Candidates trade jabs in Hawaii congressional debate - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Candidates trade jabs in Hawaii congressional debate

Posted: Updated:
Former US Rep. Ed Case Former US Rep. Ed Case
Councilmember Charles Djou Councilmember Charles Djou
State Senate Pres. Colleen Hanabusa State Senate Pres. Colleen Hanabusa

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Three veteran politicians waged a battle of big ideas Monday night. The live televised debate at the Blaisdell was both feisty and informative, giving voters a sense of the policies and personalities of the leading candidates for US House in Hawaii's first district.

"I'll respond when you actually answer the question on whether you would have voted against financial reform" said Democrat and former US Representative Ed Case to Republican Honolulu City Councilmember Charles Djou.

"I'll answer the question Ed, I'll answer the question when you answer whether or not your ambition is bigger than your principles" said Djou.

Trading jabs over voting records and past campaigns, candidates Djou, Case and Democratic Hawaii Senate President Colleen Hanabusa brought plenty of ammunition.

"When you ran for the Second Congressional District in 2002 and 2008 you repeatedly stated you were born, raised, and lived in the Second Congressional District. Do you still hold those positions now that you are seeking the First Congressional District?" Djou asked Hanabusa.

"Charles it was 2006, not 2008" said Hanabusa.

"Congressional District 2 has its unique characteristics, but Congressional District 1, those of us who are professionals who serve in government, we serve a lot of time with Congressional District 1… for the last four years I have been president of the senate, that means my focus has been statewide. So I believe Charles, I am able to represent people in District 1. Because after all, we are still one state."

On the Akaka Bill, all three say they support sovereign immunity for native Hawaiians. But Case and Djou want more discussion now. Hanabusa says the details can be worked out after Congress gives the okay.

On taxes, the Republican, Djou is firmly against increases.

"I'm proud of my record that I have never voted for a tax increase in my 10 years of elected office."

But Hanabusa and Case say the rich, who got tax cuts under President Bush don't need another break.

"I would support, a tax cut on the middle income people. Middle income people most people here, they can probably have those tax cuts. But everything else, the tax cuts on the wealthy, or the extension of the capital gains tax, they should not be extended" said Hanabusa.

"I think it was wrong to reduce taxes in the middle of a war… I thought it was irresponsible, I thought it drove us into a fiscal situation that is deep and dark that we are still digging ourselves out of" said Case.

With their strong words all three candidates got rounds of applause. Sometimes their simplest answers spoke volumes.

When asked ‘would you vote for Sarah Palin for president?' Djou said "probably not."

In the lightning round, when the two Democrats were asked ‘to keep from splitting your party, who's willing now to step out of the race?'

"I think Colleen is but I'm not" said Case.

Hanabusa shot back "I think Ed will really consider it, but not me."

Copyright 2010 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

Congressional debate videos
Menehune Water