Chocola and Donnelly Debate
by FOX 28, South Bend
October 3, 2006
It's one of the most heated mid-term elections, and Tuesday night, for the first time in this race, Chris Chocola and Joe Donnelly squared off.
The debate began with both candidates thanking the audience and each other, but the tone quickly changed.
Chris Chocola says, "I was disappointed and I think many others are that Joe has chosen not to do a full schedule of debates."
Joe Donnelly says, "I'm not criticizing you for being a federalist. I'm criticizing you for not making an effort and rolling over for Mitch Daniels."
The attacks were not unexpected. For the past few months, both candidates have been saturating the airwaves with negative political ads. When asked why they chose this as a campaign tactic, Donnelly said he never wanted the election to be negative.
Joe Donnelly says, "They began attacking me back in May. I never even ran a commercial until mid-August. And at some point you either have to defend yourself or people believe it. So I'm gong to defend myself because people want a Congressman who is willing to stand up and tell the truth."
Chris Chocola says, "Every ad that I ran on TV since I started running for Congress has been accurate, factual and documented. I think it's important for people to see the difference between the two of us."
Differences evident on many national issues... health care, education, the war in Iraq, immigration.
Chris Chocola says, "He says I support a pathway to citizenship. A pathway to citizenship by definition is amnesty. It's rewarding bad behavior."
Joe Donnelly says, "We need secure boarders. We need to enforce employment law. We need to have no amnesty."
But they are even further apart on local issues.... one raised by concerned citizens at the debate... the Fulton County Line Landfill.
Chris Chocola says, "If you stop out of state garbage from coming to the county line landfill, that's 2.3 million dollars that ceases to come to this community."
Joe Donnelly says, "Fulton County should not be the dumping ground for Ohio, Pennsylvania and Illinois."
Another concern addressed is over the use and production of ethanol.
Joe Donnelly says, "I have stood for ethanol at every turn. Because I criticized oil company tax breaks, my opponent said I was against ethanol."
Chris Chocola says, "It really sounds great that you support the ethanol bill that actually had a direct result of the ethanol plants including one in Fulton County, you said you would have voted no."
Their views may be miles apart, but they share a common goal... the desire to represent the people of Indiana's 2nd Congressional District.
This is the first of three scheduled debates between the 2 candidates. However, this was the only debate where the two would speak in front of a live audience.