Here are some of the comments from across the nation focusing upon statements made by the candidates
By James Hohmann, October 14, 2014
Landrieu said in her closing statement that Obama — unpopular in a state solidly red at the presidential level — is not on the ballot, but the future of Louisiana is. She tried hard to keep the focus trained on Cassidy as much as possible, attacking him almost nonstop from her opening through closing statements, while touting her own “clout” as chairwoman of the Senate Energy Committee.
In her opening statement, the senator attacked Cassidy for voting against disaster relief funding to help his own constituents.
When the first question asked how she would keep Medicare solvent, she attacked him: “Congressman Cassidy voted to end Medicare as we know it: not end it, but cut it and go to a voucher program… For 18 months, he’s been running away from his record.”
Most Democratic ads have featured seniors worrying aloud about the Baton Rouge congressman on entitlements. Rather than tone down his past comments, Cassidy offered a full-throated defense of the need to gradually increase the retirement age for people who are not currently on Social Security in order to save the system.
“Ideally, you do it as low, as young, as possible — like someone who is not yet born. But the reality is you’ve got to make changes someplace, and we’re all living longer,” he said.
Landrieu attacked, noting that in some of Louisiana’s poorer parishes the average life expectancy is only about 70.
“Social Security is not an entitlement,” she said. “It is an earned benefit.”
Even the tea party-linked Maness opposed raising the retirement age.
The incumbent said several times that she “can get the job done” on expanding domestic energy production and getting the Keystone XL pipeline approved. She talked about “my influence and my clout” when it came to disaster relief, flood loans and revenue sharing bills.
Associated Press: Landrieu in debate: ‘Obama is not on the ballot’
By Melinda Deslatte, October 14, 2014
U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu framed Louisiana's Senate election Tuesday as a referendum on her three terms in office, not the policies of unpopular President Barack Obama, in the first TV debate featuring all three major contenders in the race.
On Social Security, Cassidy said he doesn't support making changes to the program for existing beneficiaries and those near retirement age, but he suggested benefit and retirement age changes for people who are younger.
Maness and Landrieu both criticized Cassidy for voting for a budget proposal that would raise the Social Security retirement age to 70, saying they opposed the idea.
Cassidy struck back several times labeling Landrieu an staunch alley of President Barack Obama and reminded the audience several times that she voted for the Affordable Care Act. as known as Obamacare. And Maness, who's never run for political office, called his challengers career politicians.
KATC: U.S. Senate Debate
October 14, 2014
Pearson Cross, political analyst for KATC and professor at University of Louisiana at Lafayette: “It was kind of surprising. Landrieu seemed so assured, she seemed to have the facts and figures. Cassidy seemed to have a couple of rough moments.There were some shots taken by both sides.”
KATC anchor Jim Hummel: “And real quick, any clear winner or loser there tonight?”
Cross: “I thought Landrieu held her own very well. I thought Cassidy indicated that, you know, he’s got some of the chops, but he needs to work harder on delivery. Oddly enough, Maness seemed very comfortable, very assured.”
The Opelousas Daily World (Gannett): U.S. Senate candidates spar over healthcare, social security and more
By Alexandra Burris, October 14, 2014
During Tuesday’s event, Landrieu repeatedly pointed to her experience and congressional track record including her chairmanship of the Senate Energy and National Resources Committee and membership on the Senate Committee on Appropriations as reasons why voters should return her to Washington. At the same time, Landrieu accused Cassidy of dodging appearances at debates to avoid talking about his record.
During an icebreaker question about why each candidate decided to run for office, Landrieu said Cassidy voted against disaster funding for his congressional district when it was hit by Hurricane [Isaac]. Prior to Landrieu answering, Cassidy told the audience he decided to run for political office because of what he called “failed leadership” in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
TEA PARTY'S MANESS OUTPERFORMS EXPECTATIONS DURING LOUISIANA SENATE DEBATE
Tea Party-backed retired Air Force Col. Rob Maness outperformed the political establishment’s expectations during the U.S. Senate debate here Tuesday evening, where he faced off against incumbent Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and GOP establishment-backed candidate Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-LA).
“Answers from” Maness were “advanced candidacy in my book,”Shreveport Timesexecutive editor and general manager Alan English Tweeted post debate. “Good job.”
English added that Landrieu was “polished as expected” and Cassidy “trailed debate scorecard.”
“She represents Barack Obama. I represent you,” Cassidy said in a packed theater at Centenary College. “Do you want Sen. Landrieu to complete Barack Obama’s agenda?”
GOP candidate and tea party favorite Rob Maness positioned himself as the Washington outsider and the most conservative candidate in the race.
“Our future is in danger from poor leadership from career politicians,” he said.
Asked to rate Obama’s performance on a scale up to 10, Landrieu gave him a “6 to 7,” saying “he’s had some really tough issues to deal with.” Cassidy and Maness gave the president’s performance a zero.
Landrieu is targeted nationally by Republicans in their effort to retake control of the Senate. Polls show no candidate is projected to exceed the 50 percent voter support needed to win in November. The race is expected to be decided in a Dec. 6 runoff between Landrieu and Cassidy.
Outside of the federal health care revamp and their opinion of the president’s performance, the sharpest policy differences in Tuesday’s debate came over entitlement programs for the elderly.
The Times-Picayune: Mary Landrieu, Bill Cassidy, Rob Maness spar in first Louisiana Senate debate
By Julia O’Donoghue, October 14, 2014
Meanwhile, Landrieu focused on touting her seniority in the Senate and its benefits for Louisiana during the debate. She took occasional jabs at Cassidy for not having the will -- or the influence -- to do the same in the House of Representatives.
“I'm getting the job done when it comes to energy. ... I'm fighting hard for my state. ... I've brought billions of dollars to this state,” Landrieu said.
On Social Security, Cassidy is in favor of raising the minimum age for receiving Social Security benefits to 70 years old, but only for people who are currently young and can prepare for their retirement accordingly, he said.
Both Landrieu and Maness were adamant people should not have to wait until 70 to receive their Social Security payments. "People cannot work until their 70 and I think that is very bad policy," Landrieu said.
The Advocate: Landrieu, Cassidy and Maness square off in Shreveport Senate debate
By Elizabeth Crisp, October 14, 2014
Landrieu sought to play up the “clout” she has earned during her three terms in the Senate and her family’s legacy of public service in the state. She mentioned Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal, who has become politically unpopular, relatively speaking, in his home state.
“All he talks about is President Obama,” Landrieu said, gesturing to Cassidy. “He has some answers to give for his own record.”
A visibly frustrated Cassidy on at least one occasion interrupted Landrieu while she answered a question about Social Security and whether the age should ultimately be raised.
Cassidy said he supports a gradual increase that would primarily affect younger generations before they near retirement age, while Landrieu said she opposes an increase in age eligibility.
“There are some jobs that are really hard and people can’t work to 70,” she said.
USA Today: Landrieu squares off with Cassidy, Maness in Louisiana debate
by Catalina Camia, USA Today
Besides emphasizing her experience, Landrieu pointed out she’s worked with three presidents and six governors of different parties as a way to show she’s not the partisan her rivals make her out to be.Most of her attacks, however, were directed at Cassidy on issues such as disaster funding and health care. “All he talks about is President Obama,” she said. “He has some answers to do for his own record.” Another Cassidy jab from Landrieu, in response to raising the debt ceiling: “I voted for America to pay its bills. My opponent did not. My opponent voted to shut the government down, I did not.”
LAGOP: Cassidy Contrast With Landrieu Clear
Tonight's U.S. Senate debate made one thing crystal clear: the contrast between Congressman Bill Cassidy and Obama rubber stamp Mary Landrieu couldn't be more distinct.
While Landrieu spent the evening trying to spin her terrible track record as a sure-thing vote for the President's failed agenda, Congressman Cassidy laid out a vision for the future and explained the importance of Louisiana for bringing a change in leadership to the Senate.
Senator Landrieu doubled down on her support for ObamaCare and continued to claim her "clout" helps the energy industry - even though her support of anti-energy members of the Senate and lockstep support for President Obama's agenda undermine Louisiana's interests.
"Tonight, Louisiana voters saw they don't need to accept the Washington status quo of more government regulation and failed Obama policies that Senator Landrieu votes for 97 percent of the time," LAGOP Chairman Roger Villere said. "It was painfully obvious Senator Landrieu has lost touch with Louisiana values as she futilely tried spin her own record being an Obama rubber stamp and a friend to the anti-energy forces of the Senate."