The two major-party candidates who seek Iowa’s First District congressional seat faced off Monday night in Dubuque in their second debate. Democrat Bruce Braley of Waterloo and Republican Mike Whalen of Bettendorf were questioned about the recent North Korean nuclear test. Braley says he’d like to see tougher sanctions handed down along with the enforcement of existing treaties.
Braley says “We need to show that we can work with our allies in the world, including the important allies in that part of the world, China, Japan, South Korea and Russia, to send a strong, clear message to North Korea that we will not tolerate nuclear proliferation in the Korean peninsula.” Whalen demanded that China and the United Nations become more involved in communicating with North Korea.
Whalen says “We have to be strong in the global fight over terrorism because there are people out there that have different ideas than ours. We can’t just simply retreat back to the shores of America and think that we’re going to get that job done. The world is, unfortunately, a scary place.” Perhaps the greatest divide of opinions between Whalen and Braley was over the war in Iraq. Whalen, in an open plea to President Bush, says the successes in the Middle East are not being articulated to the American people.
Whalen says “Mr. President, you need to make that case a lot clearer to the American people, because if you don’t, we are going to lose the war gradually, because nobody is for the war but we have to win the global war on terrorism and you need to make that case strong.” Braley was vehement in demanding a change in strategy in Iraq.
Braley says “We can’t just keep doing what we’ve been doing and staying the course is not a strategy for success. If you want someone who’s going to rubber-stamp President Bush’s failed policy in Iraq, vote for my opponent. But if you want someone who’s going to ask the tough questions and demand answers from President Bush, send me to Washington.”
On the escalation of negative advertising in their campaigns, Braley challenged Whalen to contact the Republican National Campaign Committee to stop the misleading ads in the Iowa market, while Whalen accused Braley of funding the majority of his campaign from contributions from trial lawyers across the country. Monday’s debate was sponsored by the Cedar Rapids Gazette, Dubuque Telegraph Herald and KCRG-TV.