Pam Spaulding

NC: Jim Neal and Kay Hagan spar in only televised debate

Filed By Pam Spaulding | May 02, 2008 8:50 AM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: 2008 Election, Jim Neal, Kay Hagan, North Carolina, U.S. Senate

North Carolina U.S. Senate candidates Jim Neal and Kay Hagan faced off Tuesday in a televised debate from UNC-Greensboro (Full video is on Spartan TV). NC LGBT news outlet Q-Notes has excellent coverage of the debate and what is included in the clip below of answers to the LGBT question that came up.

Video, transcript, and more, after the jump.

iPhone users: Click to watch

On LGBT Civil Rights, the candidates were asked their positions on the current "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy of the U.S. Armed Forces and hate crimes legislation.

Hagan, who has been accused of sidestepping questions on LGBT issues and refusing to openly discuss LGBT equality publicly, loosened up and spoke frankly regarding her policy positions on DADT and hate crimes.

"We have lost a lot of good people who have been doing good service to our country," Hagan said. "We need good capable people serving us in the military. I think we ought to do away with that policy. I also support hate crimes legislation."

In the past, the Hagan campaign has refused to answer questions regarding the senator's gay rights positions when asked by Q-Notes staff. Hagan has also not spoken directly to LGBT media, standing in stark opposition to Neal's consistent and open discussion with a wide array of LGBT-focused outlets. Hagan also refused to answer direct questions regarding equality issues from Durham, N.C., blogger Pam Spaulding during an April 1 live blog.

Hagan has also stated she believes marriage should be reserved for heterosexual couples, but that the issue should be left up to the states.

...Neal, who is openly gay, called DADT "flawed legislation" and said he was against "any kind of discrimination, against any person, for any reason." He said he is against the nation forcing its citizens to lie about their identities in order to serve their country.

Neal also noted the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Loving v. Virginia, reminding Williams, an African-American, of the history of discrimination in North Carolina and America, especially as it related to constitutional marriage prohibitions.

By the way, Hagan's campaign still hasn't responded to my other questions (including the Loving v. Virginia conundrum), or those from BlueNC members.

What is the most interesting and shocking aspect of the debate is DSCC/Schumer-backed Hagan's pronouncement that she has already won the primary because she's running against Elizabeth Dole. The young moderator had to remind her that there's a vote on Tuesday to determine that.

Watch it (about a minute from the end).

iPhone users: Click to watch

Take a look at these closing statements and decide which candidate has the best command of the issues:
* Jim Neal and Kay Hagan on Iraq War
* Jim Neal and Kay Hagan on Alaska oil drilling
* Neal's closing statement
* Hagan's closing statement

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Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | May 2, 2008 9:39 AM

Like the lawyer of a murderer a politician will say anything to offend the fewest and attract the most.

How great it is that these questions are being asked in North Carolina rather than at the presidential debates? So she wants to take on Lizzy Dole eh? Well, she had better hitch up her iron panties and plan on swimming upstream. It would be a good thing for her to lose. I'm sure Bob Dole, and the makers of Viagra, would love a new commercial including free time for Mrs. Dole wearing something flimsy with "bed hair" and a satisfied look.

Interesting debate. Although I think that her comment about running against Dole is just standard issue "I'm going to win," like how they introduce presidential candidates as "the next president of the United States."

Still, in her strange way, she answered the question. But I liked Jim's answer better. :)

Personally, I'm beginning to wish I could be in NC just to vote for Jim to stick it in her eye. Imagine how much further he could have gotten if only HRC and Victory Fund had supported his candidacy. They should both be ashamed.