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Candidates for Congress clash

46th District hopeful Cook is considered the strongest opponent incumbent Rohrabacher has faced in decades.

October 21, 2008|By Alan Blank

Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher on Tuesday accused Democratic congressional opponent Debbie Cook of obfuscating her position on the federal financial rescue plan, while Cook called Rohrabacher’s no vote on the proposal irresponsible.

During the first and only scheduled debate among the four candidates for the 46th Congressional District at OCC, the two major party candidates also clashed on their respective visions for healthcare reform and their positions on amending the California Constitution to ban gay marriage.

The inclusion of the two third-party candidates — Tom Lash of the Green Party and Ernst Gasteiger of the Libertarian Party — along with a raucous, packed house made for an extremely charged atmosphere in which loud boos and riotous applause obscured some candidates’ answers to questions.

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Rohrabacher repeatedly grilled Cook, the mayor of Huntington Beach, to give a yes or no answer on whether she agreed with the multibillion-dollar federal financial rescue package passed by Congress a few weeks ago.

Although she initially had reservations, Cook said it was imperative for the government to intervene in the economic crisis, but she would not give an unconditional endorsement of the rescue plan, which Rohrabacher voted against both times it came up for consideration in the House.

She likened the nation’s financial situation to a house of cards balancing on very unstable financial instruments that, if allowed to disintegrate, would take the rest of the economy with them.

Without infusing money into the nation’s financial institutions, there would be no liquidity in the market, which would have dire effects on many things, Cook said.

People’s retirement money would be drained, students couldn’t get loans, and the economy in general would freeze up, she said.

“I can’t see America doing what it did during the Great Depression when the government did not step in ... Don’t allow people to frame this to you as a Wall Street bailout,” Cook said. “I know what happens when the banks collapse. I know what happens when people can’t get loans.”

After the debate, she said she would have most likely voted for the plan despite pressure from her campaign telling her that it was unpopular to support it.

Rohrabacher is adamantly against the bailout, saying financial institutions that made bad decisions should be allowed to fail.

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