The 6th District congressional candidates who debated in Carroll County last night avoided smear tactics, focusing instead on economic, educational and health-care issues.
In his opening statement, state Del. Thomas Hattery, who defeated incumbent Beverly B. Byron in the Democratic primary, asked his Republican opponent to keep the debate "focused on the issues and not on personal matters."
"It's up to you," responded Roscoe Bartlett.
And the candidates succeeded, addressing the issue of negative campaigning only when one of the panelists at Carroll Community College in Westminster asked how such tactics served to inform the voters.
Both candidates placed some of the blame on the media for focusing on negative attacks. Throughout the hourlong debate, Mr. Bartlett espoused less government and less regulation, particularly where the economy and jobs were concerned.
Mr. Hattery said he planned to name a staff member as job czar to work with employees, small businesses and agencies to create jobs.
They differed on addressing health-care woes.
Mr. Hattery said that while he agreed health care should be "available, affordable and accessible" to all Americans, he didn't endorse a national health-care plan. Instead, he said the federal government should work to bring the costs that consumers face from insurance and pharmaceutical companies into line.
Mr. Bartlett called for a cap on malpractice claims and creation of a punitive damages pool from which funds would be drawn to provide insurance for the poor.