October 20th, 2010
11:02 PM ET
11 years ago

'Extreme' debate in Pennsylvania

(CNN) - "Extreme" was the word of the night as the two Pennsylvania Senate candidates debated for the first time on Wednesday.

Democrat Rep. Joe Sestak and Republican Pat Toomey, a former Congressman, seldom agreed on the issues during the hour-long debate, but both came to the podium armed with remarkably similar messages.

Throughout the debate, both sought to paint the other as belonging to the extreme wing of their respective parties.

"It's very clear – the person who is the extreme candidate that is so far out of touch with Pennsylvania is Joe Sestak," Toomey said.

"Look at this agenda. Not only did he vote for every item on that agenda…he voted for all of the bailouts and then introduced his out bill to create a new bailout."

Sestak, meanwhile, sought to align Toomey with conservative Republican leaders such as former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin; Sestak also frequently referenced the "Bush/Toomey era," as he attempted to tie Toomey to the former President's policies.

As the candidates debated their positions on abortion, Sestak said, "Palin, Toomey, O'Donnell, they all would like to overturn Roe v. Wade."

Toomey, for his part sought to downplay his ties to Palin, who endorsed the Republican on Tuesday. When asked what role she played in the race, and whether he felt Palin was qualified to be president, Toomey avoided giving a direct answer.

"I'm very grateful for the support that I have from people from all over the political spectrum…. I welcome all allies in this effort to get a government that's our of control, under control, so we can get the prosperity we deserve," he offered.

Recent polls show Sestak rapidly closing in on Toomey, who had until recently enjoyed a comfortable lead in the race to replace Democratic Sen. Arlen Specter. Sestak defeated the party switching Senator in the Democratic primary earlier this year.

Filed under: 2010 • Joe Sestak • Pat Toomey • Pennsylvania
soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. Independent

    Extreme-ly boring debate in PA, to be correct.However if Sarah Palin really endorsed Toomey, there's no way I'd vote for him.

    October 20, 2010 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  2. roro

    Toomey is definitely a big business, big corporation guy, who's looking out for those like himself, and not the rest of us

    October 20, 2010 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  3. Vote for Toomey

    Why in the world would anyone vote for Sleestak. He was bribed by the White House. When he realized that he go Barrack in trouble, he shut his trap.

    Tooney is the only one of the two that will help the PA economy. But, PA voters have had some real stinkers in the past, will they do it again?

    October 20, 2010 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  4. Ace

    Can Sestak answer any question without bragging about his military record? He uses it so often, even on questions that are unrelated. Sestak seemed incoherent early on and seemed like he was giving a speech and trying to remember talking points...his emotion did not seem authentic and it seemed that he stretches the truth, a lot.

    Toomey was probably a little frustrated because some of Sestak's ads have been so ridiculous, he doesn't even know how to respond. He did a good job in showing that Sestak was really the extremist, outside of even those in his own party, and certainly outside of Pennsylvania's opinion on issues..

    October 20, 2010 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  5. Linda Nelson

    I should have warned you, Joe, that Toomey hasn't an original thought in his head. He only knew that he'd be grilled on his "extreme" views. So what did he do? He regailed you as the extremist, knowing he didn't have an original thought. So you did well "Admiral", considering his lack of ideas.

    October 21, 2010 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  6. Danny Cali

    Yeah.......Vote for Toomey is Vote for Sarah Palin and Bush "ERA" your people should know that and get out of Sarah Palin and Bush please. VOTE DEMOCRATIC 2010 AGAIN.

    October 21, 2010 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  7. cooldaddy1

    Sestak never missed an opportunity to reference his military career.
    His voice sounded like he had battle fatigue. I see why Obama tried to get him to drop out. I never understood how he got out of the job offer lie.
    Obamas name may not be on the ballot but his agenda is.

    October 21, 2010 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  8. J.V.Hodgson

    Again only the personal attacks highlighted not the positions of candidates on Key issues.
    No good Journalism to me.

    October 21, 2010 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
  9. George of the jungle

    vote all repos out they are abunch of looney tunes who will drag this country down. if palin has backe you you must be a weirdo. move forward not backward vote democratic and stop these crazies befor they take our country away and give it to the rich and big business.

    October 21, 2010 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  10. Ryan

    They are both right, that's why neither of them would be any good.

    October 21, 2010 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  11. barry

    Sestak like Obama are extreme and will bankrupt our country. Socialism doesn't work just look what's happening in Europe now. We need to make sure we put the extreme socialist out of office.

    October 21, 2010 01:18 am at 1:18 am |
  12. 13 Days until Socialism dies in the United States

    In America, SOCIALIST PROGRESSIVES like Sestak, Obozo, Redi and Pelosi are the extremists. Will the American people vote people into office that do nothing but grow government and entitlement programs without end?! If they do then we will be looking at the end of this country as we know it. The system (capitialism) that has given us the greatest, freeist, wealthiest, most productive country on the planet will be destroyed. We'll end up looking like the old Soviet Union. When that happens, who will all these socialists steal their money from?

    October 21, 2010 01:49 am at 1:49 am |
  13. Rick

    Toomey thinks tax cuts cause revenue to rise. I don't know if you'd call that viewpoint extreme, but I'd certainly call it stupid.

    October 21, 2010 02:03 am at 2:03 am |
  14. jesse

    dont vote for these new fascist republicans all there gonna do is look after the rich. If it was up to them there would be no public schools and we would all be enslaved with no rights what so ever

    October 21, 2010 02:53 am at 2:53 am |

    10/20/2010 Associated Press WASHINGTON — Election Day is already over for more than 3 million Americans, and a surprising number of them are Democrats. Get to the polls and bring your family, friends and neighbors. We knew change was hard. but I will die and go to hell before I let Karl Rove and the fake Tea Party win!!!

    October 21, 2010 03:24 am at 3:24 am |
  16. John

    Admiral Sestak is a true CLinton moderate Democrat. He is congressman for my district and has been a really good congressman, has been to our schools, and is a really modest man. I was impressed when the small hand made yarn braclett his daughter made for him slipped out from under the sleeve of his conservative typical three piece suit jacket.

    toomey on the other hand is christine odonnel in pants – the only reason he is not being trounced is that he has had outside groups spending millions trashing the good name of our decorated veteran and Carrier group commander Admiral Sestak. toomey was head of the extremist club for growth, he is a tea bag party favorite, and his extremist positions cost him a congressional seat year ago, and got him beaten by Arlen Specter 6 years ago. toomey has not said boo about what he plans to do to the country because he knows from past expericne that if voters ahve a clue as to his actual agenda, his extremist agenda, they will never vote for him.

    October 21, 2010 05:18 am at 5:18 am |
  17. John

    A last thought - toommey had millions in outside filthy attack ads paid for by extremists like club for growth - Admiral Sestak has not had the cash so he has only recently started campaigning. The reason toomey has held such a big lead is the millions in speicla interest money pouring in smearing the good name of our Admiral.

    October 21, 2010 05:19 am at 5:19 am |
  18. Chris

    Republicans have moved so far to the right that now even the middle seems like the extreme left to them.

    October 21, 2010 06:15 am at 6:15 am |
  19. Scott

    Yet another extreme right leaning liberal. Sestak is nothing more then a yes man for the democrat soicalist party ran by our Dear Leader Obama, and comrades Reid and Pelosi. Unemployment is sky high, bailouts right and left, running our debt up. Notice that China another communist country is loaning us money all the time. A plan between China and Obama to turn this country communist. Thank god for the Republicans, they are the true Americans, once again we find our selves like our fore fathers fighting for the American Way that the Democrats are trying to destroy. God bless the United States and the Republican party.

    October 21, 2010 06:29 am at 6:29 am |
  20. Freedom

    Go Pat Toomey!!! Freedom 2010!!!

    October 21, 2010 07:20 am at 7:20 am |
  21. Bassman

    Demorcrats need to tell us which policy positions of Sarah Palin are extreme. Abortion? Pres. Obama believes partial birth abortion is exceptable. Strong National defense, lower taxes, and smaller smarter government are all positions she supports. Which of these do Demorcats believe are extreme.

    October 21, 2010 07:20 am at 7:20 am |
  22. Oh no, say it isn't so...

    Haha. Repubs are gonna lose Nov 2. AGAIN! Lol. They were sure McCain was gonna win too. Idiots

    October 21, 2010 07:28 am at 7:28 am |
  23. Ron

    I stand with the Admiral! The guy has been a leader for more than 30 years, protecting those things we love most – freedom, justice, and our American kids who fight on foreign soils/in foreign waters for our country. I trust he will continue to do the things he knows are best for our country. The other guy can't (or won't) answer a simple question about whether or not Palin is qualified for president! All educated Americans and most uneducated Americans know the answer to that question, so why not speak the truth? Palin is not qualified to be President of the United States. Republicans are not qualified to run our congress – what extreme group will they back down to next? Who will they owe favors to if we let them win? Be afraid. Be very afraid of a republican congress......

    October 21, 2010 07:37 am at 7:37 am |
  24. Clwyd

    With the nut case O'Donnell in Delaware, the nut case republicans in Alaska , the nut case in Nevada, the nut case in California, the nut case in Kentucky let's just add another republican nut case in PA!

    October 21, 2010 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
  25. mike

    Toomey is a loser look to say you are going to change things for the american worker is a joke to a man who kisses up to china when he wasn't running for office and now he is for the PA. voter there is an old saying and that is you can't teach an old dog new tricks the republicans are so predictable they only talk about none economic issues for example abortion and illegals
    but do they ever talk directly about changing the landscape of business they talk around it they are more concern about cutting school taxes but this is the reason why we are in this mess in the first palce because our children are becoming more uneducated every day and we are headed to being a third world country

    October 21, 2010 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
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