A Message From David Sanders

My Republican opponent had refused to respond to requests for his participation in a debate from the media and me since June. Under pressure he finally arranged to have a debate just before Election Day at 10AM. I had been interested in having a series of debates—one in Bedford, one in Johnson County, one in Hendricks and one in Tippecanoe.
It is disappointing that so few people in the district were able to see or hear the debate for themselves. The most revealing incident occurred just before the debate began. Congressman Buyer approached me and before an open microphone uttered the first words he had spoken to me in the entire campaign. It was something to the effect of, “Outside of my presence, you have called me a liar and mocked my military service. That makes you a fool or a coward. ”He obviously has me confused for someone else. I have never called the Congressman a liar or mocked his military service. Congressman Buyer’s opponent in the Republican primary said those things; I never did. Indeed in a May 20, 2004 press conference I stated, “I am not questioning Congressman Buyer's military service. ”It was Buyer’s Congressional and campaign staff that lost no opportunity to hurl epithets at me. I never responded in kind. I did cite contradictions between his statements at various times, but always provided documentation so the voter could render his own decision.
Reading his responses from a staff-prepared binder Congressman Buyer explicitly endorsed outsourcing of American jobs. I reiterated my opposition to bad free trade agreements such as NAFTA and the agreements based on it—Congressman Buyer is the only current Indiana Congressman to have supported NAFTA. I also opposed the privatization of Social Security and affirmed the need for legislation to protect pensions.
Congressman Buyer denied having advocated the use of nuclear weapons in Afghanistan despite the numerous citations of his position including direct quotes such as “Put a tactical nuclear device in, and close these caves for a thousand years. "He, in fact, defended his advocacy of using nuclear weapons from the very stage in Plainfield where he denied it the other day. Furthermore, his Congressional and campaign staff has always admitted, including to a reporter less than a week before the debate, that he advocated the use of nuclear weapons in Afghanistan; they have downplayed the issue by saying that it was only “tactical” nuclear weapons, as though that somehow mitigated the seriousness of unleashing weapons of mass destruction.
Congressman Buyer, when presented with evidence that he had favored the military draft in the past, did not deny this position. I pointed out that Congressman Buyer had belittled an alternative plan of enhancing college benefits for those who serve in the military by saying that those who joined the military in order to go to college were “pantywaists. ”I did not add that he had also ridiculed members of the Air Force calling them "pampered" saying that if they don't get their "air conditioning and … pizza on time" they complain.
Congressman Buyer also repeated his story about how he had complained to the head of OPEC about price gouging in 1998.I responded that in 1998 petroleum prices were at record lows ($10 a barrel), and the United States was actually insisting that the low price was driving American oil companies out of business.
We also discussed reimportation of prescription drugs, stem cell research, energy policy, the affordability of college, etc., but I’ve made my positions clear on these issues especially my opposition to the assault by the Bush Administration and the Republican Congress, including Congressman Buyer, upon the environment and the integrity of science.  
If only everyone in the district could have seen the debate including the preliminaries…


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