• WisPolitics


Monday, October 18, 2010

 7:01 AM 

Baldwin, Lee debate foreign policy in first debate

Dem U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin and GOP challenger Chad Lee sparred over illegal immigration in their first debate Sunday, with the incumbent saying a fence along the U.S.-Mexican border is not an adequate solution.

Lee, who said his wife is from southern Texas, said when he’s visited the border, it’s “felt like a war zone.”

Asked about the fence during Sunday’s debate, Baldwin responded by saying that the system “is broken,” and “tweaking one part alone is not going to help.”

“It ignores the fact that we need people to provide the security we need,” she said about the proposed fence, pointing out that since she has been in Congress, “the amount of border patrols has tripled.”

“I believe that there is a pathway between the extremes of the beliefs of the pathway to immigration: acknowledge the illegal act, pay a fine, and get to the back of the line to become a citizen,” Baldwin said.

After Lee told the story about his visits to the border in response to the illegal immigration query, Baldwin prodded him to “answer the specific questions.”

He responded that the legal process toward immigration “has become so tedious and drawn-out that it can take a decade to happen,” and people “prefer” the simpler, illegal route of crossing the border undocumented.

“If we can streamline the process, I don’t think the problem will be as big as it has been in the past,” he said.

The debate at UW-Madison’s Grainger School of Business was billed as the 2nd Congressional District Global Affairs Forum and sponsored by a number of domestic and international student and state groups.

In his openeng statement, Lee challenged Baldwin to a later debate on domestic affairs, pointing out that Sunday's event on foreign affairs was the only forum she had agreed to attend with him. Baldwin ignored his request.

The questions focused on foreign policy, which she said she has been "heavily" involved in throughout her 12 years in office, rebuting Lee's claim that she has done "almost nothing" in the area.

Lee also emphasized the importance of putting “America first” when discussing the role of foreign aid distribution.

“If we are sending foreign aid to other countries and we can’t pay our own bills, that makes us ineffective,” he said.

Baldwin countered Lee’s sentiment by explaining that foreign aid means creating American products and jobs to send overseas.

“Foreign aid does take care of Americans first, which is why I am such a strong supporter of it,” she said, describing is as “a win-win for our economy here at home.”

Lee closed by highlighting his past as a businessman, saying it will help him be independent, and that “I do not have a dream of being a lifelong politician. I am doing this because I think we can do better. I want to make sure the government doesn’t get in the way of your dreams.”

Baldwin responded by emphasized that she, too, has been “very independent,” saying “I am proud of what I think is a very thoughtful record.”

By Eva Penzeymoog
For WisPolitics


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