In their third and final television debate, Elaine Marshall bashed incumbent Republican Senator Richard Burr as a homophobic influence-peddler in thrall to big pharma and the military-industrial complex.
Marshall leveled her assault on Burr's support for an open-ended war in Afghanistan.
Pleading, "We have got to see an end, we have got to have a finish line," Marshall blasted Burr's stalwart backing for the long war. Ambivalent as usual, Burr said he was not sure when US troops should come home.
Marshall zeroed in on Burr's unpopular backing for the bank bailout. When the meltdown hit in September 2008, Burr panicked and ordered his wife and children to go immediately to ATMs to extract the maximum amount of cash the family could get. Burr's embarrassing panic hit print, and he later confirmed his astonishing reaction to the crisis.
"On Friday night, I called my wife and I said, 'Brooke, I am not coming home this weekend. I will call you on Monday. Tonight, I want you to go to the ATM machine, and I want you to draw out everything it will let you take. And I want you to go tomorrow, and I want you to go Sunday.' I was convinced on Friday night that if you put a plastic card in an ATM machine the last thing you were going to get was cash."
As North Carolina Secretary of State, Marshall has a record of regulating corporations and their lobbyists that contrasts sharply with the bare-naked corporate candidacy of Richard Burr, who has amassed a gigantic $9 million campaign bank account rich in contributions from corporate lobbyists, political action committees and corporate fat cats.
Marshall lambasted Burr for his failure to support effective financial regulation, and she made searing comments about Burr's backing for the deregulation of banking that led to the current economic crisis.
There were sharp contrasts between the two on federal spending. Burr merely wants to roll spending back to 2008 levels - which featured a massive deficit of $1 trillion mostly before the meltdown. In stark contrast to Burr, Marshall supports massive changes for Medicare empowering the federal government to negotiate with Big Pharmaceuticals over the exorbitant costs of drugs. Critically, Marshall pointed out that Burr is backed by big pharmaceuticals, insurance corporations and the biggest banks in the USA.
The Raleigh News & Observer reports:
No member of Congress during this election cycle has received more money than Burr from individuals and political action committees affiliated with pharmaceutical companies, tobacco companies, business associations, foreign import automobile dealers, dentists and steel producers, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks congressional fundraising.
On taxes, Burr favors the retention of the Bush Era tax-cuts for the rich, while Marshall backs tax-cuts for the middle class.
The strongest exchange between the two came over the question of gay rights and gays in the military. Burr supports the continuation of Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT) while Marshall bluntly rejected it stating, "(Gays) who want to stand up and defend us, they ought to be able to do that."
To his detriment, Burr engaged Marshall on gay rights. On live television, Burr actually stated that he did not accept that homosexuality was innately biological that, in his judgment, homosexuality might be a matter of individual choice. Marshall immediately lashed out at Burr's bigotry against gays,
"This is wrong-headed and discriminatory. We should not be judging people by the color of their hair, the color of their eyes, or the color of their skin, or other factors they have no control over. That is wrong in America. What you are talking about is governmental discrimination."
Since the launch of her television ads and the three television debates, the latest polls in North Carolina confirm that Marshall is surging strongly against Burr. In the last few days, Marshall has cut Burr's once mighty 20 point lead in half. In fact, Burr was once 20 points up on Marshall, but that margin has closed to single digits at 8 points and dropping.
After last week's debate, Burr is still plummeting. New polls will be published in the next few days that will detail the tightening in this exciting race. This contest was once considered a shoe-in for the lackluster but incumbent Burr, however, Marshall's aggression in their televised debates and her highly effective TV spots have given her the momentum in the closing weeks of this campaign.
Burr is now seen by many North Carolinians as damaged goods -- beholden to powerful financial interests, bigoted on gay rights and grasping for corporate handouts to his political campaign. A lot of people in North Carolina are now harkening to Marshall's plea on her TV spot to, "Throw him out!"