“If you’re going to die, you ought to do it before the end of the year,” the Wakefield Republican quipped, making a reference to a rising estate tax — one of numerous taxes that he says overburden Americans.
The comment drew loud laughter from the crowd in the North Andover High School auditorium, where the Merrimack Valley Chamber of Commerce hosted an hourlong debate on the 6th Congressional District.
It was one of the lighter moments of the forum, which escalated into more sparring between the two adversarial candidates.
Tierney, D-Salem, who is seeking a ninth term in Congress, got in the last words of the evening and may have drawn some of the loudest boos when he branded Tisei “a tea party Republican,” a reference that he’s made repeatedly during their often-vicious campaign.
Much of the debate featured a continuation of the ongoing Tierney-Tisei battle, overshadowing the candidacy of the third candidate — Libertarian Daniel Fishman of Beverly, a computer software writer who specializes in programs aimed at improving special education.
But Fishman, who portrays himself as the common man’s candidate, made the most of separating himself from his two sparring opponents.
“If you send these guys to Washington, it’s a vote for exactly the same government we’ve had for the last 100 years. It’s a vote for exactly the same process,” Fishman said.
The debate focused on the high cost of energy, health care, how to create jobs in the district, taxes and the national debt — primary issues of concern to the business community.
Moderator Sal Lupoli, owner of the Riverwalk complex on Merrimack Street in Lawrence and chairman of the chamber’s board of directors, repeatedly warned the audience that their frequent outbursts, either jeering or cheering the candidates, would take away time for additional questions.