Murkowski Contemptuous of Miller in Debate: "Not Fit"
12:05 PM, Oct 25, 2010 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
Senator Lisa Murkowski, the write-in candidate in the Alaska Senate race against Republican Joe Miller and Democrat Scott McAdams, oozed with contempt for Miller during a debate last night, which was televised on Alaska's KTUU:
Murkowski, who was appointed to the Senate 8 years ago by her father, probably didn't help herself much with these disparaging remarks. Her tone and even her word choice--"leading" the state rather than "serving"--betrays a sense of entitlement. And it's tough to argue that Miller, a man who won the Bronze Star in the first Gulf War, is unfit to lead.
Miller has been beset by gaffes, but he had a very strong performance during the debate and showed off his Yale law school intellect, nailing Murkowski for voting against funding a fence along the Mexican border and opposing the Arizona immigration law. On fiscal issues, Murkowski portrayed herself as a supporter of earmarks as well as repealing Obamacare and reforming entitlements. Opposing earmarks in Alaska may be politically difficult, but Miller hit back as effectively as one could:
Miller said later in the debate:
If Miller made a mistake in the debate, it was his decision to use his one shot to ask Murkowski a question to ask her about an obscure ethics issue of her own (Miller has been dogged by the press for improperly using computers at work for campaign purposes years ago). The Anchorage Daily News coverage focused mainly on the ethics debate, but Miller needs to run a professional, ideological campaign to win.
Jim DeMint's PAC has smartly cut an ad hitting Murkowski and McAdams for supporting taxpayer-funding of abortion--an issue that didn't come up in the debate. Murkowski didn't vote for abortion funding in Obamacare but has voted against a measure to deny federal "family planning" funding to Planned Parenthood, an organization performs 300,000 abortions per year. Murkowski also supports Roe v. Wade, so Miller can draw a much starker contrast between himself and Murkowski on the issue of abortion than on fiscal issues.
For more on the debate, see CNN's highlight reel, or watch the full debate in five parts: part 1, part 2, part 3, and part 4, and part 5. The race between Miller and Murkowski is a dead heat: in the RCP average of polls Miller leads Murkowski by 1 point, with McAdams trailing by 10.