The second and final debate between Randy Neugebauer, Charlie Stenholm and Richard Peterson was essentially a re-broadcast of Monday's debate. The farm bill, health care, and social security were all touched on with an occasional jab between Neugebauer and Stenholm.
The most interesting question? A panelist asked, "Of the following five criteria, which one holds the most weight when you're deciding how to vote - conscience, constituents, contributors, country or party affiliation?" Stenholm said he votes his conscience, Neugebauer said he asks, "Is it right with God." And while that may be the way they vote, how does that jibe with the way they campaign?
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The campaign ads of the kindly old man sitting in the barber shop, having trouble pronouncing Neugebauer's name are gone. The ads now are all out for political blood. How does that reflect on Neugebauer's much professed core, Christian values and how does he thinks it resonates with the voters? "Well what we're talking about is voting records, and I think that is very important, and it's not what we're saying about the voting records, we are letting other organizations that track, for example, conservative Christian values, were saying go to those organizations and look at the score card and that is really what we think is important. Not to take one particular vote, but to go taxes, senior issues, family values, who has the highest rating, and unfortunate for Mr. Stenholm, Neugebauer has the highest rating on all of those report cards," said Neugebauer.
One of Neugebauer's ads says there's a "Charlie Washington" who bounced 88 checks. What does that have to do with Stenholm's stance on policy? "Well when you talk about deficit spending I think Mr. Stenholm must know a lot about deficit spending," smiled Neugebauer.
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As for congressman Stenholm? The campaign ad of him holding his wife's hand on the campus of Texas Tech relating a love story is gone, replaced with negative ads as well. Why did you he decide to go that route and how does he think that resonates with voters? "Well, I don't' think anybody likes it, but from the standpoint of what you're seeing is said about me, we felt like we had to respond in-kind, and we're trying to stick to the facts. And with all do respect my opponent, you will find a lot of things in his ads that border right on the edge of being very improper," said Stenholm.
When asked if they were worried about voter backlash, Neugebauer didn't answer yes or no. Stenholm said that was for the people of the 19th district to decide.