November 1: Cleburne Times-Review
Senator visits Cleburne
By Kyle P. Whitecotton/Staff Writer
With early voting underway for the Nov. 7 election, U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison stopped in Cleburne on Saturday for a get-out-the-vote rally at the Johnson County GOP Headquarters. Fellow Republican nominees running for state and local offices, including State Rep. Rob Orr and congressional candidate Van Taylor joined her.
Hutchison focused on two issues in a speech to those gathered: tax cuts and the war on terror. She claimed her democratic opponent, Barbara Ann Radnofsky, wants to do away with tax cuts in light of the federal government's budget deficit. "What she doesn't understand is that because of the tax cuts we are bringing the deficit down at a greater rate than we even anticipated," Hutchison said. "We had the highest increase in federal revenue in 2005 than we have had in the history of the United States, and that's because of the tax cuts."
Radnofsky, speaking by telephone, disagreed.
"[Hutchison] has talked about federal dollars for the state and I have pointed out repeatedly that Texas is 41st in the country in receipt of our federal dollars back," Radnofsky said. "So we are in bad shape. We receive far fewer of our federal dollars than any other state, particularly in transportation. We are 49th in getting our transportation dollars here."
Hutchison talked about benefits of the tax cut.
"The tax cuts have produced a job market that is hitting the ceiling," Hutchison said. "Home ownership is at the greatest rate we have ever had. It has produced low unemployment. This economy is going great because we have low tax rates. If we elect people who are going to stop the tax cuts by not defending them, that's going to mean a tax increase."
Radnofsky spoke about flaws in the tax system and pointed to the alternate minimum tax, an extra tax some people have to pay on top of the regular income tax, as an unwanted burden.
"I believe we ought to eliminate the alternate minimum tax, and I've said repeatedly that the tax system is not fair and the alternate minimum tax is a burden on the middle class," Radnofsky said. "Right now we are spending $4 billion a week in Iraq, which dwarfs any advantages we could possibly have."
On the topic of the war on terror Hutchison said Radnofsky favors pulling U.S. troops from Iraq.
"Can you imagine anything worse than Congress setting a deadline and saying we're going to leave Iraq regardless of whether Iraq is stable or not," Hutchison said.
Radnofsky said she believes the government will be leaving and predicts it will be soon after the election.
"I believe we are destabilizing Iraq by our presence there," Radnofsky said. "Only by setting a deadline would we be able to extracate ourselves."
Hutchison said if the U.S. pulls its troops from Iraq, terrorists would follow the troops home and claim victory, leaving Iraq to become the breeding ground of terrorism.
"So I am not for cutting and running," Hutchison said. "I am for making sure that we keep our commitment in Iraq, that we keep our commitment in Afghanistan, that we show that we are going to win on their territory so they can't come to America and attack us again."
Radnofsky said the war in Iraq was hastily entered in to.
"I have an essay on Iraq that indicates Sen. Hutchison is more than wrong when she voted for the Iraq war," Radnofsky said. "She said it was a mistake and had she known about weapons of mass destruction she wouldn't have done it. However, she knew because the Senate had the classified weapons of mass destruction national intelligence estimate in October of 2002 available to her. Sen. [Bob] Graham on the floor of the Senate begged his colleagues to read that NIE, which showed that Saddam was not going to attack unless he was attacked. And it discounted many of the theories that we should be going to war."
Hutchison said this war is the "call of our generation" requiring a committed America. The fight for freedom, she said, is as important today as it has been in any other war in which America has fought.
"This is a fight for our children to grow up with the same opportunities we had," Hutchison said. "We are fighting a ferocious enemy; an enemy that wants to change the way of life all over the world."
Kyle P. Whitecotton can be reached at 817-654-2441, ext. 2336, or email@example.com.
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