In some of their most spirited face-to-face exchanges to date, Republican Tim Griffin and Democrat Joyce Elliott sparred early and often in their last formal debate for the Second Congressional District seat being vacated by Rep. Vic Snyder.
Elliott accused Griffin of distorting his record, which Griffin defended, according to this report from John Lyon with our content partner, the Arkansas News Bureau.
“I have been attacked relentlessly throughout this campaign,” Griffin said. “I know that’s part of campaigns; I’ve been in campaigns. But I’m used to the facts being used, and in this particular campaign there’s been a lot of distortions.”
Griffin said an Elliott ad calling him the “11th most corrupt candidate for Congress,” based on an assessment by the group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, has been criticized by several newspapers as false.
Elliott responded, “As far as anything I have said out there, I will absolutely challenge you to take a look at what’s been said by folks who have done their homework, I have not made up anything about Mr. Griffin.”
Elliott said she has criticized Griffin for his role in the 2006 firing of U.S. Attorney Bud Cummins — whom Griffin replaced as interim U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas — based on facts in a report by the Office of the Inspector General. She said the report shows that “at the same time he was being friendly with Mr. Cummins, (Griffin) was spreading rumors about him, or slander, whatever you want to call it” that Cummins was lazy.
Griffin said a full reading of the report shows that the list of U.S. attorneys that then-President Bush’s Justice Department wanted to replace was put together before he was involved.
Griffin criticized Elliott for having worked as a lobbyist for the College Board and said that “while my opponent has not had a lot of business-community support, she has had an overwhelming amount of union support.”
Elliott said she was proud to have worked for “a pittance” to improve education while Griffin made hundreds of thousands of dollars working for lobbying firms, though not as a registered lobbyist.
David Goins with our content partner, Fox 16 News, highlights several exchanges in the debate, which was sponsored by the Political Animals Club. Notably, Griffin and Elliott sparred over health care, tax cuts and job creation.
"I hear stories everyday of people coming back from China & businessmen say ‘folks in China were willing to do anything it takes to get our business.’ We’ve got to have that attitude here," Griffin said.
"Do we really want to have our workers treated the same way they’re treated in China? Is that what we want for America? No. What we want is fair trade," Elliott responded.
“I was not comparing our workers here in the United States with workers in China,” Griffin reiterated. “What I was saying is that China is going out of its way to do things to get business and we have to change to compete."
You can read and watch more of Goins‘ coverage at this link.