October 14th, 2010
09:37 AM ET
4 years ago

Coons: O'Donnell 'strayed from the truth' in debate

(CNN) – Delaware Democratic Senate nominee Chris Coons said he didn't hear much substance from opponent Christine O'Donnell in their debate Wednesday night.

"I mostly heard attacks, criticism, personal, catch slogans, but not a lot of real substance about what she would do moving forward," Coons told CNN's "American Morning" on Thursday.

"As we got farther and farther into the debate I think she got sharper, more personal and strayed a little farther from the truth in terms of characterizing my record here," Coons said.

According to the most recent CNN/Time/Opinion Research Corporation poll of likely voters, O'Donnell trails Coons by 19 percentage points. The survey had a sampling error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

FULL RUSHED TRANSCRIPT:

KIRAN CHETRY: 15 MINUTES PAST THE HOUR. A SHOT OF THE ELECTION EXPRESS BUS HERE ON THE UNIVERSITY OF DELAWARE CAMPUS WITH A GREAT TIME LAST NIGHT WATCHING THE DELAWARE SENATE DEBATE BETWEEN CHRISTINE O'DONNELL AND CANDIDATE CHRIS COONS. A LOT WAS DISCUSSED LAST NIGHT AND JOINING US THIS MORNING, WE'RE VERY HAPPY THAT CANDIDATE CHRIS COONS DECIDED TO WAKE UP WITH US AND TALK POST GAME AFTER LAST NIGHT'S DEBATE. THANK YOU FOR BEING WITH US.

CHRIS COONS: THANKS FOR THE CHANCE TO BE HERE.

KIRAN CHETRY: WE WATCHED THE DEBATE WITH A LOT OF DELAWARE VOTERS LAST NIGHT AT A RESTAURANT RIGHT OFF CAMPUS, AND SOME OF THE CRITICISM OF YOU OFF THE BAT IS THEY FELT THAT YOU WERE IN SOME CASES DISMISSIVE OF CHRISTINE O'DONNELL. HOW DO YOU VIEW HER AS A COMPETITION? DO YOU THINK THAT SHE'S A VIABLE CANDIDATE?

CHRIS COONS: WELL, I TAKE HER SERIOUSLY. SHE IS THE NOMINEE OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY AND I THINK PARTLY WHY CONGRESSMAN CASTLE DIDN'T WIN IS HE DIDN'T TAKE HER SERIOUSLY ENOUGH. FOLKS IN DELAWARE ARE ANGRY, FRUSTRATED AND LOOKING FOR SOLUTIONS. WITH 35,000D WITH 35,00 DELAWARIANS OUT OF WORK, I DIDN'T HEAR SUBSTANCE ABOUT WHAT SHE WOULD DO MOVING FORWARD AND WHAT I WAS HOPING WOULD COME OUT OF THE FIRST DEBATE LAST NIGHT WAS A CHANCE FOR DELAWARE'S VOTERS TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE EXPERIENCE, THE BACKGROUND, OUR VIEWS AND PLANS FOR HOW TO MOVE DELAWARE FORWARD.

KIRAN CHETRY: IN HER INTRODUCTION SHE SAID THAT IF YOU WANT SOMEONE TO RAISE YOUR TAXES IN WASHINGTON JUST LIKE HE'S DONE HERE IN NEW CASTLE, COUNTY, AND THEN HE'S YOUR GUY. DID YOU FIND THAT UPSETTING?

CHRIS COONS: WELL, THAT UPSET ME LESS THAN THE THINGS FURTHER ON. GETTING FURTHER AND FURTHER INTO THE DEBATE, SHE WAS SHARPER, PERSONAL, STRAYED FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH.

KIRAN CHETRY: SHE ALSO SAID SHE DIDN'T GROW UP WITH A TRUST FUND LIKE YOU. DID YOU FIND THAT UPSETTING?

CHRIS COONS: WHAT DISTURBED ME IS SHE WASN'T FOCUSING ON THE ISSUES. MY FAMILY STARTED A BUSINESS. MY STEPFATHER STARTED A BUSINESS HERE IN THE BASEMENT WITH HIS PARENTS AND ALONG WITH MUCH OF MY FAMILY AND HUNDREDS OF HARD WORKING WORK ING WORKING PEOPLE, IT GREW TO BE SUCCESSFUL. I THOUGHT THAT'S WHAT ALL OF US TRIED TO DO AND THAT'S WHAT I'D LIKE TO DO IN WASHINGTON SO MORE FAMILY HAVES THE EXPERIENCE OF BEING SUCCESSFUL AND MORE KIDS GO TO COLLEGE AND GROW OUT OF THIS RECESSION. FRANKLY, I HAVE SURPRISED TO HAVE A REPUBLICAN ATTACKING ME FOR THE SUCCESS OF MY FAMILY AND FOR THE HARD WORK THAT WE HAVE PUT INTO THE COMMUNITY.

KIRAN CHETRY: SHE WAS - I GUESS, USING THAT TO DEFEND WHY SHE HAD UNPAID COLLEGE BILLS AND LIKE MANY AMERICANS I LIVED IN DEBT OR HAD TROUBLE MAKING ENDS MEET AND IT WAS INTERESTING BECAUSE IN THE BEGINNING OF THE DEBATE SHE HAD YOU SORT OF DEFENDING PRESIDENT OBAMA, SOME OF HIS POLICIES AS SHE TALKED ABOUT THE STIMULUS PROVIDING NO JOBS, LOSING 2 MILLION JOBS AND ON AND ON. DO YOU AGREE WITH HOW THIS ADMINISTRATION HAS HANDLED THE ECONOMIC CRISIS AND THE UNEMPLOYMENT RATE?

CHRIS COONS: TAKE THE STIMULUS, FOR EXAMPLE. THERE WERE REAL POSITIVE THING THAT IS HAVE COME OUT OF THE STIMULUS BUT I HAVE PUBLICLY CRITICIZED AND DISAGREED WITH SOME OF HOW IT'S BEEN DELIVERED AND THE SPENDING. SOME OF ITS IMPACT. TOOK TOO LONG FOR A LOT OF MONEY TO GET OUT. SOME NOT SPENT IN THE BEST WAYS BUT I KNOW PEOPLE AND MET PEOPLE AND WORK WITH PEOPLE WHOSE JOBS WERE FUNDED AND MADE POSSIBLE THROUGH THE STIMULUS. INVESTMENTS IN ENERGY EFFICIENCIES AND EXPANDING JOBS HERE IN DELAWARE. I WAS JUST DOWN AT THE PORT OF WILMINGTON FOR A RIBBON CUTTING OF A NEW FACILITY AT THE PORT MADE POSSIBLE BY BONDS THAT THE COUNTY OFFERED TO A PRIVATE EMPLOYER THAT PUT 150 CONSTRUCTION GUYS TO WORK. I THINK THAT'S A REAL POSITIVE IMPACT.

KIRAN CHETRY: IT'S A DELICATE BALANCE. SOME OF THE ANGER THAT'S BEEN SORT OF SHOWN BY THE TEA PARTY HAS BEEN ABOUT WHAT YOU WOULD SAY IS A DEVELOPMENT PROJECT AND WHAT OTHERS CALL PORK SO THAT WE GO TO WASHINGTON AND SECURE PROJECTS FOR THE HOME STATE AND THAT'S WHAT'S WRONG WITH INCUMBENTS AND WHY THERE'S INCOUPLE BENT ANGER. IF YOU WERE TO GO TO WASHINGTON WOULD YOU SAY NO TO PORK BARREL SPENDING, TO ANY TYPE OF SPENDING OUTSIDE OF THE PROGRAMS THAT WE HAVE TO SPEND ON INCLUDING MEDICARE AND BENEFITS, AS WELL AS MILITARY SPENDING? I MEAN, WOULD YOU HOLD THE LINE ON OTHER SPENDING?

CHRIS COONS: WELL, LET'S BE CLEAR ABOUT WHAT YOU ARE SAYING. WOULD YOU HOLD THE LINE ON THIS OR THAT. I THINK IT'S IMPORTANT TO INVEST IN INFRASTRUCTURE TO PUT PEOPLE TO WORK AND STRENGTHEN THE ECONOMY. THE PROJECT AT THE PORT OF WILMINGTON I'M TALKING ABOUT WILL CREATE MORE HIGH QUALITY, LONG-TERM JOBS FOR DALE WARE. THIS WAS FUNDED MOSTLY THROUGH THE PRIVATE SECTOR. THE WORK WAS DONE IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR AND CREATES PRIVATE SECTOR JOBS. I DON'T THINK THAT'S PORK BARREL SPENDING BUT HELPING TO STIMULATE THE LOCAL ECONOMY. MY RECORD –

KIRAN CHETRY: YOU WERE BOTH ASKED WHERE WOULD YOU CUT? WHERE WOULD YOU CUT BESIDES AND I KNOW YOU TALKED ABOUT THIS TRYING TO FIND A WAY OUT OF THE WAR IN AFGHANISTAN AND STOP WITH THE DEFENSE SPENDING?

CHRIS COONS: I TALKED LAST NIGHT ABOUT A NUMBER OF THINGS, A FREEZE ON DISCRETION NATION NON-DEFENSE SPENDING. SOMETHING THE PRESIDENT SUPPORTED AND I WOULD SUPPORT. THAT WOULD REDUCE A SIGNIFICANT AMOUNT OF PROJECTED INCREASES IN SPENDING IN THREE YEARS. SECOND, THERE'S A NUMBER OF PROGRAMS IN OTHER DEPARTMENTS, DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, PRICE SUPPORTS FOR COMMODITIES THAT NO LONGER NEED PRICE SUPPORTS AND MORE PRICE SUPPORT OF CORPORATE AGRICULTURE THAN THE FAMILY FARMS THEY WERE DESIGNED TO SUPPORT. THERE'S A NUMBER OF DEFENSE PROJECTS WHERE EVEN THE PENTAGON SAID THEY DON'T WANT THE PARTICULAR PLATFORMS ANYMORE. THE C-17, FOR EXAMPLE. THEY CAN'T TO BE BUILT AND BOUGHT BECAUSE OF DISTRICT POLITICS AND PORK BARREL POLITICS. THERE ARE THINGS TO CUT. MY RECORD AS COUNTY EXECUTIVE WAS CUTTING $130 MILLION IN COUNTY SPENDING AND IN A COUNTY THIS SIZE, THAT'S A SIGNIFICANT AMOUNT. IN CAPITAL AND OPERATING THAT I HAVE CUT OUT OF OUR BUDGET OVER THE LAST SIX YEARS.

KIRAN CHETRY: ONE QUICK QUESTION. THIS IS WHAT IF YOU - YOU'RE UP BY 19 POINTS, YOU'RE GOING TO BE DEBATING THE MIDDLE CLASS TAX CUT EXTENSION. IF THE BILL BEFORE YOU INCLUDES ALL EARNERS, WOULD YOU SAY YES TO THE BILL AND SIGN IT? WOULD YOU SUPPORT IT? YOU CAN'T SIGN IT. YOU NEVER KNOW TEN YEARS DOWN THE ROAD.

CHRIS COONS: I WOULD SUPPORT EXTENDING THE BUSH INCOME TAX CUTS BUT I THINK WE NEED TO LOOK HARD AND FOR HOW LONG AND WHAT COST. ANY INCREASE IN INCOME TAX RELIEF COMES AT THE EXPENSE OF OTHER POSSIBLE TAX RELIEF. I WOULD LIKE TO PRIORITIZE A MANUFACTURING TAX CREDIT, A HOME OFFICE TAX EXEMPTION THAT WOULD I THINK HELP INCENTIVIZE THE CREATION OF SMALL BUSINESSES AND JOBS. SOME ACCELERATED DEPRECIATION PROVISIONS FOR SMALL BUSINESSES. ALL OF THE INCREASES OR EXTENSIONS OF TAX CUTS COME AT THE COST OF INCREASING THE DEFICIT, INCREASING THE DEBT. I WOULD PRIORITIZE THOSE WITH THE BEST CHANCE IN THE SHORT RUN OF GETTING THE MARKET, GETTING THE ECONOMY, GETTING THE BUSINESSES BACK ON TRACK AND CREATING JOBS.

KIRAN CHETRY: IF YOU ONLY BUILD >> IF ONLY BILL BEFORE YOU WAS FOR EVERYONE, YOU WOULD SAY YES?

CHRIS COONS: IF THAT'S WHAT IT TAKES TO MOVE FORWARD ON, YES.

KIRAN CHETRY: IT WAS GREAT TO TALK TO YOU THIS MORNING, CHRIS. THANK YOU.

CHRIS COONS: THANK YOU FOR BEING HERE IN DELAWARE.


Filed under: 2010 • Chris Coons • Christine O'Donnell • Delaware
soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. m. smith

    Wow, I watched the supposed debate; what a joke; I thought old Wolfy was suppose to be a mediator; and I thought journalists were suppose to be objective. It was a flogging; you all ganged up on this women and didn't even give her a chance to answer your own questions. Wow could you be so obvious, your no journalist; your a joke.

    October 14, 2010 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  2. Nunya

    I saw the majority of it starting from the beginning, although I missed the latter part. If the people of Delaware elect her to the Senate, that's going to be the best argument I've heard yet that we need an intelligence test to qualify people for voting...

    (and this is coming from someone who is basically a conservative)

    October 14, 2010 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  3. Expat American

    Personal attacks, criticism, personal, and catch slogans are the life breath of the slack jaw Poor White Tea Trash. O’Donnel, Palin, Bachmann, and Koch have never had any platform; instead they thrown around random, meaningless laughable slogans like ‘Restoring Honor’, while their supporters wrap themselves up in a car dealership size flag, open up a can of beer, and weep in their trailers; weeping at the realization that their White racial purity and American bastardization of European Christianity is no longer a privileged birthright in the United States of America.

    October 14, 2010 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  4. Northdakotax

    What an absolute travesty. Wolf Blitzer pushing hard for the "gotcha moment" and that other poor excuse for a moderator... whoever SHE was.
    O'Donnell made great strides... despite the 3-1 odds. Watch her ratings rise... she went toe to toe with Coons.
    Quite frankly I couldn't think of a current supreme court decision either, and O'Donnell was quite right in calling out Wolf when he suggested Roe v. Wade ..."SHE ASKED FOR CURRENT!"... Nice try Wolf... shame on you, that other "moderator"..
    What a poor performance by the moderators.

    October 14, 2010 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  5. bfranklin

    Fox News gets criticized for taking a conservative view. If you read this line of questioning by Ms Chetry, A former FoxNews employee. There is no doubt (not that there ever should have been) that CNN is liberal and democratic. Softball after softball. Was the same interview offered to Ms O'Donnell? This forum is a real easy place to see where CNN stands.

    October 14, 2010 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  6. vic nashville tn

    Christine O'Donnell best gift democrats ever had

    GOP surrender to tea party now it’s clear GOP can’t gain the majority in house and senate
    GOP split in to three now but foreign made them stay together after election it will be fun

    October 14, 2010 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  7. larry

    Ooo, ooo whichty woman see how high she can lie I i.

    October 14, 2010 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  8. Sniffit

    Duh. She's an imbecile. She couldn't name a recent Supreme Court case (sound familiar?) in order to give her opinion on it, implied vaguely that we're still somehow fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan and merely regurgitated talking points and ideological attacks all night. She's down by 21 points apparently...it's time to stop picking on her and let her lose in peace. She's in over her head, has no chance whatsoever of pulling this off unless there's serious vote tampering and her irresponsible idiocy is nothing more than a distraction from what's really important at this point.

    October 14, 2010 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  9. The Unsub

    o'donnel was out of her league she got whooped!

    October 14, 2010 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  10. Cosmo

    You don't get substance from GOP candidates. You get political strategist double speak to avoid the reprehensible and irresponsible conduct of GOP legislators over the last two years and the debacle of 2000-2008. Mix in a little fearmongering and undisclosed funds from uber-weasle Karl Rove's Crossroad for Cash "Buy a Friendly Legislator" Fund and say hello to your All American Red, White and Blue, God fearing, Patriotic GOP. May God help us.

    October 14, 2010 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  11. gt

    this girl has no chance,,, the media left wing nuts are doing all they can to smash this women,,,nbc is 10 worse than fox...stay true cnn,,,,i feel sorry for her...

    October 14, 2010 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  12. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    O'Donnell is a joke. She throws out how she would stand by the Constitution but couldn't name one our Supreme Court Justice rulings which is always important if you know the Constitution. O'Donnell hasn't learned that lying is a "got you" when you don't have facts to backup a lie, but she hasn't. O'Donnell hasn't learn when she's being asked a question the answer isn't to attack Coons, repeatedly she did that to shield herself because she didn't have an answer. O'Donnell talked a lot of "jibberish" which absolutely made no sense and connect with the question she was asked.

    October 14, 2010 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  13. katiec

    O'Donnell appeared very well rehearsed but managed to make some missteps and avoid direct answers to questions.
    Coon wanted to keep the debate about issues, but O'Donnell was in the attack mode which is the path chosen by those
    lacking in substance and behind in the polls.
    She probably pleased those wanting to be pleased, but intelligent voters could see through some of the ridiculous
    accusations she made and lack of substance in her responses.
    Cannot see where her appearance could possibly improve her poll numbers.

    October 14, 2010 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  14. Florida Joe

    We have our own problems in FL with Rubio....but I REALLY feel sorry for the folks of Delaware if this woman wins.......WOW talk about Mini Sarah......both dumb as rocks

    October 14, 2010 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  15. Emil

    The O'Donnell / Coons debate monitored by CNN was a crime. What happened to the media being non bias?
    It was 3 against one.

    October 14, 2010 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  16. Sorensen

    Hello!! She does not have any substance. She does not know anything. She never did anything. She will never do
    anything. She is just sitting there on her very large ass. Great for the republiCONS.

    October 14, 2010 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  17. Todd the Mod

    Big deal. Everyone knows she's a liar and keeps on lying. I guess she thinks most people from Delaware are like that, as she say's "I'm you". And maybe they are; I don't know as I don't live there.

    October 14, 2010 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  18. Sam Sixpack

    You print one side of a story – direct from one of the parties involved and then pretend it is somehow the truth. Have you no shame?

    October 14, 2010 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  19. Robert in NYC

    Another GOP candidate imploded last night... (well, she does this regularly).

    October 14, 2010 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  20. ThinkAgain

    People are so full of blind fear these days, they're seriously considering electing to the US Senate a woman who has no track record of helping anyone except herself; who lies on a continual basis (everything from her education to whether or not she's held a paying job); whose only qualification is she's pleasant to look at and willing to say and do anything to get elected.

    And O'Donnell is totally going by the Republican playbook of blame the Democrats for all your failings and shortcomings, and never take personal responsibility for any of your actions, which is exactly the strategy they (the GOP) have perfected.

    It all comes down to stupid, scared people rationalizing voting for someone who's completely unqualified simply because he/she looks like what they think should be running the country.

    How pathetically sad our electorate has become!

    October 14, 2010 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  21. pkb

    CNN's ratings are in the dump. This debate is one reason why. CNN hyped this debate as something like Kennedy/Nixon. No one outside of DE was interested in a 90 minute debate. 90 minutes? Because of CNN's GOP corporate owned leanings, it had to do. The same thing applies to Reid/Angle. CNN has lost viewers because of its right leaning. People used to respect and believe CNN was a non-partisan news source. Not anymore. I get riled when I hear snide remarks about the President. Gloria Borger and Jessica Yellins are as sharp and shrill as Ann Coulter. Who wants to hear that on a supposedly "news" channel. Spitzer and Parker will fail because why would anyone want to turn in to shrillness and silliness on a news channel? And Jack Cafferty? Come on, interviewing folks on the street will give a better pespective. FOX has all this shrillness and silliness wrapped up. I think Americans want an unbiased, nonpartisan news source. Even the networks' news broadcasts are becoming partisan.

    October 14, 2010 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  22. PalmReader

    Clearly O'Donnell isn't ready to handle the tough questions. Of all her responses, insinuating to Coons that he was jealous she had been spotlighted on SNL was the most telling to me. Running for Senate is nothing more than an attention seeking game to O'Donnell. Quite childish for a woman who went on national media to insist she has matured since her *witching* days. This political immaturity is what I dislike most from the GOPerTeaPers. Nothing refreshing or new about a group of career candidates who have spent years running for whatever office it is they can get voter to support them. When finally, as is in this election cycle, they do manage to get the spotlight they have all craved for years, they fall flat on their faces, giggling and stammering, and shrugging their shoulders in contempt of mainstream Americans.

    October 14, 2010 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  23. Whatever

    The current tax cuts fro everyone is NOT working!!!! Why if it is going to continue to raise the deficit?!??!! No republician can answer that...

    October 14, 2010 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  24. Tod

    Why is it so hard to find honest and trustworthy candidates? I guess it resembles the real percentage of honest and trustworthy people. How about science educated candidates? I guess science minded people are to smart to go into politics. Maybe the ones who do not want to be in politics should be in politics, they may be the only honest ones.

    October 14, 2010 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  25. Michael in Houston

    Mr Coons was in fact dismissive of this child. O"Donnell has no business whatsoever being in this game. She is an utter waste of everyones time.

    October 14, 2010 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
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