderator: thank you. governor? bredesen: this opioid crisis is a real, it's a real human tragedy in our state, and i've talked to so many people who have lost friends and loved ones and neighbors too. 1700 people a year at the moment. it's going to be an issue in this campaign because my opponent has been one of the significant enablers of this problem. she started to get very friendly with the big pharmaceutical companies. they asked her and she passed the stealth bill that basically took much of the enforcement ability the dea had to deal with these issues, the law enforcement ability away. you don't have to believe me that this was a problem. "60 minutes" did a whole section on it specifically calling out the congressman for what she did in this regard. and when you were called out,
you said, well, if there's some unintended consequences, we'll fix it. years have gone by, no fix has gone in place. one of the first things i'm going to do when i get there is to file a bill to undo what the congressman did two and a half, three years ago here to give law enforcement the ability to begin fighting this, fighting this. they are the front lines on some of these illegal drugs and certainly on some of the many illegal ways many which these opioids are made available to people. it's just way too important an issue to defang law enforcement and its ability to deal with it. >> moderator: congressman, 30 seconds. blackburn: yes, what he just said was false. the bill was voted on and passed unanimously in both the house and senate. it was a three-year, bipartisan process. indeed, every bill dealing with opioids that is passed in the house and senate has been a
bipartisan piece of legislation. what we do know is that prescribing limits work, we know that law enforcement needs more tools. we need to make certain that there is money for education. so many times i hear from people if i had only known. >> moderator: thank you. >> let's talk trade for a moment. both of you, to varying trees, oppose president trump's tariffs. what specific policemans to help tennessee -- programs to help tennessee workers would you support if this trade war with china continues to escalate? governor bredesen. breed breed okay -- bredesen: okay. this is an important issue, and i think that the best things to do is to convince president to sort of back off of this strategy. it is a finish the tariffs we have right now are hurting tennessee badly. they are a job-killing tax on tennessee businesses. walmart is about to put its prices up on a whole range of
its products it's announced because of the tariffs. that's going to hurt people in tennessee as well. there are trade issues. we've got issues with china, with intellectual property and doing business. they need to be dealt with on a one-on-one, surgical basis, not by take thing an axe to them. it makes no sense to slap tear will haves on -- tariffs on canada or something. people are worried sick about this, and i frankly trust this information from our companies a lot more than i do what's coming out of washington. >> thank you, governor. congressman? blur -- blackburn: yes, thank you, our manufacturers are very concerned about this, and rightfully so. i am for freedom, free people and free markets, and i am not a fan of tariffs and never have been. but china has had a trade war on us for decades, and if we're in
a trade war, for goodness sakes, let's make sure we win this. now, i hope that we get these tariffs over and done with because they are not good for tennessee. when you talk with soybean farmers, cotton the farmers, when you talk with those that are producing pork, they will essex press their anxiety -- express their anxiety. one of the things that we've been able to do is to advocate for them and to continue to push so that we move to trade agreements. they want new markets. they want to see european markets opened up, they are pleased that there is an agreement with mexico. they want to get this agreement finished with canada. and they want to know that we are going to be expanding their markets and that they're not going to be short shortchanged in these. but we also know that it is barack obama and the trade policies of the last few years
or bill clinton, phil called him a world-changer. and with nafta the he changed the world of a lot of tennesseans. >> thank you, congressman. blackburn: because their jobs went to mexico. >> governor, your rebuttal? bredesen: these trade policies are really hurting tennessee. i just want to emphasize, the farm ors are feeling it, the automotive industry which we have spent 30 or 35 years starting with lamar alexander building up and we've all invested in over the years is scared to death of these things. we're an enormously economically powerful nation. we need to use that economic power to open up markets to our companies, not closing them off. >> thank you. >> moderator: all right. speaking of president trump, can you name one of the president's policies that you support and one that you oppose? we'll begin with you, congressman. blackburn: yes. thank you for that. i will give you the one that aoppose. i'll give you two that i have
not been in agreement with him on. one is the tariffs and the other is on spending. our debt and our deficit, our annual deficit is too higher for me, and i have voted against the spending measures because of that. i agree with him on so much of what he has done with foreign policy. getting isis on the run in syria, fully funding our military, and i tell you with fort campbell the men be women there that are in uniform and having lived through president obama's administration with not enough money to get them the readiness and the skills and the deployment equipment that they needed and watching that, those men and women in uniform need those needs to be maine our veterans need those needs to be the met. >> moderator: thank you.
governor? bredesen: certainly, there are things that he's done that i support. i think that the way he's handling north korea, for example, it's different than our previous presidents, but we've had three presidents of both parties fail miserably at trying to solve that problem. i'm certainly willing to give him some is elbow room, in my mind, to try something different in doing that. i think his inclinations to really work at trying to find ways to cut back regulations -- i probably wouldn't agree all the time with exactly how that works, but the underlying impulse, i think, is really important. i certainly saw as governor in dealing with washington we're getting more and more like the e.u. every year where everything is bureaucratic and paperwork-based. we need to move away from that, and i think that'll help restore some vigor to our economy and more vigor to it. in terms of posing, obviously, we've spoken of tariffs, and i certainly think he's wrong there. i'm also really concerned about this, you know, this working to
drive wedges between us and some of our best and longest-term friends, some of the western european countries, france and germany and canada and the like. and at the same time, cozying up to russia which is certainly not our, certainly not our frefnltd i wish he would fripp those around and -- flip those around and cozy up to some of our long-term friends and allies and start being tougher on that particular country which is an enemy of the united states. >> moderator: congressman, 30 seconds. blur blush yes, i would just say in the -- this -- another thing that i agree with president trump on is draining the swamp and cleaning out washington, sending power and responsibility back to people, cutting taxes so that people have more money in their pockets.
and one of the things that's really nice, the president listens to people. >> thank you. >> on thursday we're likely to hear from supreme court nominee brett kavanaugh as well as dr. christine blasey ford, the woman who says he sexually assaulted her during high school. would you vote to confirm judge kavanaugh to high court? bredesen: during the can time i was governor, i selected and appointed an awful lot of judges and, you know, based on that experience, what is going on now with this kavanaugh nomination in washington on the part of both parties just disgusts me. there's no other word for it. they've taken what is an important and serious obligation under the constitution of the u.s. senate and turned it into a circus. you know, we now have 90 or 99 1 senators -- 91 senators who have already announced before they've heard all of the testimony as to who they're for.
the congressman announced she was for kavanaugh within minutes of him being appoint. it's almost as if we don't the need any review of this, let's just go ahead and confirm him. i think we need to listen to everyone, including dr. ford, and when that is over, make a decision based on their competence the, their ethics and temperament, and that's what i intend to do. >> thank you, governor. congressman? blackburn: yes. i think everyone woman who mix an accusation should be concern who mix an a accusation should be heard. and we know that hearing is set for thursday. we now know that the vote to move judge kavanaugh out of committee is going to take place on friday. if i were in the senate, i would vote yes to move judge kavanaugh forward. and to send that vote to floor. i would vote to confirm him. he is an eminently qualified jurist. he has served well on the federal court, and and what we
see taking place right now is a.r. stunt by the democrats -- a p.r. stunt by the democrats. it is character assassination, and this is something that is dirty the politics at its worst. now, when phil was governor, there was an issue where sexual harassment claims doubled one year. and there -- your paper wrote about it, david, the ap wrote about it, different people. and what they chose to do was to. >> shred some of the documents so these women's voice would never be heard. they died in that shredder, and their voices were not heard. and the reason was, well, there's -- this is what happens when men and women are in the workplace together. these issues arise. and that is an inappropriate response. and also said that there's nothing here to be covered up. >> thank you, congressman.
blush return so kavanaugh i would vote for. >> governor? bredesen: that is a total mischaracterization of what happened in this. we encouraged -- i have a zero tolerance policy and always have had on this. we encouraged people to come forward, and i'm glad that the number of reported cases increased in that process. the issue, the issue she's referring to was an issue of trying to protect these women so that when they talked to somebody about their experiences, there was not the freedom to put it on the front page of the newspaper the next morning. we're trying to protect people and get them to come forward. >> thank you, governor. >> moderator: all right. this next question comes from elizabeth ramirez. she is a junior here at cumberland university. she was born in mexico and is one of more than 30 so-called dreamers currently enrolled here at this school. she would like to know what you think should happen to young people brought to this country illegally as children, should they be given some sort of permanent rez ten city or a path
to citizenship? we'll begin with congressman blackburn. blackburn: elizabeth, thank you for the question and for sending it in. as you to know, there has been an offer by the president, and the democrats -- the led by chuck schumer -- said they don't want it. and it would have given a path to legalization for dreamers. and i know that when phil bredesen gets to d.c., if he were to go there, he would be voting with chuck schumer. there should be a path for legalization for dreamers. at the same time, we need to secure this southern border so that we are making sure we end the inflow of drugs, we end the inflow of gangs and sex traffickers. we also need to do away with sanctuary city policies. we need to make certain that we are ending the visa diversity lottery. we need to make certain that we are ending chain migration.
that we are protecting the sovereignty of this nation. >> moderator: thank you. governor bredesen. bredesen: look, the united states is absolutely entitled, first of all, to secure its borders as a matter of our national security and national policy. and i support that fully. we were one of the first states when i was governor to send troops down to the arizona border to help in that securing. we were, during the time the i was there we reversed a policy that my predecessor, republican governor sunkist, put in place to driven give driver's licenses to everyone, irrespective of their legal status. these dreamers though, i think we have a moral obligation to them. they are people who were brought here not of their own choosing. they are in many cases virtually americans in the sense that they speak the language, this is the home they know, they have no more connection to mexico or guatemala or anywhere else than
i do. and to have these young people who are at the stage in life when they're starting to try to think about, okay what can do i do the for a career and college and family and so on, to leave them hanging out there in the way they are now without understanding their status or what the path might be to their permanent residency and eventually citizenship, i just think is immoral, and we need to get beyond that. i blame both parties. both parties need to get together. this issue can be solved in isolation. the public broadly supports dealing with this issue. let's just stop this nonsense of washington and in the hyperpartisanship and dysfunction and get on with the business of solving this problem. we can do it. >> moderator: congressman. blackburn: yes. there was bipartisan support in the house on this issue like on many issues, but the senate is dysfunctional. and that is the reason i am running there. indeed, the daca solution that i've had -- the house has twice passed that. the senate has not been able to pass that. but back on this issue of the
driving certificates, phil passed legislation that gave 51,000 illegal aliens driving certificates, made our state a magnet for driving certificates for these illegal aliens. >> moderator: all right, thank you. >> thank you. next question, following up on that, the white house recently announced the u.s. would only accept 30,000 refugees next year, the lowest number since 1980. should the u.s. and the state of tennessee the continue to accept refugees, and if so, under what conditions? governor bredesen? bredesen: i think that's an area that it is fundamentally a political decision, and i think it is something that we're in -- a decision we're entitled to make, and the president is entitled to make about under what circumstances how many people from how many countries come. it's a very different issue from the illegal issue which has built up over a period of time. i mean, i support the idea that
whoever is president can set these standards. i happen to feel like we are, we ought to be more generous to some of these refugees than that. but i certainly respect right of whoever is president to make those kinds of, those kinds of determinations. we have got to, you know, separate this emigration problem out into -- immigration problem out into the various pieces that it is and deal with them in an intelligent way. just lumping them all together as immigration in general gets us nowhere, and this idea of a comprehensive approach, i don't think, will go anywhere. >> thank you, governor. congressman? blackburn: yes, thank you so much. the eshoo with our refugees -- issue with our refugees, secretary pompeo and ambassador haley are doing a great job when it comes to addressing the issues that we are dealing with whether it's the u.n. or whether it is the department of state. now, here in tennessee we have a
close tie with the kurds. and, indeed, the kurds and those that have come from kurdistan have a presence in middle tennessee. i work closely with them. i actually co-chair, it's a bipartisan co-chair for the kurdish caucus and work on the issues that face in this community that we have here in middle tennessee. when you look at refugees, there is a group of individuals that we need to put at the very top of the list, and this is the men and women who have worked with our u.s. military and with our state department serving as interpreters, serving as guides in these regions. those are the ones that we need to make certain get into the united states and are going to be having our support as they work through coming into our
country. they have served us well, they have helped us well, we should be there to help and sport them. >> thank you, congressman. governor? bredesen: i would just add that, you know, tennessee has for a long time been a warmly welcoming place for refugees from various parts of the world. it's not just recent, it's gone back a long are, a long way. and many of the services that we provide were ones that were in part funded or associated with in some ways various kinds of federal programs for them i just want to underline my commitment to make sure those programs remain in place so that when we do have refugees that come to state, we have the appropriate tools to help them. >> thank you, governor. >> moderator: in the aftermath of recent mass shootings, the debate over gun control has take then center stage in our country. what are your views on gun control, and what specific proposals do you support? congressman? blackburn: yes. when we talk about gun control
in tennessee, tennesseans know that we can protect second amendment and continue to protect our people. and and they know that taking away gun rights or putting in place gun control is not going to be something that mix our communities safer -- that makes our communities safer. and they fully appreciate and realize that. now, we also know that the democrats in d.c. are focused on taking away your second amendment rights. that is something that is paramount for them. and a vote for phil bredesen is a vote for the democrats, for chuck schumer who has bought and paid for this campaign, and they're going to give you judges like sonia sotomayor who says that she does the not think owning a gun is a fundamental right. >> thank you.
governor? bredesen: first of all, let me just underline that i am and have been a strong supporter of the second amendment. i believe it's an important right of americans. i grew up in a rural community, i started going hunting when i was 10 years old. i got a .22 for my 16th birthday. i've been a gun owner all of my life. i also believe that one of the ways you preserve these rights is to put reasonable rules in place so that they're exercised in a responsible way. i value our first amendment rights, but you can't, you can't yell "fire" in a crowded theater, and i think there are some sensible things that we can do when it comes to, when it comes to guns and specifically relating the to these school shootings that make a lot of seasons. i mean, first of all, i believe that the background checks are important and that they should be expanded to include all gun sales at the gun show -- the gun show loophole. and second of all, i think that
nics that actually does these background checks needs to be properly funded so that they can do the checks and they can get the information into the database from local law enforcement and other places where it needs to come. and third of all, i'd like to see some judicial process by which somebody who is clearly not mentally equipped to handle, to own one of these weapons can be dealt with and can be forbidden to do that. that would have been a significant factor in two of the last three school shootings and could have protected from those as well. >> moderator: thank you. congressman? blackburn: some of the things that i support is putting the mental health into the nixx system, hardening our schoolings. i've supported legislation that would make the red flags on mental health in the nixx system is. i am also supported by the nra, i'm endorsed by the nra. i have an a rating from the nra.
we each sought then doorsment. phil got a d rating from the nra. >> moderator: thank you. >> what can be said about the crumbling infrastructure in our country? this includes airports, electrical grids and drinking water. do you think reinvesting in our infrastructure is important, and more important, how do we pay for these improvements? governor bredesen? bredesen: i do think that infrastructure investment is very important, and certainly during the time that i was governor saw a number of the issues that exist in terms of decaying infrastructure that really makes a difference. there are parts of our state -- memphis comes to mind immediately -- that are really suffering from not having an adequate amount of it. the approach i think that makes the most sense is to do what i
did when i was mayor which is start to get specific about the projects. 9 not i need money for education, but i want to build a school here of this sides and here of this size. i really believe if congress could put some specific proposals together, you could garner broad support for putting these on the board and start making inroads. >> thank you, governor. congressman? blackburn: yes. i can tell you this, in this campaign i have driven over 50,000 miles around our beautiful and wonderful state, and i will tell you there is some road work that we do need, we need to get e done. when phil was governor, he drained the road fund and used that to pay for other programs in the general fund. and so if you're sitting in traffic a lot of times, this is the reason, because there were
not a lot of road funds that were used, and there were not a lot of projects that were started during that period of time the. time. now, when you talk about the federal highway trust fund, one of the things that people will tell you is, look, the place to start is getting rid of the waste, fraud and abuse within these funds and making certain that what you're going to see is money that comes in for a purpose is actually used for that purpose. get rid of all of the enhancements; bike paths or walking trails or passive parks. put that money into roads and bridges. when you talk with our farmers, one of the things they will tell you is they need to know that they are going to have dependable infrastructure for moving their crops, for those that are loggers that are
moving -- >> thank you, congressman. blackburn: thank you. >> governor? bredesen: when i came in as governor, we had an enormous financial problem. and i -- that i had to deal with, and i dealt with it by asking every department in state government except for k-12 education to take a 9% across the board cut. it was extraordinarily painful. we asked the road fund to do that as well. it had always been sacrosanct in the past. they did so. i did what i had to do to solve that particular budget problem. i make no apoloys for that. if the congress would start doing that from time to time, we'd have a better country. >> thank you, governor. >> moderator: president trump often refers to press as the enemy of the people. do you agree with that that assessment and, secondly, what role do you think a free press should play in society? congressman. blackburn: thank you for that, rory. i do not think that the press is
the enemy of the people. i will tell you this, i think the first amendment and a free press is vitally important. one of the things that has captured a lot of attention lately has been what has been happening on social media. and looking at how they are prioritizing, looking at how they are censoring, looking at how they are blocking the ability of individual when they go into their search engine and do a search and prioritizing and pushing forward information that is there. indeed, this last week you had the ceo of twitter say to their employees do not bring your bias to workplace. now, in an era when so many people are getting their information online whether it's through podcasts like you all have started doing, david, then we need to make certain that it is going to be something that is
protected. >> moderator: thank you. governor? bredesen: of course the free press is not thing enemy of people. i think any of us who were in the political world have our good days with the press and our tough days with the press. i very early came in my political career, i guess, to realization that they're not your friends, they're not your enemies, they're just doing a different job than yours and have lived to work side by side with the press over the years. one thing i tried very hard to do was to be available and to be available especially when something was going bad in some way or there was some problem to be dealt with. and i'm proud of that relationship with the press. and when i'm elected, i certainly intend to continue that kind of openness and accessibility. i think we have not yet come to grips with what it means to have a facebook and a twitter and instagram in our world. they are not regulated media
companies, as you know, and they carefully guard their independence in that regard. or but i think that working together we can find some sensible ways to make sure that they're not used in the way, for example, they were used by russia a couple of years ago in the campaign in a way that's inimical to our them the crass and our society. but the first amendment is in many ways the most important one in the constitution. i support shul the right of the -- i support absolutely the right of the press to conduct its business. >> moderator: thank you. congressman. blackburn: one of the things that we do the know is that in barack obama's administration -- and phil gave barack obama, phil and his family ghei him over $55,000 for his campaign -- his federal communications commission wanted the take control of the internet. the last thing tennesseans want is to have the federal government in control of their
internet. we also know that the facebook ceo, mark zuckerberg, has said facebook functions more like a government than it does -- >> the thank you. blackburn: -- an edge provider. >> thank you. >> you're both running to replace senator corker, one of the premier foreign policy experts in the senate. what role do you think the u.s. should play on the world stage? do you support remain anything nato and continuing to promote democracy around the world? governor bredesen. bredesen: i think the united states post-world war ii has been the, i guess, the leading force for sort of a sensible world order. i want to see us continue to engage with the world. i'm disturbed about -- i spoke a little bit earlier about the way in which the president seems to be backing away from that long-term commitment which has worked, which has worked so well in the past. to do that, i think we have to,
we have to be willing to treat our friends in the proper way, we need to be willing to work out arrangements. i certainly believe we ought to remain in nato. and, you know, in this country s been trusted in this position of leadership in the world after world war ii, it is an enormous force for good, and we need to continue to fulfill that role in the world as long as we possibly can. >> thank you, governor. congressman? blackburn: i appreciate the role that senator corker has played for our state and also for our nation. when you talk about the united states on the world stage the, nato, of course, is an important group, and i was pleased that the president spent time to go and participate in that meeting and to enage them in -- engage them in how we work together in a more collaborative the way to
protect our allies. and, see, this is something so important. during the obama years, they didn't know who was our enemy or who was our ally. they were not treated accordingly. or in the same way. i think the clock has messed up, be i'm not mistaken. is that right, rory? >> believe so, go ahead. blackburn: okay, i will go ahead and finish it. there are some senate things when you talk about the foreign policy. in tennessee everything begins with fort campbell and their participation and our national guard, the intel and the cyber units that are now at the 118th in middle tennessee. these are critical missions for our nation. you also have to look at what has happened with the work that secretary pompeo and president trump have done. we have been able to get isis on the run in syria. you have to look at the participation of russia and iran with syria, with china, with
north korea. and, by the way, i think they're all the new ax sit of evil -- axis of evil. you also realize that president trump made it very clear he was not going to draw a red line because -- >> thank you. blackburn: -- in syria. the russians ran right over that. >> governor? bredesen: i would just want to affirm and point out that the reason, one of the reasons we've been so effective over the years has been the enormous military strength of the united states. and just reaffirm my commitment to our men and women in uniform during the time i was governor i was, obviously, commander in chief of the national guard. we sent troops to arizona border, to iraq, to afghanistan, i traveled there to meet with them, and i want them to know i am completely committed to making sure that they have the tool the that they need. >> thank you, governor. >> moderator: final question before our closing statements, candidates, and we're just going to have 30 seconds for each of you to respond for time
purposes. name one policy decision you supported or failed to sport that you -- to support that you now regret. congressman. blackburn: one policy decision that i supported or failed to support. i probably would have put more energy into across the board spending cuts that i propose every single year in congress. because it's porn -- it's important to cut into that baseline and reduce what the federal government spends. and we want to see that spending level come down. it is immoral for this debt to be passed on to our children and our grandchildren. >> thank you. governor? bredesen: when i was, when i was 2000, we did a lot of -- when i does governor, we did a lot of things with education, and one of them was to start focusing on college readiness as ultimate goal of high school. i think i took that too far and should have focused more on other paths besides college
readiness in term the of making people ready for careers in orr fields that did not require that education. if i had it to do over again, i would certainly, i would change that. >> and now to closing statements. we start with congressman blackburn. blackburn: thank you. and to -- the clock says 30 seconds. >> moderator: yeah. two minutes, please, on the clock. blackburn: okay. is someone resetting? >> moderator: two minutes on the clock, thank you. blackburn: there we go. i want to say thank you for hosting us and having us all here this evening. i think that the viewers have had the opportunity to see some differences, some significant differences between phil and i. i am run aring to take -- running to take your tennessee values to washington d.c. phil has said he is running to end the dry spell for democrats in tennessee. he says he thinks that d.c. listens too much to voters. i think d.c. needs to listen more to voters, haha's what
draining the swamp is about. when it comes to debt and deficit, making those cuts, spending less is what we immediate to do. chuck schumer, who has bought and paid for this campaign, he is chuck schumer's number one recruit, chuck schumer spends more when he comes to phil and says vote for to spend more, he'll be there to do it. when it comes to dealing with health care in our rural or hospitals, i want patient-centered health care that is going to focus on you. he wants a government-paid system. i want to secure the border, build the wall, he calls that political theater. so there are some differences between us. you've heard a little bit about us and where i come from with my background. i grew up on a farm, went to college on a 4-h club scholarship, came to tennessee. chuck and i have two children, two grandchildren. we've worked in williamson
county to make it a great community. served in the state senate, led that fight against the state income tax and, no, it was not protest theres, it was the tennesseans standing up for their right to be state income tax free. and a majority of tennesseans agree with that. now i am running for the u.s. senate to take your values to washington. i am asking for you to -- >> thank you, congressman. two minutes, governor. bredesen: you know, i've come into this, i still have a high school civics view of my country. i think we have a brilliantly-designed government. i think our government can be an enormous force for good in our country and brechting -- and protecting our people and its lands. and i have to say it pains me so much about, with what has happened over the course of the past decade or two with everything becoming a part saab
issue -- partisan issue, with the inability to get things done. and it's just become a government of people stand thing on opposite sides of the room and shouting at each other and not making any progress. people certainly are going to have a choice, and if what people want, what the people of tennessee want is more of that sort of hard-nosed, partisan politics, take no prisoners, draw lines in the sand, make no compromises, i'm not your guy. and there's another person on the stage here and so on who is, who has been in washington for the last 16 years and shows it and is very steeped in that political philosophy and, frankly, has gotten very good at it. but if what you want is someone who, you know, brings some experience from the business world, brings some experience from being mayor and governor and in particular brings an attitude of wanting to start making things happen, of getting things done, of pushing the partisanship down and trying to
find some ways to actually solve problems, that's what i want to do, that's what my whole life has been about. if that's what people want, i would like to represent them in washington, and i'm applying for the job. >> thank you, governor. >> moderator: we want to thank you both for being here and thank our audience members and cumberland university. for david plazas, i'm rory johnston. have a good night, everyone. is long. [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, please remain at your seats as the
candidates depart. thank you. ♪ ♪ >> you're watching booktv on c-span2 with top nonfiction books and authors every weekend. booktv the, television for serious readers. .. coming up this weekend on book tv at 6:00 p.m. eastern. the wall street journal's matthew hennessey discovers of the book zero hour. the last adult generation can
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carol anderson discusses her book one person a no vote. how voter suppression is hosting our democracy. you look at the real world history of the right to vote it has been extremely contested and violently challenge at many points. i wanted to talk about that america is really an aspirational nation and its in it's in those aspirations that we the people we hold these truths to be self-evident. a leader of the free world. the skin of aspirations it's based on those aspirations and not those this kind of hard-core realities where people have fought in order to gain access to this with citizenships and rights.