Shea-Porter, Bradley trade barbs at debate

BEDFORD – The roles were reversed Friday in the tight 1st Congressional District race as Democratic congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter became the defensive incumbent scolding challenger

Jeb Bradley for spreading falsehoods about her record.

In 2006, Shea-Porter, of Rochester, was the Jeb Bradley for spreading falsehoods about her record.

In 2006, Shea-Porter, of Rochester, was the newcomer who unleashed a respectful but steady attack at the debates on Bradley, who held the seat at the time.

This time, the two tangled over taxes, health care and financial security, all aimed at senior citizens during their first debate before the state chapter of the AARP at the C.R. Sparks Events Center.

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Bradley also took off on the offensive from the opening bell saying Shea-Porter should have stayed in Washington to work on an alternative after voting against the $700 billion bailout for Wall Street.

“Carol Shea-Porter voted for a bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac with no reform,” Bradley said.

“We cannot be allowing banks pushed by the federal government to make high risk loans to customers who don’t have the credit.”

Shea-Porter said there was reform with the Fannie-Freddie bailout last month, but, that as a congressman for four years, Bradley was responsible for a lack of regulation on reckless investment banking practices.

“What happened was a financial Wild West for the past eight years where there was no regulation and no controls at all,” Shea-Porter said.

“I would point out Congressman Bradley was in Congress for four of those years.”

On taxes, Bradley accused Shea-Porter of supporting a House budget that would lead to a return of the marriage penalty for couples filing jointly and a cut in the tax credit families get for child-care expenses.

“Carol, you voted to bring back the marriage penalty, that is middle-class taxpayers. You voted to shrink the child tax credit on middle class families that have children,” Bradley said.

“You even went to the extreme extent to voting to raise the taxes on senior citizens who depend on retirement system.”

On the latter, Bradley was referring to raising capital gains tax rates on investment income.

Shea-Porter insisted those charges were without foundation and she only voted to raise taxes on those making more than $250,000 a year.

“You shouldn’t win anything that bad that you are willing to tell stories. I am very disappointed,” Shea-Porter snapped at Bradley.

“I didn’t raise any taxes. You know it; I know it; (former Republican Sen.) Warren Rudman knows it. That’s the truth.”

Bradley angered her most on her decision in July to support a summer recess while energy prices were sky high.

Shea-Porter said Congress took August off every year Bradley was in the House, and she claimed she has not taken a day off her two years in office.

Bradley answered that the facts are the facts.

“Well, that vote was 213-212 to go on vacation. You were on vacation so how is that not being the deciding vote?” Bradley shot back in response.

“Had I been in Congress, I would have voted the other way, and we would have stayed in Washington and gotten the job done on a good energy bill.”

On Social Security, Shea-Porter said she would vote to raise the tax on those making more than $102,000 a year. Presently, the tax is not applied on income above that level.

“I think we need to raise the cap so as to make sure that it is saved,” Shea-Porter said.

She went on to label Bradley, a Wolfeboro resident, as someone who’s too rich to understand what the working class goes through.

“I am the one from the middle class,” she began. You say you understand what average Americans are experiencing. You really don’t. You have been very blessed; you have never had to worry about this.”

Bradley attacked Shea-Porter’s proposal as another tax-raising solution that will hurt the country’s most productive citizens, many of whom own businesses that create jobs.

She is always looking for taxpayers to bail out the government and then that’s what she is trying to do with this issue.

“If we raise the cap as she proposed again and have taxpayers to bail out the government, we aren’t going to have the benefits that our kids are going to need from Social Security,” Bradley said.

Bradley said he opposes letting young workers invest their money in private accounts but later said the solution will require bipartisan cooperation on Capitol Hill and no idea should be taken off the table.