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Goddard, Brewer debate jobs, budget, ‘headless bodies’

Gov. Jan Brewer and Attorney General Terry Goddard had few memorable lines in their first, and perhaps only, debate, but continually posed one memorable question – where’s your plan?

Brewer, the Republican incumbent and Goddard, her Democratic challenger, sparred over who would be able to bring new jobs to the state, who could do more to crack down on illegal immigration and whether anything has been done to improve Arizona’s faltering public education system. No plans were unveiled and few were described in any detail as Brewer and Goddard traded accusations and criticisms.

Goddard accused Brewer of dragging her feet on job creation and questioned why the governor had not backed a plan to bring new jobs to the state.

RELATED: Debate analysis: Goddard grumbles, Brewer stumbles

Brewer, meanwhile, wanted to know how Goddard would have avoided the billions in budget cuts he has been so critical of, and accused him of avoiding taking a position on the sales tax increase that prevented more spending reductions.

Perhaps more than anything, the debate was defined by Brewer and Goddard talking over each other and trading their latest campaign trail talking points.

Brewer went after Goddard early for the support he’s gotten from labor unions that supported a boycott against Arizona, while Goddard continued his drumbeat of criticism over Brewer’s well-publicized but false statements that Mexico’s cartel violence has left headless bodies in the Arizona desert.

Brewer didn’t answer when Goddard asked her to retract her statement about the decapitated bodies, and had even less to say about the issue after the debate. During a post-debate interview, reporters asked Brewer several times why she wouldn’t retract the comments about headless bodies.

Instead of answering, Brewer turned around and walked out the door.

Brewer, Goddard, Green Party candidate Larry Gist and Libertarian candidate Barry Hess agreed that jobs and the economy were the most important issues of the upcoming election, but found little common ground aside from that. The debate was hosted by the Citizens Clean Elections Commission and moderated by Horizon host Ted Simons at the KAET studio at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Goddard said Arizona has lost 128,000 jobs since Brewer took office in January 2009, and asked why she hadn’t yet implemented a comprehensive plan to reduce Arizona’s high unemployment rate.

“That’s not the way you respond to an emergency. You respond to it with all hands on deck,” Goddard said. Goddard recently unveiled a plan that he claimed will bring 300,000 jobs to Arizona and referenced it frequently during the debate, but did not discuss its details.

Brewer pointed to the moratorium she placed on new agency regulations when she first took office, touted the creation of public-private Arizona Commerce Authority, and said she planned on pushing tax reform in the 2011 legislative session that would ease the burden on businesses.

“I think the choice tonight is very clear. I have brought thousands of jobs … and Terry has did nothing,” Brewer said.

Echoing a criticism she’s repeated since January, Brewer asked Goddard how he would’ve avoided the $2.2 billion in budget cuts she’s made while dealing with Arizona’s massive fiscal crisis.

She boasted of her work to get Proposition 100, a temporary one-cent sales tax increase, passed in a May special election, and accused Goddard of straddling the fence on the issue. Goddard didn’t take a position on Prop. 100 until the week before the special election, instead saying that would support it if Brewer rejected a proposed tax cuts package.

“I have supported Proposition 100 and led the campaign … and Terry jumped on board four days before the election after he turned his finger into a weather vane,” Brewer said.

Brewer was plagued by some of the same grammatical errors that were widely publicized after her GOP primary debate in June, using the phrase “have did” or “has did” several times. In her opening statement, Brewer appeared to lose track of her thoughts and froze for about 10 seconds in mid-sentence before regaining her composure.

SB1070, Arizona’s new illegal immigration law, dominated much of the debate, similar to the manner in which it has dominated the state’s political discourse since the Legislature passed it in April.

Brewer chided Goddard for his opposition to controversial but popular law, while Goddard fired back that he has done far more than Brewer or SB1070 to secure the border by prosecuting cartel members and stopping the flow of drug money into Mexico.

“We need to do what I’ve been doing, follow my lead and cut the cartels apart,” Goddard said. “I’m the one that’s on the border fighting against the cartels.”

When Brewer mentioned the massive deficit she inherited from former Gov. Janet Napolitano, Goddard acknowledged that the Democratic governor made some mistakes, but said Brewer should stop assigning blame and accused Brewer of failing to balance the state’s budget.

While Goddard demanded that Brewer retract her statement about headless bodies, Brewer insisted that Goddard disavow the support of unions like the Service Employees International Union that urged boycotts against the state over SB 1070. Goddard said he disagreed with the unions position on the boycotts – which were largely called off after a federal judge blocked key portions of the law from going into effect – and accused Brewer of implying that he supported the boycotts. Goddard publicly opposed the boycotts.

When Goddard called on Brewer to acknowledge that there have been no documented beheadings in Arizona, Brewer fired back on the boycotts, which has become a central talking point for many Republican candidates in the state.

“Terry, I will call you out. I think that you ought to renounce your support and your endorsement of the unions that are boycotting our state and trying to drive our economy into the ground,” Brewer said.

Goddard said the unions support him despite his opposition to the boycotts.

The final part of the debate focused on private prisons, a frequent issue raised by Goddard and other Democrats since three convicted murderers escaped from a privately run prison near Kingman in July. Brewer said the cause was human error, not a flaw in the private prison system, and that the people responsible have been fired.

Goddard, however, said the prison, which was originally built to house drunk driving offenders, allowed a “climate of indifference,” which he said was evidenced by a Department of Corrections report released after the break-out. He said 400 violent offenders, including 117 murderers, have been moved to the prison during Brewer’s tenure as governor.

Brewer said the prisoners were moved according to guidelines that have been use for decades and were updated in 2005. She said Goddard signed off on the changes himself, though Goddard said the allegation was false and that he had nothing to do with the prison guidelines.

Goddard defended the federal health care bill passed by Congress in March, which he said is imperfect but has laudable portions, such as the provisions barring insurance companies from denying coverage due to preexisting conditions and allowing people to continue using their parents’ insurance coverage until they turn 26 years old.

He said he believes the law is constitutional, and said Arizona’s participation in a lawsuit against the bill was irrelevant because 20 other states had already joined the suit. He also slammed Brewer for attempting to gut KidsCare, a children’s public health care program. The $18 million in cuts, as well as more than $400 million in other health care funding, was restored because the new federal health care law would have stripped hundreds of millions in federal funding to Arizona if the cuts were implemented.

Brewer once again accused Goddard of opposing cuts to unaffordable programs without proposing a way to pay for them.

“We cannot afford it and it is inherently wrong” for the federal government to impose the health care law on Arizona, Brewer said.

Goddard called Brewer’s proposed health care cuts “mean and hard-hearted” and said the state was not even allowed to make the cuts because Arizona’s health care system – which Brewer noted is among the most generous in the nation – is a result of a voter mandate.

“It’s not something you’re doing out of generosity,” Goddard of the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System’s benefits. “It’s not Obamacare. It’s not health care reform that’s causing this problem.”

Watch the entire debate below, or click here to see the video on KAET’s website.

23 comments

  1. i love how brewer just throws out these outlandish statements about headless bodies and bringing thousands of jobs and balancing the budget when they are all 100% not even close to the truth.

  2. I see why Jan only agreed to one debate; she was awful! She tended to stutter her words, got defenseve and was very flippant. Her behavior was horrible tonight and I no longer feel confident in her ability to lead. Is she normally like this and I just couldn’t see it? I sure hope this was just an off night.
    What about how she pulled all her ads from CBS because they asked tough questions about the prison escapees? Seems very fascist to me.
    -DanK

  3. Wow, this is our governor? No wonder this state is doing so poorly in all of the major areas. Jan Brewer used scapegoat after scapegoat in her defense and it did not make her look any smarter. Way to choke on your opening remarks…

    “I did, as my first act of Governor, was…”
    -Jan Brewer, during tonight’s debate

  4. I watched the debate and watched Jan Brewer take credit for forcing Arizonans to tax themselves more in a down economy. She is proud of doing nothing to raise money in another way. From the beginning that is the only idea she ever gave the Republican led legislature. They did not want to do this but for 10 months we had no new ideas from this governor. The only thing she wanted to do was tax Arizonans. She voted against KidsCare where much of the money to insure our children would be coming from the federal government and she still would not support the children of working families who cannot afford their own health insurance. Where is your heart Gov. Brewer and why are you taking credit for helping teachers and education when you slashed the budget and put teachers jobs on the line. Arizonans were forced to vote for this tax Prop. 101. We did not want to tax ourselves, we were forced to as Terry Goddard stated time and again.

  5. Newsflash for Brewer – the Arizona AFL-CIO unions refused to boycott Arizona. The unions she mentioned are not even a part of the Arizona AFl_CIO unions in Arizona. The national orgs, city, county and state entities that boycotted Arizona were not even mentioned. According to news reports, Brewer and other politicians have done more to hurt our states economy with their lies. She is a two trick pony – Pearce’s bill and unions; she has failed us on every issue.

  6. They appealed to different voter blocks; nobody changed sides.
    Brewer is Hater-in-Chief, and Terry is smart and effective.
    Sadly for Terry, 2/3 of the Zonies don’t ever want “smart and effective.” I’ve lived here three decades, and the idealogues get stupider every year–and they like it.

  7. Brewer for sure lost this debate all she could talk about was immigration and blaming Janet Napotano. Never would admit she lied about headless bodies, which all coronors and police in Arizona denied they had seen some. Her first sentence she got tongue tied for some reason and just sat there. Guess if it’s not about illegals she has nothing to say.

  8. Not sure what debate Jeremy watched but the one I saw displayed a shockingly ill-prepared Governor make a fool of herself. Her inability to even use proper English compounded by the deer-in-the-headlights look during her “opening statement” (I use that phrase loosely), made one quickly understand why the boys at High Ground won’t let her debate any more. It’s embarrassing that this is what we call “leaders” in Arizona and readily explains why the state is in the toilet. Jan has no more business being Governor than Lindsey Lohan.

  9. “I think the choice tonight is very clear. I have brought thousands of jobs … and Terry has done nothing,” Brewer said.

    This is misquoted. She actually said “Terry has did nothing”.

  10. Wasn’t it “Terry has did nothing for Arizona” please don’t clean up Brewer’s abysmal verbal skills. To repeat… she said “Terry has did nothing for Arizona” my 9 year old exploded with laughter when she heard that and said “Is she that dumb?” My 9 year old can express herself more clearly and correctly than our unelected “governor”. Brewer has done nothing for us but dig us into a bigger hole and talk about imaginary headless bodies.

  11. No Plan Jan is at it again. Rather than engaging in a civil discussion accidental-Governor Brewer runs and hides. We need a real governor ready to address the real issues facing our state. Stop the rhetoric and let’s make Arizona great once more.

  12. Tired of Govt telling us what to do

    Here’s Jan’s plan:

    1. Lose more jobs
    2. Do nothing for the housing industry and people losing their homes
    3. Have murderers escape and kill people
    4. Crush the tourism industry with her headless lies

  13. When Terry Goddard was Mayor of Phoenix he tried to get a basebale
    stadium and FAILED BOTH TIMES … He Tried to install the Val-Scam
    Street-Car System AND FAILED AGAIN … And he stuck us with a 5 Million
    Dollar bill when he bought the Tovrea “Eyesore” Castle that sits vacant and rotting 20 years later … He ran for Governor TWICE and LOST both times …
    He let a New York Carpetbagger named Janet Napolitano ace him out of the Democratic nomination for Governor a third time … And now he wants the people of AriZOOna to believe he’d be a better Govewrnor than Jan Brewer … How STUPID toes he think we are … Goddard can go soak his head … It will
    be a mighty COLD day in HELL before the people of Arizona vote that jerk Terry Goddard into the Governor’s office !

    I’m Vaclav T. Buchtapeaka
    formerly of Praha (Praggue) Czech Republik
    Now 100% American Citizen from Phoenix Arizona

  14. It seems Jan Brewer is trying to take credit for the 70,000 – 100,000 jobs and $1.2 billion for schools, infrastructure, etc. of recovery stimulus (see recovery.org). I think Terry goddard’s work against the cartel’s drug and human smuggling has done more to make our state secure and his plan for creating jobs is what we need now in Arizona.

  15. Governor Brewer is absolutely right: the choice tonight is very clear. We all owe her a debt of gratitude for making our choice in the upcoming election so abundantly obvious: we will all be voting for Terry Goddard.

  16. Wow. After Brewer’s behavior in that debate, I wouldn’t vote her in as dog catcher.

    SCARY! :-O

  17. I never thought someone could make Evan Mecham look good ,but Jan did it.

  18. Jan Brewer isn’t a polished politician (would someone get her a hair stylist, puhleeze), but given the condition of the budget deficits she inherited and the reluctance of many in the Legislature to face reality in balancing the state budget which is the country’s worst state budget deficit, I think she deserves some credit.

    I’m an Independent, but I’ll vote for her as the least undesirable candidate. Goddard, a Democrat, is soft on illegal immigration. That’s the key vote for me. She may be a little “tacky” but she ain’t weak on illegals. Give Goddard the veto power and SB 1070 would not have been passed. He couldn’t even be trusted to act as the state’s legal counsel on the suits opposing SB 1070.

    Part of our budget debacle certainly accrues to legislators of both parties pandering to voters during the “boom” years and to voters who always pass propositions giving free services but not knowing how they will be paid for. We want a new program (First Things First, AHCCCS health care as examples) then what do we want to give up? Voters always have their hands out and their minds up their—rear anatomy.

  19. Jan speaks Palinese, how cute…lmao ! Typical Republican, dumb. and proud of it

  20. Arizona is a beautiful state with a bright future. But Jan needs to start receiving unemployment benefits in Novermber. Is Jan senile?

  21. I think Jan needs to drop off the race and join the Fox News. Shell will do less damage to Az and be happy at Fox. Fox is the place for all sort of BS. Just take a look at Palin at Fox.

  22. Mr. Goddard did you hear or read the news this morning? There was a beheading in Mesa. What are your thoughts on this now, or is it all about protecting the Hispanic for the vote coming this November? Governor Brewer is trying to protect the people of Arizona. Why isn’t the politicians doing anything to the other states who are adopting Arizona’s Bill 1070? Could it be because we have a woman Governor and Sheriff Joe who are standing up for our rights. They will sure get my vote this coming November.

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