TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY

Local News

August 19, 2010

Conway asks Paul to debate on Meet the Press

CORBIN — By Ronnie Ellis / CNHI News Service

Jack Conway says he’s agreed to debate his Republican opponent in Kentucky’s U.S. Senate race on NBC’s Meet the Press program and is willing to debate Paul on Fox News if Paul agrees to the Meet the Press proposal.

Conway said he understands Meet the Press is interested in kicking off its usual series of Senate candidate debates with one between Paul and Conway.

“I’ve accepted that,” Conway said Wednesday. “I’m willing to go on Fox News with Chris Wallace if he’s willing to do Meet the Press.” Paul has appeared frequently on Fox News programs since he entered the Senate race last summer but he canceled an appearance earlier this year on Meet the Press after his primary victory following a storm of media attention following comments he made about the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

Conway said he would like to see “five or six regional debates, all televised” in Kentucky as well and would be willing to appear with Paul on CNN if Paul is willing.

The Paul campaign did not immediately respond to emails and phone messages seeking response.

Questioned about his position on extending tax cuts enacted during the Bush administration which are set to expire this year, Conway says he continues to support extending them temporarily because he doesn’t believe it’s wise to raise taxes during a recession.

Most Democrats, including President Barack Obama, want to let the cuts expire except for those directed toward those making less than $250,000 a year. Conway, during his congressional campaign against Ann Northup in 2002, supported the tax cuts but he told The Courier-Journal editorial board during this spring’s primary that he generally supported allowing them to expire. He has since said he’d extend them during the recession and Paul’s campaign has said he’s “waffling” on the question — a word Conway used first to describe Paul’s clarifications of previous controversial statements on farm subsidies, the Civil Rights Act and other issues.

Conway said Wednesday he didn’t know the impact of extending the tax cuts on his personal taxes or those of his father, Louisville attorney Tom Conway.

“I’m certainly above $250,000 if you want to put me in that bracket,” Conway responded. “But I’m not advocating for me personally or anyone in my family. I’m just advocating that we don’t need to be raising taxes in time of recession.”

He said the controversy over a proposed Muslim community center and mosque near Ground Zero where the 9/11 terrorist attacks occurred is “an issue for New York primarily.” He said, however, “I think we have to keep the families of the victims of 9/11 foremost in our minds and because of that I would prefer to see it located elsewhere.”

Conway said he isn’t concerned that most publicly released polls show Paul leading the race by a margin of a couple of points to eight or nine. He said his internal polling shows the race even and he believes both candidates are “somewhere in the low 40s with 15 to 20 percent undecided.”

“As people around the state start to understand that Rand Paul just doesn’t get Kentucky  I think we’ll surge ahead and I think we’ll win the race,” said Conway.

Ronnie Ellis writes for CNHI News Service and is based in Frankfort. Reach him at rellis@cnhi.com. Follow CNHI News Service stories on Twitter at www.twitter.com/cnhifrankfort.

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