Indiana Daily Student

Long Thompson’s last shot

WE SAY In a debate about character, Mitch Daniels holds most of his ground

Mitch Daniels viewed getting arrested in college as his biggest mistake, much of Andy Horning’s Libertarian policy revolves around how he found Jesus, and Jill Long Thompson grew up on a family farm learning the value of hard work and integrity.

Hoosiers couldn’t be more prepared to vote Nov. 4. Not unless they wanted to know a little more about the issues.

The gubernatorial debate held Tuesday in the IU Auditorium focused mostly on personal questions of character and ethics.

Long Thompson kept trying to make the case against Daniels. There were a lot of numbers. She claimed unemployment had gone up by 2 percent. The number has fluctuated from 6.1 percent in January 2005 to 4.6 percent in October 2006 to 6.4 percent in August 2008. She also claimed Hoosiers earn 87 cents on the dollar for everyone else in the country.

The tension that sprung up between her and Daniels was the best part of the debate. The moderator was right to allow extensive rebuttal.

Long Thompson, once again, tried to frame Daniels as a tax raiser. Daniels did, as one of his first acts as governor, propose a 1 percent surtax on incomes of more than $100,000 for one year.

Long Thompson’s repeated attacks against the governor’s cigarette tax increase, however, continue to seem odd seeing that revenue from the tax went to creating a new program to expand health insurance coverage.

Long Thompson also charged Daniels with botching the investment of funds gained from privatizing the toll road. She suggested much of it had been invested in junk bonds and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Thompson seemed to be stretching and Daniels was right in pointing out that Indiana Treasurer Richard Mourdock is responsible for managing these funds and holds his own elected office. At the same time Daniels suggested, rather oddly, that the investment was good now because Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have been taken over by the government.

Some of the back-and-forth seemed to irritate Daniels, who let out a comment about wanting to see Long Thompson “kinder and gentler tonight” – probably making quite a few viewers squirm. As for Long Thompson, the way she tried to twist every question into a K.O. made it clear she thought she needed to win this debate. 

At points Daniels was confident enough to compliment Democrats and avoid religious pandering.

Long Thompson, by stretching too many of her arguments, came off as a candidate who is still just trying to break through.

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