Sorting political fact from fiction, and having fun while we’re at it. This week, the candidates vying to represent Virginia’s 11th District in the US House of Representatives are in studio. Join us for our weekly review of the politics, policies, and personalities of the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia.

Guests

  • Tom Sherwood Resident Analyst; NBC 4 reporter; and Columnist for the Current Newspapers
  • Gerald Connolly Member, U.S. House of Representatives (D-VA, 11th District); Candidate for Re-Election
  • Keith Fimian Candidate, U.S. House of Representatives, R-Va. (11th District)

Politics Hour Extra

Keith Fimian apologizes for previous comments he made regarding the 2007 Virginia Tech shootings in which he suggested that if students at the university had been “packing heat” the shooting may have been avoidable:

Rep. Gerry Connolly and Republican challenger Keith Fimian talk about reigning in federal spending and their views about the future of the thousands of federal jobs in the 11th District amid criticism that the federal workforce is bloated and inefficient:

Keith Fimian answers a caller’s question about whether he would require women who were raped to carry a baby resulting from the rape to full term. “I’m pro-life – it’s what I believe,” Fimian said. “If one of my daughters were raped, God forbid, I’d urge her to carry the baby to term.” In contrast, Rep. Connolly said he “absolutely would allow” a woman or young girl faced with such a situation to have a choice about whether or not to carry the baby to term:

Related Video

The American Action Network produced this ad, critical of Congressman Gerald Connolly (D-VA, 11th District):

This ad was produced by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and is critical of Republican Keith Fimian, who is challenging U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA, 11th District) in Tuesday’s election:

Transcript

  • 12:06:59

    MR. KOJO NNAMDIFrom WAMU 88.5 at American University in Washington, welcome to The Politics Hour featuring Tom Sherwood. I'm Kojo Nnamdi. You may remember hearing about the debate in New York in the governor's race where one of the candidates had to go the bathroom during the debate. In this edition of the Politics Hour, we had a slightly different situation in where the resident analyst disappeared just before the broadcast and, well, he made it back in time. Tom Sherwood is our resident analyst. He is a reporter at NBC 4 and a columnist for the Current Newspapers. Where were you when the broadcast started?’

  • 12:07:47

    MR. TOM SHERWOODWell, you know what, I wanna give my full attention to the broadcast, (laugh) and so I took all the precautionary measures that I thought I needed to take in order to be here on the show. But...

  • 12:07:55

    NNAMDIAll of that meaning that he was in the bathroom during the beginning of the broadcast.

  • 12:07:57

    SHERWOODI hope this conversation moves up from this conversation.

  • 12:08:00

    NNAMDIYes, indeed. (laugh)

  • 12:08:00

    UNIDENTIFIED MANYeah.

  • 12:08:01

    NNAMDIHopefully, move up from this conversation. But that's only a hope. I take you back to last week when we were discussing the governor's race in the State of Maryland, and it seemed to me that the resident analyst at the time said that that race is getting closer by the second.

  • 12:08:14

    SHERWOODNo. I believe you (laugh) need to clear out your ears. I said...

  • 12:08:19

    NNAMDIWhat did the resident analyst say?

  • 12:08:20

    SHERWOODI think he said still competitive.

  • 12:08:23

    NNAMDIWell, since then, there's been a new poll. Both two polls, both by The Baltimore Sun and The Washington Post, saying -- showing one of the candidates ahead by 14 points over the other. I don't think I would call that really competitive.

  • 12:08:36

    SHERWOODWell, you know, first of all, the only poll -- and if I can quote any politician in the country -- the only poll that count is the poll on Election Day. And so we'll have to see whether or not people turn out to vote.

  • 12:08:48

    NNAMDIAnd what we're talking about is the race between incumbent Martin O'Malley and former governor Bob Ehrlich. But those polls, coming out earlier this week on Monday, saying that O'Malley now has a 14-point lead in both polls. There's another election in the District of Columbia that people, I should suspect, should be paying attention to, the election on the Washington Teachers' Union, where there was early balloting amongst several candidates. And now, there's going to be a runoff in November between the incumbent George Parker and General Vice President Nathan Saunders. They'll be voting in November, but it's only done by mail, so the results won't be coming in until December. One thing that surprises me about this, and that is that only 880 people or so voted, when in the union contract that they had earlier, about 2,700 people voted on the union contracts. So how do we determine what the will of the teacher Is really is?

  • 12:09:44

    SHERWOODWell, I think the will of the teachers is they want that new contract, which has substantially payables.

  • 12:09:48

    NNAMDIThat's more important than who's president, probably.

  • 12:09:50

    SHERWOODYes. You know, Nate Saunders and George Parker had been in each others' throats for several years, not just this campaign. And so, you know, a lot of teachers are just focused on trying to do their jobs. The -- you know, many people who are members of unions don't get involved in the internal battles or who's charge or who's not. And I think you've seen it reflected in the Washington Teachers' Union. They've had been through a lot of turmoil the last few years, they now have a contract employees, and I think that's what the teachers are focusing on. But that's a -- it's an interesting battle. We'll see if George Parker can hold off Nate Saunders.

  • 12:10:26

    NNAMDIA plot to place bombs in Metro not originated by Farooque Ahmed, 34, of Loudoun County. He never suggested any attacks inside the United States. The plot to attack Metro was hatched by government operatives posing as terrorists. However, he was apparently going along with it and had other suggestions about acquiring arms in jihad. And now, he finds himself arrested and likely to be tried for this. I suspect, even though I'm not a lawyer, that the case will be made that this guy had no intention of placing bombs inside the United States. He was essentially entrapped into it.

  • 12:11:00

    SHERWOODWell, that maybe -- I'm sure that will be his defense. And I'm sure his lawyers will think of any other defense they can. But you know, it's not -- I would say, in this day and age, it's not a good thing to be sitting around, talking with anyone about how you would do something like blow up a Metro system. And we -- even in the atmosphere now, just today, the -- I mean, the shootings at the Marine Corps Museum and the Pentagon and the recruiting station. People are very nervous and on the edge. It's not a good thing to discuss how you might blow up things.

  • 12:11:29

    NNAMDIWell, we had a discussion about this yesterday. And it was pointed out that what the FBI did in this case is probably more effective than your pet peeve. Your pet peeve...

  • 12:11:38

    SHERWOODYes.

  • 12:11:38

    NNAMDI..being all of the barriers that exist in front of federal buildings in this area.

  • 12:11:42

    SHERWOODYes, 'cause the barriers don't work. I mean -- and I don't wanna talk about how you get around them. But the fact is, the closed off America that we've been building in the wake of 2001 doesn't make us more safe, it just makes us feel safer.

  • 12:11:55

    NNAMDIAnd finally, the Rally to Restore Sanity and the March to Keep Fear Alive take place in the District of Columbia compliments of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert tomorrow. A lot of news media have prohibited their employees from participating unless they are working and observing. How about you?

  • 12:12:16

    SHERWOODWell, I think if you're a reporter, you shouldn't participate in things that -- like that. I mean, I've been to civil rights marches and I've been to other types of marches where I...

  • 12:12:24

    NNAMDIThis is supposed to be entertainment.

  • 12:12:26

    SHERWOODWell, this is a true mixed bag. It is political. And I don't think reporters should participate -- certainly, go -- I go to a lot of things. I went to the one on Aug. 28. And rode my bike down and watched it and looked at it and -- but as a reporter, journalist, you're not supposed to participate in those events. I am gonna do a story about that rally this afternoon for tomorrow. And I'll probably be there tomorrow, observing.

  • 12:12:49

    NNAMDIAnd finally there's this. Our guest today had to come here from Virginia in what's becoming a disturbing pattern. It seems that the route they take to get here involves coming up Wisconsin Avenue and passing nearby another radio station, which shall remain nameless, (laugh) but where an alleged talk show host so desperate for guests apparently lies down in the middle of the roadway threatening to get himself run over by traffic if the guests don't join him on the air waves. Needless to say, these considerate men gave in only to find themselves constantly interrupted with longwinded diatribes, punctuated with entreaties not to come to the show. How can we bring an end to this, Tom Sherwood?

  • 12:13:28

    SHERWOODWell, if you'd stop mentioning that show every week, that would help.

  • 12:13:32

    SHERWOODI mean, goodness gracious. But, you know, I would just say this, on our programs the guests get to say more than we do.

  • 12:13:40

    NNAMDIThank you very much, and that is Tom Sherwood. He's our resident analyst. He's a reporter at NBC 4 and a columnist for the Current Newspapers. Joining us now in studio is Gerald Connolly. Gerald Connolly is a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He's a Democrat from Virginia. He is up for re-election next Tuesday. Congressman Connolly, thank you for joining us.

  • 12:13:59

    REP. GERALD CONNOLLYIt's my pleasure to join you again, Kojo.

  • 12:14:01

    NNAMDIAlso joining us in studio is Keith Fimian. He is the Republican candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives for the seat representing Virginia's 11th Congressional District. Keith Fimian, thank you very much for joining us.

  • 12:14:13

    MR. KEITH FIMIANKojo, nice to be here. Thank you.

  • 12:14:15

    NNAMDILet's start off by clearing the air. If you watch television in the Washington region, chances are you've already seen dozens of ads attacking the candidates in this race, many of which are funded by groups outside of the campaigns. So, can each of you take a second to talk about this because many of the ads are being run by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee on you behalf, presumably, Congressman Connolly, others are being run by the American Action Network on your behalf, Keith Fimian? If you were asked to put your signature, if you were asked to say I approve of this ad, which of those ads running by the -- starting with you, Keith Fimian -- American Action Network would you not put your signature on?

  • 12:14:58

    FIMIANWell, I haven't seen the second ad. The first one talks about the enormous burden that Congressman Connolly and others like him have saddled our children with, but the ad that I am attacked with I'm not sure who did it. I'm -- I own a home inspection company that's nationwide that I started. We are the most successful company in our industry -- 10 times larger than the next closest -- and I'm made to sound like a scandal monger. I mean, it's unbelievable these attacks. What I've tried to do with my commercials with Congressman Connolly is simply point out the things that he's done, so the voters know. But these attacks on me are...

  • 12:15:32

    NNAMDIBut how about the ads that are ran presumably on your behalf, even though they're not run by your campaign?

  • 12:15:39

    FIMIANI have...

  • 12:15:40

    NNAMDIDo you approve of them all?

  • 12:15:41

    FIMIANThe one that I saw that had the children saddled with backpacks seem to me to be very good and very fair. I have not seen the second one. I understand there's a second one out.

  • 12:15:49

    NNAMDICongressman Connolly?

  • 12:15:51

    CONNOLLYWell, I voted for the DISCLOSE Act, and my view is that, frankly, if there are going to be independent expenditures, we got to know who's paying for them. The ad that my opponent said he likes is an anonymous ad from an outside group. No one knows who's funding it. They put $1.7 million into that ad, and we don't know who they are. And I think that's wrong. I think Citizens United is one of the most destructive decisions any Supreme Court has ever made, and it is going to upend our political process. And I think it's a direct threat to democracy.

  • 12:16:28

    NNAMDIBut it also allows others to put ads in your favor attacking your opponent that you don't necessarily have to approve of. Which of those ads would you approve of or not approve of?

  • 12:16:38

    CONNOLLYWell, frankly, unlike what my opponent said, I think the -- my party's ad that they've put up, which is an independent expenditure, which I hadn't seen until they put it up, actually, goes through what is a very different narrative about how Mr. Fimian's company got founded and what his partner said about it and some of the history in terms of lawsuits and shady business practices and so forth. That's a matter of public record. His partner actually went on the public record. These are facts that were actually cited by my opponent's Republican opponent during his primary up to June 8th. So I'm not going to question the facts of that, but, frankly, I think we're all better served if just the two candidates are the ones responsible for whatever ads run on radio or television, and everybody else stays out.

  • 12:17:29

    NNAMDIHow do you feel about that, Keith Fimian?

  • 12:17:30

    FIMIANOh, Mr. Connolly wasn’t in favor of this two years ago when all sorts of organizations were hitting me on his behalf. It's his new found zeal to correct things. These ads point out very unfairly -- like, for example, my company has been sued a number of times. We're a home inspection company. We've done two million inspections, and in 24 years, we've been used 40 times. It's not something I'm happy about, but the percentage is very, very small, and it makes me sound like I'm some failed businessman operating some shady company. That is not the case at all. And, unfortunately, as is the case with many partners early on, one of the partners I started my company with, my brother and another fellow, you know, just wanted to take the company in a different direction. And we parted, and I was surprised that he said anything. He wasn’t publicly on the record, but he voted for me in my last three-year board term two years ago. So it's...

  • 12:18:22

    NNAMDIWe haven't even put out the phone number as yet, and calls are coming in. The number is 800-433-8850. If the lines are busy, you can go to our website, kojoshow.org. Raise a question or make a comment there. Send us a tweet @kojoshow or an e-mail to Kojo@wamu.org. Tom?

  • 12:18:39

    SHERWOODGentlemen, this is an extraordinary election nationwide with the Democrats facing a loss of a number of seats pending on what your view of it is. It's as little as a few, 20 or so to as many as 40 for the House Republicans to take control to as many as 50, 60 or more. But the viciousness of the ads that are being done on your behalf where in some cases candidates are doing for themselves. I want to try to restore a little bit of civility. And I would like for you, Congressman and you Mr. Fimian, to say one thing nice about each other. You're gonna go first, Mr. Connolly.

  • 12:19:14

    NNAMDIWe only have so much time left.

  • 12:19:15

    SHERWOODWell, this is a broadcast -- this is a 10-second answer, probably. Is there something you can say nice about him, just to kind of clear the air, like for a breeze or something?

  • 12:19:22

    CONNOLLYI believe that my opponent, while we don't agree, I believe he is sincerely a motivated person.

  • 12:19:29

    SHERWOODOkay. Mister...

  • 12:19:30

    CONNOLLYAnd I recognize that.

  • 12:19:31

    SHERWOODMr. Fimian, say something nice about Congressman Connolly.

  • 12:19:33

    FIMIANWell, listen. I think we're both after the same end. We want what's best for our country and our children, and the way we go about these things is dramatically different.

  • 12:19:41

    SHERWOODOkay. That's pretty nice.

  • 12:19:42

    NNAMDIIs that it? Now, you can leave if that's all you'll hear from them.

  • 12:19:43

    SHERWOODNo. I wanna talk about...

  • 12:19:45

    NNAMDII'm gonna join that demonstration to restore sanity or whatever it's called. (laugh) The economy still needs a kick-start. People are having a hard time finding work. Both of you have expressed concerns about more spending and stimulus. What ideas do you think should be on the table when we talk about getting people back to work? And more specifically, what ideas do you have to offer, Congressman Connolly?

  • 12:20:08

    CONNOLLYWell, again, this isn't theoretical for me. I was be very proud to support the small business bill that just got signed into law that creates new $30 billion fully paid for loan facility to make credit flow again to small businesses. They're the engine of economic growth. They're the engine of job creation and a big -- one of the biggest problems small businesses have faced in the recession -- the great recession was the lack of access to capital. And if they're gonna hire and if they're gonna be able to expand, they've got to have access to capital. And frankly, the banks weren't doing that. And so I think that's a very important first step. I think there has to be more predictability and certainty in the economy, and that's why I supported at least the temporary extension of the tax cuts, so people can make their plans over the next year or two.

  • 12:20:53

    SHERWOODAll of the tax cuts?

  • 12:20:55

    CONNOLLYI favored the temporary extension of all of the tax cuts, and I'll tell you why, Tom. We just saw the economic performance today. It was 2 percent. That's too fragile. There's a risk of raising taxes on any income group across the board right now. All of that further contract, and we cannot afford to take a risk in that.

  • 12:21:11

    NNAMDIDo you differ with the administration on that issue? The administration...

  • 12:21:13

    CONNOLLYI take -- I have -- all year long, I have publicly stated that I disagree with the president and with my party's leadership on that issue.

  • 12:21:21

    NNAMDIKeith Fimian.

  • 12:21:22

    FIMIANIt's for convenience, Kojo. Mr. Connolly said he was against the tax cuts, and had he been in Congress in 2001 and 2003, he would have voted against them. Now, he's for them because he is behind in the polls. He's gonna be against them in November 3rd. Look, the single most important thing government can do to create jobs and grow the economy is eliminate uncertainty. Mr. Connolly now knows that because of our debates but he doesn't understand it completely. The fact is, you have to reduce these uncertainties so people are gonna be willing to invest. American corporations today are sitting on 30 percent more cash than they were two years ago at the start of the recession. Why? Because they're afraid to go forward. If I don't know if my -- if I think my taxes are going up, if I think my health care costs are going up, my energy costs, I'm gonna sit on the sidelines. And the reason is margins in the private sector are so thin. You can't afford to take that chance. You can't afford to gamble. Mr. Connolly says he was in favor of the small business, $30 billion extension of credit to stimulate growth. What he didn't say is, he's voted for three trillion in new spending. Now, Kojo, the 2007 budget was 2.9 trillion in spending for the whole government. He's voted for three trillion in new spending in the short time he's been in Congress. What that does to the markets is nothing less than royal.

  • 12:22:32

    CONNOLLYKojo, I'm hoping we're not gonna allow filibusters here. They're not allowed on the floor of the House of Representatives.

  • 12:22:37

    NNAMDIBut we do allow responses.

  • 12:22:38

    CONNOLLYThat's right.

  • 12:22:40

    FIMIANCan I finish...

  • 12:22:40

    SHERWOODWell, that's a long list of -- trillions of dollars -- how much of that is -- what would you cut if you -- a lot of that will be defense spending, I would guess, the governor would have to award.

  • 12:22:50

    FIMIANNo, listen. Tom, I go back to 2007 level spending. The budget balances itself by 2019. What I would do is take advantage of the federal audits that suggest that 122 -- 22 programs could be eliminated and save $122 billion for programs that did not accomplish their purpose. Ninety-two billion could be saved by eliminating improper payments. These are annual numbers. Sixty billion eliminating waste, fraud and abuse in Medicare. Thirty-five billion in waste, fraud and abuse in health care.

  • 12:23:18

    NNAMDII know Mr. Connolly is going to respond but a lot of people will say, you know, we didn't hear Republicans complaining about budget deficits during the two Bush administrations...

  • 12:23:27

    FIMIANI know.

  • 12:23:27

    NNAMDI...when the deficits were really going up.

  • 12:23:30

    FIMIANI wasn't here.

  • 12:23:30

    NNAMDIIt would appear that whenever Democrats are in the White House is the only time that Republicans think that deficits are important.

  • 12:23:35

    FIMIANNo. I...

  • 12:23:36

    NNAMDIHow would you respond?

  • 12:23:36

    FIMIANListen. I -- Look, the Republicans in Congress at that time did the same thing that the Democrats are doing now, only now it's on steroids.

  • 12:23:43

    SHERWOODWhy not...

  • 12:23:43

    FIMIANIt's all -- it's too much spending.

  • 12:23:45

    SHERWOODI'm intrigued that people said we're gonna throw out the incumbents. But I don't hear people say let's throw out the Republicans and the Democrats unless it's a few Tea Party candidates.

  • 12:23:55

    FIMIANListen, there are members of my party that have engaged in this...

  • 12:23:57

    SHERWOODDo you want to put them out?

  • 12:23:57

    FIMIAN...kind of spending that should go as well. Look. We are behaving fiscally irresponsibly...

  • 12:24:01

    SHERWOODIncluding speaker Boehner if he becomes speaker?

  • 12:24:05

    FIMIANLook, without commenting on individuals, we are overspending at a rate that simply cannot be sustained. Everyone knows that and my party was guilty...

  • 12:24:12

    NNAMDIAnd, Congressman Connolly, you stand accused of being a part of that three trillion dollars in overspending.

  • 12:24:18

    CONNOLLYWell, you know, I just think it's nonsense. (laugh) You know, when Bill Clinton was leaving the White House, he left us with the fourth consecutive year of budget surpluses. It took eight brief years of Republican congresses and George W. Bush to take a projected $5.7 trillion surplus that would have entirely paid off the federal debt and turned it into a $6.4 trillion deficit because of three main things -- unfunded wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, an unfunded new entitlement program and the Bush tax cuts entirely unpaid for. One of the things I certainly am trying to do in Congress as a member of the budget committee is restore some fiscal sanity and discipline. But we're in the midst of a fragile recovery, and one of the biggest problems in this economy quite frankly is lack of demand. And so we're trying to stimulate that demand while also dealing long term with the red ink that got generated in previous congresses. Nobody's hands are clean.

  • 12:25:15

    SHERWOODAnd if...

  • 12:25:15

    NNAMDIAgain, the number to call, 800-433-8850. Tom?

  • 12:25:19

    SHERWOODAnd we are different in the Washington region than the rest of the country in many respects because if there's tremendous budget cutting in the federal government, well, that will specifically hurt Northern Virginia, which has become the headquarters of federal spending, military and consultant spending. What -- how do you protect your own congressional district if you're gonna be cutting the budget, Mr. Fimian? And I think I asked you this when you were here just a few months ago.

  • 12:25:43

    FIMIANWell, look.

  • 12:25:45

    SHERWOODTo get your own interest.

  • 12:25:47

    FIMIANThe government can operate more efficiently, and we got to engage the federal worker to do that. I'm worried about my country. My country is in trouble because we're overspending at a hyper rate. Mr. Connolly says that we got to stimulate demand. You're not gonna stimulate demand. What you've got to do is reduce uncertainty. He talks about the Clinton and what Clinton and Bush did. Look. What matters is what he did. He voted for three trillion in new spending. He voted for $670 billion in new taxes. He voted to increase the deficit to 40 percent of the federal budget. It's the same as you and I running out of money in our household on the 20th of the month and using a credit card and going out every night through the remainder of the month to the most expensive steak house...

  • 12:26:30

    NNAMDIWhat...

  • 12:26:30

    SHERWOODBut only concern that if the government does cut back, it may -- I'm not saying they should or should not. I'm just saying won't that affect the economy of Northern Virginia or are you worried about that all?

  • 12:26:40

    NNAMDILet me make it even more specific because everybody is listening.

  • 12:26:44

    SHERWOODBut not more complicated because I made a very simple question.

  • 12:26:45

    NNAMDIBoth. (laugh) Everybody who's listening to this broadcast knows that one of the largest employers in your district is the federal government. There's a conversation taking place right now about whether federal workers are paid too much, even the president has engaged on this issue. Where do you stand on salary levels for federal employees? And what issues do you plan to advocate for federal workers in the next session of Congress?

  • 12:27:08

    FIMIANLook, I would engage the federal worker. They're an immensely talented group of people. They know their job very, very well. Their boss' boss' boss' boss' political appointee doesn't, but they do. And in the private sector, what gets incented gets done. Kojo, what I would do is I would incent these people to find efficiencies in government and reward them for doing so. Give them five or 10 percent of the savings they come up with. In my company, if some -- if we have 20 people in a department and one leaves, we ask the other 19, you can replace or not? If you don't replace, we'll split the savings with you for one year. Year two, the company gets 75 percent, you get 25 percent. We hardly ever replace as a consequence of that. If there's a thousand people in the federal department and 40 leave one year, why not, said the other 960. If you do not replace these jobs, we're gonna split 20 of the salaries among you. If you do that five years in a row, you watch what happens. What gets incented gets done, and the reason that's so visible in the private sector is that margins are so thin.

  • 12:28:01

    NNAMDISome of your fellow Republicans have pushed efforts to freeze or cut the federal workforce and its compensation. Do you agree?

  • 12:28:09

    FIMIANNo. I don't. I don't think you have to. I think you do what I say and you can have your cake and eat it, too.

  • 12:28:12

    CONNOLLYWell, before you ask another question...

  • 12:28:13

    SHERWOOD(unintelligible) Congressman Connolly to answer the question about the danger for northern Virginia, your congressional district, the eleventh congressional district.

  • 12:28:20

    CONNOLLYYeah, I think my opponent actually represents a real and present danger to the economy in Northern Virginia with his partisan -- national partisan talking points about federal spending. Not all spending is the same. The partnership that has taken 30 years to build between the federal government and the private sector in Northern Virginia has created the second largest information technology community in the United States, next only to the Silicon Valley. It has absolutely created our quality of life in our economy. I represent the highest media in household income in the United States -- number one out of 435 Congressional Districts, hundreds and hundreds of thousands of jobs, Kojo, not only direct federal employment, but federal contractors, indirect federal employment and related employment.

  • 12:29:08

    CONNOLLYAnd so, you have to thread carefully on this relationship. It has -- I think it's been a win-win for the federal government. And to simply come in with Mean Act saying, I just wanna slash federal spending is going to have a lot of collateral damage, especially in Northern Virginia. I think you have to do it with a scalpel. I think you have to do it carefully, and I think you have to protect what we worked so hard to build in Northern Virginia. I come from that community. I'm on the relevant committee that advocates for federal employees and for a reasonable approach to federal contracting. And my opponent has yet to ever address (unintelligible)

  • 12:29:45

    FIMIANKojo, I'm not in favor of cutting with a meat ax. But let me tell you, what threatens the Northern Virginia economy the most is the over spending Mr. Connolly is engaged in, period. You can't borrow 40 percent of your operating budget, which is what we're doing. That cannot be sustained. This affects everything. People are gonna be looking for cuts everywhere because of the incredible spending Mr. Connolly has added to federal budget in the short time he's been on office.

  • 12:30:06

    CONNOLLYI would only point out that my opponent yet again has failed to answer the question you put on. What about the economy of Northern Virginia?

  • 12:30:14

    FIMIANLook, just...

  • 12:30:14

    NNAMDIIf you become elected, Keith Fimian, would you also join the House over side and government reform subcommittee on the federal workforce?

  • 12:30:22

    FIMIANI would like to. My predecessor, Tom Davis, sat on that committee and chaired it. But again, the spending is a real threat to everyone, Kojo. And Mr. Connolly is making light of it as though somehow...

  • 12:30:33

    CONNOLLYNo.

  • 12:30:33

    FIMIAN...what he's voted for doesn't matter...

  • 12:30:35

    CONNOLLYNo.

  • 12:30:35

    FIMIAN...and what he has done is unconscionable, quite frankly. There's a $30,000 debt on every child born today.

  • 12:30:40

    NNAMDIIn case you're just joining us, that's Keith Fimian. He's a Republican candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives, running for the seat representing Virginia's 11th Congressional District. That seat is held right now by Gerry Connolly. Gerald Connolly is a Democrat, also of the 11th District up for re-election next Tuesday.

  • 12:30:58

    CONNOLLYKojo, I just wanna say, by the way, the question on what committee would you like to be on? At that program that we won't name that we were just on...

  • 12:31:06

    NNAMDIYes.

  • 12:31:06

    CONNOLLY...his answer was, I’d like to go in the House Ways and Means Committee...

  • 12:31:09

    FIMIANWell, I didn't finish my answer.

  • 12:31:09

    CONNOLLYIt wasn't Oversight and Government Reform.

  • 12:31:11

    FIMIANIt's -- but -- listen, you can serve on more than one committee. If I had my dream job, it'd be Ways and Means. The odds to that are pretty small for a freshman congressman. Let's face it. So I'll settle with the House -- Government Reform here.

  • 12:31:20

    SHERWOODSettle?

  • 12:31:21

    CONNOLLYSettle? I'd probably go in that committee.

  • 12:31:23

    FIMIANWell, listen, compared to Ways and Means, I mean, I'd love to be on Ways and Means.

  • 12:31:27

    NNAMDIHere are our listeners. First, Gabe in Fairfax, Va. Gabe, you are on the air. Go ahead, please.

  • 12:31:33

    GABEHi. I'm calling because I have a father who has diabetes. I have a grandfather who passed away because of Alzheimer's disease, and stem cell research is one in a few ways that looks like it's gonna be potentially to solve these diseases and, you know, make lives better for millions of Americans. I would like to know what's the candidates' position are on stem cell research?

  • 12:31:54

    NNAMDIFirst, you, Keith Fimian.

  • 12:31:56

    FIMIANI am strongly in favor of stem cell research. It offers enormous promise.

  • 12:32:00

    NNAMDIEmbryonic?

  • 12:32:01

    FIMIANI'm not in favor of embryonic stem cell research. The adult which shows no promise to date -- adult stem cell research shows enormous promise. That's were all the discoveries are being made and with the ethical concerns having to do with embryonic stem cell, my point is if it's so ethically challenged to many people, then why engage in it when this other adult stem offers such great promise.

  • 12:32:25

    NNAMDIGerry Connolly.

  • 12:32:26

    CONNOLLYWell, I think this is another example of the sort of obfuscation by my opponent who doesn’t want people in this district to understand just how radical his views are in so many of these social issues. I favor embryonic stem cell research. That's the research that has the promise to try to cure Gabe's relative of diabetes and so many other human illnesses. And quite frankly, I think that is an ethical decision. Not to engage in that research I think closes the door on solving, you know, an incredible challenge for human health.

  • 12:33:03

    FIMIANOnce again, Kojo, it shows no promise right now. There's not a scientist (unintelligible)

  • 12:33:07

    SHERWOODNow we're on social issues. Can we get to a couple of social issues? Or do you like to (unintelligible)

  • 12:33:09

    NNAMDIWell, one more question on this, on Bertrand sent a question to our website for Mr. Fimian. "Did you or did you not specifically change the health policy of your employees so that a woman with an ectopic pregnancy, which when left untreated, kills the mother and the fetus, would not be covered?"

  • 12:33:29

    FIMIANNo, that's not true at all. In fact, this is just -- it's point-blank untrue.

  • 12:33:34

    NNAMDIOkay. Tom Sherwood?

  • 12:33:36

    SHERWOODWell...

  • 12:33:36

    CONNOLLYCan I just say something about that? I don't believe that is true. That is to say I don't believe my opponent's answer is true. We actually had one of his employees two years ago provide us with the insurance coverage. And his addendum to it explicitly amending the insurance coverage to make sure that that would not be covered.

  • 12:33:55

    FIMIANThat is patently false. Listen, what we do -- our insurance plan, we crafted early on. We wanted one that would cover our employees with the most common ailments, but one that didn't cost us more. I mean, when you're starting a company, Kojo, it took me eight years before I have enough to bank to make today's payroll and the payroll eight weeks from now or two weeks from now rather. I lived eight years hand to mouth. You'll look in the cost cutting everywhere you can find it. The truth is our plan now is completely comprehensive.

  • 12:34:21

    SHERWOODWell, I don't know of the plan. But let me ask you the Journal National Policy question, which you could, guys, could vote on will be a proposal to repeal the health care reform that was passed this past year. Would you vote to repeal it and start over?

  • 12:34:36

    FIMIANI would. I would, Tom.

  • 12:34:37

    SHERWOODMr. Fimian, you would?

  • 12:34:39

    FIMIANAnd the reason is because it doesn't cover your health. It doesn't address wellness adequately. It doesn't give an incentive for, you know, there's no difference between a 22-year-old marathon runner and overweight smoker. It doesn't address insurance cost...

  • 12:34:51

    SHERWOODI don't want to get to all the details of health aspects, it's kind of a basic...

  • 12:34:52

    FIMIAN...didn't address health savings accounts.

  • 12:34:55

    SHERWOODMr. Connolly?

  • 12:34:55

    FIMIANBut these are the reasons I oppose it. You should know them.

  • 12:34:57

    SHERWOODI know. But there's -- the bill is so -- it was a thousand pages.

  • 12:35:00

    FIMIANTwenty-three hundred pages.

  • 12:35:01

    SHERWOODTwenty-three hundred pages. I don't wanna start down to the list of the context.

  • 12:35:05

    CONNOLLYNo, I would not repeal it.

  • 12:35:06

    SHERWOODWould you fix some things?

  • 12:35:08

    CONNOLLYOf course. Everything -- I mean, we're still fixing social security. I mean, the legislation is always a work in progress. But I believe the health care reform bill is gonna make a meaningful difference in people's lives in terms of a huge basket of reforms. And I think it's gonna bring down the cost curve of health care, which is desperately...

  • 12:35:24

    SHERWOODWhether -- can I go to a quick social issue again?

  • 12:35:25

    NNAMDISure.

  • 12:35:25

    SHERWOODI just wanna...

  • 12:35:26

    NNAMDII don't wanna go away from health care quite yet. Before you go away from health care, let me ask Mr. Connolly. He approved of the bill that the president ultimately signed. Can you make a case for how that bill has already affected your constituents and...

  • 12:35:39

    CONNOLLYYeah. All kinds of constituents now can have peace of mind in terms of their kid being on the policy until 26, that it's gonna be illegal for health insurance companies to deny them coverage based on a pre-existing condition, that we're closing the donut hole for senior citizens and their drug coverage. And next year, they're gonna get a 50 percent discount on brand drugs.

  • 12:35:58

    NNAMDIAre those things you're against, Mr. Fimian?

  • 12:36:00

    FIMIANNot in the entirety. But look, it's important -- Connolly said we had to pass this bill, or Nancy Pelosi, so that we can read it so that we can know what's in it. How wise is that? Look, 2,300-page bill, think about it. It's self-referential. I mean, I was...

  • 12:36:13

    SHERWOODNo, it's not long.

  • 12:36:13

    FIMIANI tried to read some of the earlier versions. This bill does not do we needed to do. There should be at least four or may be as many as eight or 10 separate smaller bills.

  • 12:36:22

    SHERWOODSo...

  • 12:36:22

    CONNOLLYI just wanna say that my opponent on that other show...

  • 12:36:25

    NNAMDIHave you read the bill?

  • 12:36:25

    CONNOLLYYes, I have. Twice. My opponent said on the other show, he didn't read the bill. He gave up after 30 minutes. But that has not stopped from...

  • 12:36:32

    FIMIANI didn't give up after 30 minutes.

  • 12:36:33

    CONNOLLYLet me finish. That has not stopped him from calling for its repeal. I think it just as irresponsible to call for the repeal of a bill you admit you haven't read as it is to vote for it, if you haven't read it.

  • 12:36:43

    FIMIANKojo, Mr. Connolly has not read all the bills he has voted for. Let's be honest with ourselves here.

  • 12:36:47

    SHERWOODWell, no member of Congress has.

  • 12:36:48

    FIMIANThe fact is -- listen, okay. I'm not in Congress. I was running a company when that bill came out.

  • 12:36:51

    SHERWOODWould you read every bill that you vote on?

  • 12:36:53

    FIMIANI would like to.

  • 12:36:54

    SHERWOODYou will not do anything else? Having work briefly for the Hill, I can tell you the mountain of paperwork will...

  • 12:36:58

    FIMIANWell, listen. For Connolly to make an issue of me not reading a bill when I'm not in Congress is absurd. I read the summaries of it. And, in fact, and this bill...

  • 12:37:05

    CONNOLLYBut it hasn't stopped you for calling to repeal it

  • 12:37:06

    FIMIANThis bill doesn't do what it needs to do.

  • 12:37:08

    CONNOLLYWell, then...

  • 12:37:08

    FIMIANIt doesn't address health care adequately and that's the problem. But look, the fundamental point here is the spending.

  • 12:37:12

    SHERWOODWell, what about the issue he raised on the bill? The -- having your child covered until your 26. Do you like that?

  • 12:37:17

    FIMIANI mean, I would prefer -- I have a daughter that fits in that category right now. Is that...

  • 12:37:21

    SHERWOODBut you would still repeal the bill?

  • 12:37:22

    FIMIANIs that the best thing -- yeah. Yes.

  • 12:37:23

    SHERWOODWhat about pre-conditions?

  • 12:37:24

    FIMIANNo.

  • 12:37:25

    SHERWOODPre-existing conditions?

  • 12:37:26

    FIMIANPre-existing conditions -- I need to see the language that would -- will be address finally in the bill...

  • 12:37:30

    SHERWOODOkay. Well, we can't have our whole program on health care. Can I go to gays in the military? It's another big issue in the Washington area since we're the center of that.

  • 12:37:36

    NNAMDIAnd then, we got to get our callers.

  • 12:37:37

    SHERWOODOkay. Homosexuals are serving openly in the service. Mr. Connolly, are you for that or against that?

  • 12:37:43

    CONNOLLYI have voted to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Our own experience -- and sadly discharged over 13,000 men and women in serving the country who would like to continue to serve the country. But for their orientation, they have lost their jobs and we have lost their talent. Our allies have proven that you can live side by side with people of a different sexual orientation without disruption -- Germany, Canada, Israel -- to it.

  • 12:38:11

    SHERWOODMr. Fimian, what -- your view?

  • 12:38:12

    FIMIANMy dad is career military -- was career military. He's dead now, deceased. But I would rely on the good judgment of our commanders. Ninety percent of those in the military were unit cohesion is so vitally important are against it for whatever reasons they have. And...

  • 12:38:31

    SHERWOODWhat do you say to the argument made back ages ago that African-Americans couldn't co-exist with white people and they had to be segregated?

  • 12:38:39

    FIMIANYeah, listen. I mean, obviously that is...

  • 12:38:40

    SHERWOODIs it a non-equivalent argument?

  • 12:38:41

    FIMIANIt should not have been in the case. I think these are a little bit different. But, look, I wanna point something out. I think it's really important here. What matters to the voters right now are jobs, the economy and spending...

  • 12:38:51

    SHERWOODWell (unintelligible)

  • 12:38:51

    FIMIANAnd Gerald Connolly has defined himself as...

  • 12:38:52

    SHERWOODI don't want...

  • 12:38:52

    FIMIAN...a pragmatic moderate. It's -- look, the voters want to know about this.

  • 12:38:55

    CONNOLLYI...

  • 12:38:55

    SHERWOODNo, but there are -- but I'm -- I'm sorry. I just wanna make sure we got off on these social issues, got them all done as a kind of a tick-tock. And I think you want to go to the phones?

  • 12:39:01

    NNAMDIYes.

  • 12:39:02

    SHERWOODOkay.

  • 12:39:03

    NNAMDIHere is John in Vienna, Va. John, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.

  • 12:39:07

    JOHNOh, thanks Kojo and Tom. I'm an undecided voter here in Fairfax. And I heard Mr. Fimian's recent comments that the tragedy at Virginia Tech could have been avoided if the students were, quote, "packing heat." Frankly, I found that sentiment to be abhorrent. And I'd like to know what each of the candidates feels about closing the gun show loophole. And, frankly, I don't wanna hear anymore double talk from Keith Fimian.

  • 12:39:28

    FIMIANWell, listen. I -- Mr...

  • 12:39:29

    NNAMDIThe gun hole loop -- gun show loophole, for those who are unfamiliar with it, means that people who are selling guns at gun shows do not have to...

  • 12:39:38

    SHERWOODDo all the paperwork. (laugh)

  • 12:39:39

    NNAMDIYes, do all of the paperwork necessary.

  • 12:39:41

    FIMIANListen, I...

  • 12:39:42

    SHERWOODWhat about the packing heat remark?

  • 12:39:43

    FIMIANYeah, I misspoke when I said that. The question surprised me. It's the first and only time until today that it had been raised on the campaign the entire time I've been doing this. And I misspoke. What I meant was if there was an armed security guard at Virginia Tech, the assailant may have thought twice. It may have prevented it. I don't know if it would have or not. But my words were very poorly chosen, and I apologize for that. But I...

  • 12:40:09

    SHERWOODShould students have guns?

  • 12:40:10

    FIMIANNo, certainly not. I definitely agree students should not -- nor should criminals, nor the mentally ill, nor domestic abusers. And we've -- I think there's a fine line here we can strike where our Second Amendment rights can be preserved, but guns are kept out of the hands of our children and criminals.

  • 12:40:25

    SHERWOODWell, what about packing heat, Mr. Connolly?

  • 12:40:26

    CONNOLLYWell, I think this is an insight into the extreme views of my opponent that he's trying to mask in this campaign as he did two years ago. And I don't think it's gonna fool voters. First of all, there were security guards on campus and they did have guns. So the idea that -- what he was talking about was really security guards, too bad they didn't have guns is simply not true. He clearly referred to students, and as you indicated, Tom, the reference was packing heat. He's trying to have it both ways, placating certain extreme elements...

  • 12:40:55

    FIMIANNo, I'm not.

  • 12:40:56

    CONNOLLYLet me finish. Certainly placating extreme elements in his base, but then when he gets caught at it trying to retreat from that position.

  • 12:41:04

    FIMIANListen, I'm not trying to placate anyone, Kojo.

  • 12:41:04

    CONNOLLYBecause he knows -- I'm gonna finish. I am gonna finish, and then you can have your time. You know, while understanding that, of course, that's not the majority view in our district. My predecessor took a very reasonable point of view on guns and actually was part of a coalition to try to have reasonable solutions to protect the public while not infringing on Second Amendment...

  • 12:41:25

    FIMIANCan I respond?

  • 12:41:25

    SHERWOODDo you -- listen, Congressman, do you believe that you have the right in the Second Amendment to have a gun in your home?

  • 12:41:31

    CONNOLLYYes, I do.

  • 12:41:32

    SHERWOODAnd, Mr. Fimian...

  • 12:41:33

    FIMIANYeah, I agree with that. Look, I'm not trying to placate anyone. I answered a question of a reporter on television. I wasn't trying to placate anyone. I misspoke.

  • 12:41:40

    SHERWOODDon't blame television. I'm -- that's my business. (laugh)

  • 12:41:43

    FIMIANAnd, by the way, I misspoke. But listen...

  • 12:41:45

    NNAMDIHe's blaming the reporter.

  • 12:41:46

    FIMIANI am no extremist. Mr. Connolly, if any one of the two of us is an extremist based on this population handbook he wrote in 1974 that called for pulling health coverage from Americans and eliminating property rights.

  • 12:41:57

    NNAMDIOh, I wanted to stay with guns for a second, and go back to our phones. Here's Jose in Oakton, Va. Jose, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.

  • 12:42:04

    JOSEYes. I would like to hear what their position, both candidates' position regarding the foreclosure mess we have. We have had seven million foreclosures so far. Bankers expect to foreclose some 14 million American families in addition to the seven million. I haven't heard anything from them regarding that, specifically about the frauds, the forgery, the false affidavits the fraud on the courts and the families that are being evicted by parties that have no rights to be foreclosing. Virginia is a known judicial foreclosure state, meaning that they can lie, cheat, and steal without anybody saying anything. What is their position?

  • 12:42:45

    NNAMDIFirst, you, Congressman Connolly.

  • 12:42:47

    CONNOLLYI think that putting somebody out of the house ought to be the last resort, not the first resort. Frankly, I think a lot of financial and lending institutions have gone to that as the first resort and as we've now seen, often, frankly, with fault documentation. There are...

  • 12:43:04

    NNAMDIWhat do you think should be done?

  • 12:43:05

    CONNOLLYWell, I spend a lot of time, actually, in my office intervening with financial institutions on behalf of people in their homes to try to get a renegotiation. There are a lot of people who were under waters through no fault of their own and have made a good faith effort to keep their commitment. So with a little bit of help, including the willingness of the lending institution to renegotiate, could stay in their home. That ought to be our first goal.

  • 12:43:28

    NNAMDIForeclosure freeze?

  • 12:43:29

    CONNOLLYBut, secondly, well, I don't know if I favor a full foreclosure freeze, but I do think, moving forward, the public and the government had to have confidence in the documents you're relying on before you put someone out of their home. I also believe that we have to do a lot better job of making sure that some of the practices that led to the bubble in 2007 are ended. And we have passed some legislation to do that, so that people aren't taking on an obligation that nobody in their right minds thinks they should or could.

  • 12:44:00

    NNAMDIMr. Fimian.

  • 12:44:01

    FIMIANListen, the paperwork issue, we got to make sure that is strained out absolutely categorically. But, look, the best thing that -- the best program the government can implement is creating a job. We need these people to have economic opportunities so they can move forward. Job creation is the key to doing that. That -- Gerry Connolly has never created a job. I've created hundreds of them from scratch. And, again, this idea of eliminating uncertainty, I can't overemphasize it, it is essential.

  • 12:44:26

    NNAMDISo you don't have a problem with the foreclosures?

  • 12:44:28

    FIMIANNo, I do. But the best thing -- the best way out of this mess we're in is making sure people have a job they can get if they lose their current job. That is not changing. We're stuck at unemployment around 10 percent.

  • 12:44:38

    NNAMDIYeah, but the question is what would you do about foreclosures right now if you were elected?

  • 12:44:42

    FIMIANWell, I would certainly make sure that there are no paperwork errors that lead to foreclosures that are unwarranted because of this question about where we are in the chain of ownership. But I would do everything possible to make sure that people -- foreclosures not only as the last resort. But, again, finding a job is the key to not being foreclosed.

  • 12:45:03

    NNAMDITom Sherwood is our resident analyst. He's a reporter at NBC 4 and a columnist for the Current Newspapers. It's his turn now.

  • 12:45:10

    SHERWOODWell, let's stay with the economy and the -- and foreclosures. And going forward there, you listen to CNBC, if I can name one of the stations I'm affiliated with, you can hear the most intense discussions about is the economy getting better? Is it getting worse? And what should the government do to spur the economy? Is there anything you have in mind specifically other than extending the tax cuts, more spending by the government or less spending? What -- any ideas? People are very desperate. And they are -- and they should...

  • 12:45:39

    NNAMDIThat's how I should've asked the question. How would you do it, but not with tax cuts?

  • 12:45:43

    SHERWOODRight. It's something different.

  • 12:45:44

    NNAMDIOr the ideas.

  • 12:45:45

    SHERWOODAnd because everybody's starting to agree that those tax cuts are gonna be extended even if the president doesn't want them extended.

  • 12:45:52

    FIMIANTemporarily.

  • 12:45:53

    SHERWOODTemporarily, at least one or two years. But is there something else that the government can do being the big government that it is to encourage business, to encourage job creation other than just spend more money? Yeah. I'm sorry. I'm looking at you. I apologize.

  • 12:46:06

    CONNOLLYWho are you...

  • 12:46:07

    SHERWOODMr. Connolly.

  • 12:46:07

    NNAMDIThat would be Mr. Connolly.

  • 12:46:09

    SHERWOODYou're the incumbent. (laugh)

  • 12:46:10

    CONNOLLY(laugh) Yeah, well, I'm happy to answer. Well, I -- my opponent opposed and would have voted no on the Recovery and Reinvestment bill. I think the Recovery and Reinvestment bill, as do most economists, save the economy from going off a cliff and becoming a Great Depression. But it wasn't. You know, that stimulus helped to stabilize things. So we're not shedding 750...

  • 12:46:34

    FIMIANSo what would you do now?

  • 12:46:35

    CONNOLLYBut I believe that moving forward -- I talked about credit for small businesses.

  • 12:46:41

    SHERWOODYeah.

  • 12:46:41

    CONNOLLYI think that's really important. I think providing a climate of predictability and certainty with respect to taxes is very important for the next one or two years until that GDP growth rate improves. Jobs are stubborn in any recovery, and this is the worst recession in 80 years. So this one's steeper than most. You know, I think we have to try to provide incentives to the private sector. That's why I supported the HIRE Act, for example, that actually gives an incentive, a tax incentive, to businesses that create new jobs, small businesses that create new jobs. So we've got to provide that environment. But at the end of the day, it's gonna be a matter of slow recovery and consumer confidence returning to the marketplace.

  • 12:47:27

    SHERWOODYou know, Mr. Gates, the secretary of Defense, is gonna cut a lot of defense spending, but -- so that might be more jobs lost in Northern Virginia. Mr. Fimian, what about that? What else can be done other than ensuring that the tax cuts stay in place?

  • 12:47:39

    FIMIANWell, look. What Mr. Connolly just said is -- he doesn't know what to do. What I would do is I'd cut capital gains taxes on start-ups for five years. By at least telling the investment community that you're eliminating these taxes, you change the risk profile of every investment in America in your favor. And venture...

  • 12:47:55

    SHERWOODCapital gains? What is it, 15 percent now? What would you do to...

  • 12:47:57

    FIMIANIt's 15 percent. But, Tom, the question is whether or not it's gonna go to 25 or 30 or more. The point is, if you take this known cost off the table at the end of the investment horizon, it changes the risk profile of every investment in America. And money -- venture money would pour into the markets because that known cost is gone.

  • 12:48:14

    NNAMDIDoes that fall under your category of tax cuts?

  • 12:48:17

    SHERWOODI think yes, yes, capital gains. If you went below -- would you like it below 15, or you just wanna keep it at 15 as opposed to 25 or 30?

  • 12:48:23

    FIMIANWell, certainly. I -- on start-ups, I'd make it zero but keep it at 15 for everything else because you -- people are standing on the sidelines right now. My company is a great example. There's a really good opportunity that we'd like to do. We've beta-tested it in two markets nationwide. But it demands me borrowing a seven-figure sum. And I've told my senior team I'm not doing it because I can't afford for the bank, a year from now, to pull up and say, thanks for the memories, but we're pulling your line of credit.

  • 12:48:44

    SHERWOODDid I hear you -- I'm sorry. Did I hear you say capital gains tax should be zero?

  • 12:48:47

    FIMIANOn start-ups.

  • 12:48:48

    SHERWOODOn start-ups.

  • 12:48:49

    FIMIANStart-ups. That's how you get venture money pouring into the markets.

  • 12:48:51

    SHERWOODI might start a star-up if it was...

  • 12:48:54

    CONNOLLY(laugh) Tom, can I just add one more thing? Kojo, can I just...

  • 12:48:54

    NNAMDIHere's -- speaking of...

  • 12:48:56

    FIMIANIf I can finish answering the question, I would also cut unemployment taxes until employment get down to 5 percent.

  • 12:49:02

    NNAMDIIs there any way to stimulate the economy other than tax cuts?

  • 12:49:05

    CONNOLLYYes. I got one.

  • 12:49:06

    FIMIANWell, listen, let's hear from Mr. Connolly in a second. But the idea of stimulating the economy, it's not a zero-sum gain. It's not as though the tax cuts aren't more than made up because by cutting -- spending is the problem. But by cutting taxes and getting the economy to explode, you generate far more in tax receipts on the growing economy than you would have lost by making the tax cuts. So my point is you got to grow the pie. We need people in Congress who understand this and can do this. I'm one of them.

  • 12:49:34

    CONNOLLYOne of the things I would do in the next Congress and certainly avidly support, and that is the -- reauthorizing the transportation bill. This is a six-year bill that provides a steady stream of investment in infrastructure. It is a regular bill.

  • 12:49:51

    SHERWOODSomething Northern Virginia certainly needs.

  • 12:49:52

    CONNOLLYAbsolutely. And it would make a big difference. We -- not all spending -- see, my opponent sort of has this modest approach to spending. Not all spending is the same. Infrastructure investments have huge returns on them. They create jobs, the gift that keeps on giving in terms of spurring other economic activity, creating jobs and enhancing our local economy. And I think we need to get that bill done into the president's desk in the next Congress.

  • 12:50:20

    FIMIANAgain, my opponent don't know what he's talking about. The fact is, Kojo, that he has voted for spending that is so great, that is so massive that it actually threatens our children and it threatens economic investment. Again, companies are sitting on the sidelines with 30 percent more cash today than they had two years ago. They're not gonna invest it while the economic climate is this uncertain. And who knows whether the deficit is gonna be next year and the year after? All we know is it's gonna be terrible.

  • 12:50:44

    NNAMDIBut those companies are not responsible for building the nation's infrastructure. They may participate in it if they choose to do so, but the government is responsible for making sure that we have an infrastructure that keeps our citizens safe and that it's an infrastructure that will last into the future. Some people are saying we -- this is the opportunity to build more green infrastructures.

  • 12:51:03

    FIMIANNow that's true. But the shovel-ready projects we talked about have not happened. They have not materialized.

  • 12:51:08

    CONNOLLYExcuse me, Kojo.

  • 12:51:09

    FIMIANA very small percentage of the dollars that have been allocated have been spent on these projects because the lead time is so great.

  • 12:51:14

    CONNOLLYOh, timeout here, Kojo. (laugh) On the Recovery bill alone, $61 million completed the Fairfax County Parkway. I cut the ribbon to open it a few weeks ago. It's done. Advanced a couple of $100 million to get Metro to Dulles Airport. It's under construction as we speak. Widening the Prince William County Parkway, done. Adding locomotives to Virginia Railway Express, done. So it adds capacity and improves on-time performance for our hard-pressed commuters. There are myriad projects in my district that have been...

  • 12:51:44

    NNAMDIGot to go back to the phones. Here's Angelica in Woodbridge, Va. Angelica, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.

  • 12:51:51

    ANGELICAHi. Thank you, Kojo. My question is actually for Mr. Fimian. In the past, you said a woman who is raped should be forced to carry the rapist's baby to full term. I personally find that very immoral and insensitive. But I wanted to get a comment from you on that.

  • 12:52:07

    FIMIANListen, I don't wanna force anyone to do anything. I'm pro-life. It's what I believe. And I think every life is precious. And my heart goes out to any woman who has suffered this very difficult decision. But that doesn't make me an extremist, as Mr. Connolly would suggest. It simply means...

  • 12:52:23

    SHERWOODI'm trying to understand the answer. I mean, full...

  • 12:52:24

    FIMIANIt simply means I'm not gonna change my position. I'm 100 percent pro-life. I'm not gonna change my position...

  • 12:52:31

    SHERWOODSo...

  • 12:52:32

    FIMIAN...because I'm running for Congress. That's the kind of thing a career politician like Connolly would do.

  • 12:52:35

    SHERWOODI know. I'm the one who wants be clear of the answer. I wasn't clear. So if a woman were to be raped and became pregnant, she would be required to carry to term?

  • 12:52:43

    FIMIANNo. Listen, I don't...

  • 12:52:44

    SHERWOODNo.

  • 12:52:44

    FIMIANI'm not asking anyone to require anything. I'm not gonna be -- I'm not...

  • 12:52:47

    SHERWOODI know that you're in favor...

  • 12:52:48

    FIMIAN...running for a Supreme Court justice, Tom. I'm not here to change the law. I'm simply saying that I am pro-life. And if one of my daughters were raped, God forbid, I would urge her to carry the baby to term, my grandchild to term. As difficult as it would be recognizing that this innocent life had nothing to do with the crime perpetuated. But listen, if abortion is your issue, Mr. Connolly is your guy. But if you wanna fix this economy, if you wanna grow this economy, create jobs, get out of the mess we're in and it is now dangerous...

  • 12:53:16

    CONNOLLYOh, come on.

  • 12:53:17

    FIMIAN..I'm the guy. I'm the man to do it. Gerry Connolly is not...

  • 12:53:19

    CONNOLLYWait a minute.

  • 12:53:20

    NNAMDI(unintelligible)

  • 12:53:20

    FIMIANHe's never created job in his life.

  • 12:53:21

    CONNOLLYWait a minute. I wanna address this. I think it is incredibly inhumane to say to a woman who's suffering from the trauma of having been raped or a young girl from rape or incest that if you had your druthers and you could vote on it because of your pro-life commitment across the board, you would force her, essentially, to carry that baby to term because you'd make it illegal for her to have any other choice. I think that is wrong morally. And I absolutely would allow a woman or a young girl, based with one of those two situations, absolutely to have a choice available to her.

  • 12:54:02

    NNAMDIMoving on. I got an e-mail this morning from Mike Panetta. He is the shadow House Representative of the District of Columbia and the e-mail said two words, "Chairman Chaffetz," referring of course to Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah, currently the current -- the ranking Republican on the subcommittee on Federal Workforce, Postal Service and the District of Columbia. The city paper had a piece saying that if Jason Chaffetz becomes chairman of that committee, he thinks D.C. autonomy is unconstitutional. He wants to roll back gay marriage. He'd like to turn Washington into part of Maryland. If in fact the Republicans stay at control, are those things that you would support, Keith Fimian, specifically rolling back gay marriage in the District of Columbia?

  • 12:54:44

    FIMIANI'd want to hear the arguments on both sides of that issue, Kojo. I've not heard them because I've been running for Congress the last year and a half, quite frankly. And...

  • 12:54:57

    SHERWOODWell that obviously tells you...

  • 12:54:57

    FIMIAN...that issue is very meaningful to people down here, but there are issues that are as passionately made on the other side.

  • 12:55:05

    NNAMDIHow about voting rights for the district? Gerry Connolly's predecessor Tom Davis is one of the big movers of that legislation.

  • 12:55:07

    FIMIANI'm open -- listen, I'm open to that. But again, I wanna understand the issues on both sides because they are -- our constitution does not do that for whatever reasons the founders had, who I have a great regard for. But I'm willing to listen to the arguments on both sides of the issue and get up to speed to understand what people on both sides think. But I can tell you this, in my district, this issue has not come up at all. Zero, zilch. People are worried about the economy and jobs and spending.

  • 12:55:33

    CONNOLLYNot true. We had a debate in front of hundreds of people just last week before the Jewish Community Center attended by that other guy on the other radio station.

  • 12:55:41

    NNAMDIMm-hmm.

  • 12:55:41

    CONNOLLYSo he's a witness. And my opponent flat out said the Constitution doesn't allow for it and if they don't like it, they can move. That's a direct quote and it's on video tape.

  • 12:55:48

    SHERWOODBecause (unintelligible)

  • 12:55:49

    NNAMDIWe only have about 20 seconds left before each of you is allowed a one-minute closing statement.

  • 12:55:52

    SHERWOODWell, is that true? Did you say if we -- those of us who have a city want voting rights, we should -- we have to move?

  • 12:55:58

    FIMIANWell, listen, again the founders picked -- chose to start the company this way.

  • 12:56:01

    SHERWOODI'm sorry. Did you say it, I don't know. Did you say -- I mean, he says you said you can move if you don't like it. 'Cause I don't know if you said that or not. That's why I'm asking.

  • 12:56:09

    FIMIANI don't remember saying it. And Connolly has put words on my mouth before, but...

  • 12:56:12

    CONNOLLYNo. We've got it video taped.

  • 12:56:12

    NNAMDII'm afraid we are out of time...

  • 12:56:14

    FIMIAN...it's typically.

  • 12:56:14

    NNAMDI...and nobody can put more words in anybody's mouth because you each have one minute to express your own words about why you should be voted for. First you, Gerry Connolly.

  • 12:56:22

    CONNOLLYYou know, Kojo, thank you for having us on your show. I have been serving my community through civic engagement and political life for a number of years now delivering results. Like my Republican predecessor in this job, I am of the party of getting results and pragmatic results for our citizens. I wanna keep that tradition going. I have worked hard in my time in public life and I'd like to continue serving the citizens I worked so hard to serve in my 16 years in public life.

  • 12:56:51

    NNAMDIAnd now you, Keith Fimian.

  • 12:56:53

    FIMIANGerald Connolly is no pragmatic moderate, Kojo. He has voted with Nancy Pelosi 97 percent of time, that's 1,940 out of 2,000 votes. He says he's fiscally responsible. He's not, based on the spending he's voted for. He's not a tax cut. He's voted for 670 billion in new taxes. And he actually calls himself a deficit hawk, yet the federal deficit exploded in one year to 1.4 trillion, 40 percent of the budget. He is not who he says he is. And this is a typical politician. He wants you to believe an alternate reality exists, that he is something he's not.

  • 12:57:23

    FIMIANIf you think things are fine the way they're going, Connolly is your guy. But if you know that they're not as I do and you want this economy to grow and someone in this seat who knows how to create jobs and grow the economy, I'm your guy. If you think 30,000 death that each newborn comes in the world with is an unfortunate reality, as Mr. Connolly would have think, or if you know as I do that it's an unconscionable moral wrong that we're visiting upon our children, then I'm your guy. Mr. Connolly can't fix these problems.

  • 12:57:49

    NNAMDITen seconds.

  • 12:57:50

    FIMIANHe has never created job. He doesn't know how to how to create a job. I've created hundreds and that is what we need today.

  • 12:57:55

    NNAMDITom Sherwood, you have 30 seconds for your closing statement.

  • 12:57:58

    SHERWOODWell, my closing statement is that, you know, I love democracy. And I wish we had it in the District of Columbia. And then people should make sure they vote on Nov. 2.

  • 12:58:05

    NNAMDII got to say this. We got this e-mail from Martin, Vienna, Va. "I don't trust Mr. Connolly with my wallet, but I fear Mr. Fimian's latent bureaucratic tendencies. Fortunately, there's a libertarian in that race who I can vote for. I encourage those who feel like me to vote David Dotson." Thank you all for listening. Go out and vote on Tuesday. I'm Kojo Nnamdi.

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