Yesterday, Kansas Republican Reps. Jerry Moran and Todd Tiahrt, who are challenging each other for the state’s U.S. Senate seat, faced off in a debate hosted by Topeka’s NBC 27 television station. Both of the men were trying to one-up each other, attempting to prove who is the most right wing. One contentious issue was immigration, where Moran hit Tiahrt for once supporting the DREAM Act, which would provide undocumented high school graduates a path to legal residency and the chance to attend college. Tiahrt, however, quickly tried to explain why he has come around and now supports punishing children for the choices of their parents:
MORAN: [O]n two occasions, he’s [been] a co-sponsor of legislation called the DREAM Act, which provides amnesty and in-state tuition for children of those who were here illegally. [...]
TIARHT: Well, some time ago — a long time ago — I thought it was compassionate to not punish the children for the parents’ sins.
Watch a video of the exchange uploaded by the Moran campaign:
One difference during the debate was on the oil spill. While both lawmakers slammed both the Obama administration and BP for their response to the disaster, Tiahrt shielded the oil corporation from blame because, he said, “accidents happen”:
On the oil spill, the candidates were asked if they believed that “accidents will happen.”
“I think that is a true statement,” Tiahrt said.
Moran shot back saying, “I don’t think you write it off as accidents happen.”
The GOP senatorial primary is on Aug. 3. The Republican establishment has split in endorsing the two men, with Tiahrt receiving the backing of Sarah Palin, Sen. James Inhofe (OK), and Rep. Mike Pence (IN), and Moran supported by Sens. John McCain (AZ), Jim DeMint (SC), and Tom Coburn (OK).