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October 27, 2012

6th District pols clash in Cape Ann debate

Agreement between bitter opponents about federal fishery regulatory failings and misdeeds trumped political ambition yesterday in the final debate between the 6th District congressional candidates.

But otherwise the Democratic incumbent and his Republican opponent lobbed ideological darts at each other in answer to seven questions, leaving Libertarian Daniel Fishman to describe how his approach might improve the nation.

For example, challenger Richard Tisei insisted that incumbent John Tierney was a Democratic Party go-along. This overlooked Tierney’s bipartisan bonding with Republican U.S. Sen. Scott Brown to press the Obama administration to rid itself of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Administrator Jane Lubchenco.

For another example, Tierney insisted that Tisei had endorsed the budget and beat-Obama priority of the Republican Party’s Young Guns and Tea Party even though the liberal Boston Globe has endorsed Tisei.

The spending bills Tierney spoke about favorably — the President’s Jobs Act, and a “decent transportation bill” — are antithetical to the House leadership, including Speaker John Boehner who earlier this month came to Massachusetts to hold a $1,000-a-head fundraiser for Tisei; for every time Tierney attempted to link Tisei to the House Republican leadership, Tisei scoffed off the association, saying he earned a reputation when he served in the state Legislature in the early 1990s as a non-ideological problem solver.

Tierney, he argued, was the partisan.

That gave Tierney pause to scoff. When the Democrats had a majority in the House from 2004 through 2010, “we reached across the aisle. ... The last couple of years has been a different story — take no prisoners,” was how he characterized the “beat Obama at all costs” strategy. In fact, Boehner has been less clear than Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell that the primary goal of the Republicans in Congress was to limit Obama to a single term.

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