That’s it for tonight’s debate. Watch it again tomorrow at 8:00pm on News 12 New Jersey.
Update, 8:09pm: In a moment of levity, Scott asks the two candidates about their hobbies.
Lautenberg likes to hike at High Mountain, elevation 700 feet.
Zimmer likes to fish, but “the trout aren’t impressed.”
Update, 8:08pm:What would Zimmer do if Lautenberg agreed not to accept contributions from lobbyists? He would stop lobbying.
With the way the polls look, Zimmer might be glad Lautenberg didn’t agree to take the pledge.
Update, 8:04pm: The candidates’ questions to each other are pretty great.
Lautenberg asked Zimmer why he voted against reimbursement for mammograms. Zimmer said it’s not true, and attributed it to former Sen. Bob Torricelli’s playbook. Oh yeah, and all three of his sisters are breast cancer survivors.
“I’m disappointed that you would regurgitate something brought out and discredited in the press many years ago,” said Zimmer
One of Zimmer’s questions was why Lautenberg voted against using the $1 million now infamous “hippie museum” in Woodstock for other, more worthy causes.
That seemed to catch Lautenberg off guard.
“Dick, you know very well that I have stood best on my help for the middle class….”We can look at individual votes that we’ve taken, but I think we have to look at the larger picture.”
Update, 7:50 pm:
There seems to be some debate about how wealthy Washington is, since Lautenberg supported subsidies for their mass transit system.
Really, it’s a question of semantics. Lautenberg points out how poor Washington, DC is. But Zimmer was talking about the whole metro area — not just the city.
Zimmer said listeners can just look it up. So here’s the results of a cursory google search.
It’s from 2006.
Update, 7:39pm: WHOA. Lautenberg just said that Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) — who was just convicted for corruption — held a fundraiser for Zimmer.
“Just recently, a felon, Senator Stevens of Alaska, held a fundraiser for Dick Zimmer.”
Zimmer denied that. He said that he “never accepted a penny” from Stevens, and that “I’m delighted that you called for his resignation today, as I did.”
UPDATE: Lautenberg spokeswoman Julie Roginsky provided the documentation. Stevens’ name did appear on an invitation for a Zimmer fundraiser set for July 29th — the same day, incidentally, that he was indicted on seven corruption counts. But there were 28 other Republican Senators on that invitation as well.
Update, 7:35pm: Scott is grilling Zimmer about his pulling out that quote Lautenberg made to ABC News about tasting the lobbyists’ liquor’s vintage.
Lautenberg, of course, was joking. But Zimmer said he was, after all, coming out of a lobbyist’s party.
Here’s the lobbyist hit for Lautenberg: “Nobody knows that better than Dick Zimmer,” noting his status as a Washington lobbyist.
“No one can say after my service for 24 years in the US Senate… that Frank Lautenberg ever gave away anything in exchange for something else.”