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Full debate recap; not much new in April 20 republican primary senatorial debate - Question 6

What follows is a full question-by-question recap of the April 20 debate between the five republicans competing for the right to hammer Brad Ellsworth in November. Read carefully and then check out the story about the debate being hosted by the Indianapolis Tea Party coming up on Saturday, April 24.

There will be no candidate introductions in this article. If you want to know biographical information, visit their websites. Links will be included for your convenience.

There are 10 questions. Each one will have its own article. This is question 6. The others will all be linked to here:

Question 1 – What does representative government mean to you and what is more important to how you will vote; the will of the people or your personal convictions?

Question 2 – What are you going to do about the lack of bipartisanship in Washington?

Question 3 – If you are elected, what would be the topic and purpose of the first piece of legislation that you draft.

Question 4 – Are taxes a viable way to get out of debt and do you think limited government can exist in modern day America?

Question 5 – Would you support the recently signed treaty with Russia?


Question 7 – How will you go about cutting spending?


Question 8 – By what parameters would you decide to support a nominee for federal office?

Question 9 – What is your view on NAFTA and other free trade agreements that allow American business to send jobs overseas and get tax breaks?

Question 10 (Final) – What makes you exceptional over the four other people that makes you worthy of our vote?

This intro will precede each question.

The Scoring System
Each question will be shown, then the responses summarized in the order in which they were given during the debate. The best two answers will then be selected along with a worst answer award. Here are the criteria:

1. First and foremost, they have to actually answer the question. Recitation of talking points will be counted against the candidates.

2. Originality will play in as well. Obviously many candidates have similar views, but if they explain them in a clear personal manner they will score higher than if they rely on buzzwords like “Reagan” or resort to repetitive attacks on the latest health care bill.

3. Delivery is key. The senator we elect must not only vote the way we want, but they must be an advocate of our views. If the candidate cannot speak in a relatively non-hostile environment like this past debate without bumbling and tripping over their tongue, we cannot expect them to articulately advocate our views on the floor of the Senate.

4. Honesty is also critical. If the candidate’s response is disingenuous male bovine excrement or attempts to tactically skirt the truth of a candidate’s history on a particular subject, the candidate will be called out.

5. Last but not least, the quality of the politics behind the answer. Answers that pass the common sense test and will truly help America being the healing process from the disease that is liberalism will get the highest marks.

Disclaimer- Unless contained in quotes, the candidates’ answers are paraphrases. Also, this is my subjective assessment of the candidates’ performances. I am not working on the campaigns of any senatorial candidate and I am truly undecided as to who I will support. That being said, I have by biases against certain candidates on certain issues and those will come into play.

Question 6 – What is your stance on assault weapons bans, concealed carry reciprocity and a national gun registry?

Marlin Stutzman – Quoted George Washington that the second amendment is “liberty’s teeth.” Said that he will not support any additional restrictions on firearms ownership. Made a loose reference to ‘someone’ who supported bans on assault weapons.
Good answer overall. I thought he was going to attack Coats, only to be disappointed that he did not.

Richard Behney – Said that the second amendment is important and that he supports it.
In Behney’s captain obvious moment it was clear that he did not have a prepared talking point on this question. This was a big time softball for a conservative during a republican primary, and Behney barely made contact.

John Hostettler – Said that he opposed new restrictions and has a history of opposing the assault weapons’ ban and opposing a national gun registry. Cited his legislative support for requiring national reciprocity on concealed carry permits and referenced the power of Congress to regulate interstate issues.
Great answer. With a solid record like his, this was a sure homerun for Hostettler. Support for national reciprocity is huge. State’s do not have a right to ignore the second amendment because they do not like it.

Don Bates Jr. – Said that he will not support any new restrictions on the right to bear arms. He made a glancing reference to Coat’s past support of the assault weapons’ ban but stopped short of taking him to task for it.
Arrggghh! So close. I thought he was going to go after Coats. It would have put the icing on an otherwise simple but unspectacular answer.

Dan Coats – Said that he would not support any additional restrictions on the right to bear arms. Said that the second amendment guarantees the right of an individual to protect his family, the sportsman to hunt or target shoot and the collector to keep and maintain. Said this right is guaranteed by the Constitution. Said gun rights should stay “right where they are.”
Blood actually shot out of my eyes here. For those of you who have not paid attention thus far, Dan Coats voted FOR the fear-mongering inspired Clinton Assault Weapons’ Ban and the over reaching Brady Bill. No one challenged him on those votes and he pretended that they never happened when he answered. Now, to be fair, the Ban was built into a law enforcement spending bill and the bill passed with 95 votes with other notable republican yes votes from John McCain, Richard Lugar, Bob Dole, Mitch McConnell and Chuck Grassley. However, this does not excuse an unprincipled vote nor does it explain the Brady Bill support. Coats needs to address this issue ASAP.

The Verdict
Top Answer: John Hostettler
– Great answer from a guy with a rock solid 2nd Amendment record. He does more than just voting the right way, he is an active advocate of gun rights issues.
Honorable Mention: Marlin Stutzman – Another solid answer from a guy with an A+ NRA rating. He just lacks the history of advocacy that Hostettler has and thus his answer was not quite as strong.
Worst Answer Award: Dan Coats – No surprise here. There are democrats with better gun rights records than Coats. He might be able to provide some comfort to gun owners who would otherwise support him, but he has not made an effort. You cannot just pretend that your voting history does not exist and hope no one ever challenges you on it.

Check out the other questions by following the links at the beginning of the story!


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