The candidates for the new 18th Congressional District took part in a YNN sponsored debate at Marist College in Poughkeepsie. As Capital Tonight's Nick Reisman reports, both Republican Congresswoman Nan Hayworth and Democrat Sean Patrick Maloney used the time to reintroduce themselves to voters.
POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. -- Medicare, taxes and the Tea Party: Republican Congresswoman Nan Hayworth and her Democratic challenger Sean Patrick Maloney squared off in an hour long debate with both sides throwing sharp elbows. The debate was co-sponsored by YNN and Marist College.
Hayworth said, “Sean, certainly I tell when you're distorting the facts because your lips are moving.”
“It's hard to represent the community when you misrepresent the facts,” Maloney said.
Hayworth, running for her second term, was elected two years ago with significant Tea Party support. She has since tried to track more to the middle in a redrawn district that includes more Democrats, but Maloney insists she is part of the conservative wing of the Republican Party.
“I had Tea Party support in 2010 and I was proud to have the support of people who cherish the constitutionally defined role of the federal government. It's very important to have a federal government that respects our states,” Hayworth said.
Maloney, meanwhile, a former official in the Spitzer administration, has fought back charges that he doesn't actually live in the district and wouldn't say directly whether he plans to continue living in the area regardless of the election's outcome.
Maloney said, “I live in Cold Spring. I don't have to make any plans. I live there. That's my home.”
Both candidates sparred over Medicare, the health care program for the elderly and how best to create jobs. Hayworth says the 2010 health care measure commonly known as Obamacare, has hurt the program.
Hayworth said, “We need to make Medicare safe and secure for the future by putting back the $716 billion that was taken out by the massive health care law.”
But Maloney, who frequently mentioned his work in the Clinton administration, says the budgets Hayworth supported in Congress would overhaul Medicare and turn it into a voucher program.
Maloney said, “This is very clear they want to replace Medicare with a capped benefit. It's a voucher.”
The 18th Congressional District includes parts of Westchester and Dutchess counties, as well as all of Putnam County and Orange County.