Republican debate and budget hypocrisy thread

At 1 pm today Terry Branstad, Bob Vander Plaats and Rod Roberts will face off in the first of three debates before the gubernatorial primary in June. I won’t be able to watch the live stream at KTIV’s site, so I’ll have to catch the repeat on Iowa Public Television, whenever that will be shown. I wanted to put up this thread so Bleeding Heartland readers can chat about the debate. I will update this post later with early write-ups about the event. Rod Roberts seems to have the most to gain from this debate, since he is the least-known candidate in the field.

The Republicans will throw around lots of numbers about taxes and spending, and those will need a lot of fact-checking. The truth is that Iowa doesn’t have a budget deficit, and the independent analysts who have given our state the highest bond rating recognize our relatively strong fiscal position. Like every other state, Iowa experienced a steep drop in revenues because of the recession, but unlike most other states, we have not fully depleted our cash reserves.

Which Republican candidate will come across as the most fiscally responsible person today? Will it be:

Terry Branstad, whose mismanagement was so legendary that a number of elected Republicans favored his primary challenger in 1994?

Bob Vander Plaats, whose management skills don’t seem to have helped his non-profit thrive financially, and who did a 180-degree turn on tax credits between March 2009 and January 2010?

Or Rod Roberts, who is so very serious about the governor’s responsibilities that he thinks adopting a state budget is of secondary importance to stopping same-sex marriage?

The floor is yours.

UPDATE: I still haven’t had a chance to watch the debate, but fortunately, Iowa Public Television will air it tonight at 8 pm. Over at Iowa Independent, Jason Hancock thought Vander Plaats won but “never achieved the game-changing moment his campaign needed.” Todd Dorman didn’t see a lot of substance or new ideas on display and partly blamed the debate format.

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