Congressional hopefuls differ on terror trials, taxes, immigration at debateby George Bennett | February 9th, 2010
The West Boca Chamber of Commerce breakfast at Boca Lago Country Club was the first joint appearance by Democrat Ted Deutch, Republican Ed Lynch and no-party candidate Jim McCormick. The three are running in an April 13 special election to replace Wexler, who stepped down last month to head a Middle East think tank.
Deutch said accused 9-11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed should not be tried in New York City, as originally proposed by the Obama administration. But Deutch said he supports trying some accused terrorists on American soil in American civilian courts and noted that several high profile terrorists were tried and convicted in federal court during the Bush administration.
Lynch and McCormick took a harder line.
“Terrorists on American soil are not entitled to the constitutional rights that are reserved for the citizens of the United States,” said Lynch, who said America’s enemies can “use our system against us” by gaining sensitive information when cases are tried in federal court.
McCormick called it “silly” to not continue using the U.S. Navy base in Guantanamo Bay for military tribunals.
“I don’t want to see these people lawyered up. I think that’s a terrible idea. These people are not American citizens. They don’t deserve our rights,” McCormick said.
All three candidates said they favor some level of tax incentives — but varied on how much — to help businesses create jobs and compete with foreign rivals.
Lynch called for eliminating corporate taxes for two years and capital gains taxes for four years and for a moratorium on Social Security payroll taxes paid by employers and employees.
Deutch called for smaller, more targeted measures, including reduced capital gains taxes for businesses that invest in new equipment and tax breaks for companies that hire new employees. He called for eliminating tax incentives that encourage businesses to send jobs out of the country.
McCormick called for unspecified tax incentives to help businesses.
All three candidates said they support strengthening U.S. border security to address illegal immigration. Lynch and McCormick took a harder line than Deutch on enforcing existing immigration laws.
“Immigration is not wrong….Illegal immigration is wrong and anybody who comes here illegally has to pay the penalty of their crime,” Lynch said. He said immigration laws should be enforced against those who entered the U.S. illegally “even if they’re good the rest of the time, it just doesn’t matter.”
Deutch said it’s “just not realistic” to deport millions of illegal immigrants. He said that for those people who entered illegally but have been “productive” and paid taxes, there should be “a process put in place to give them the opportunity to get in line for citizenship.”
Deutch and Lynch won party primaries last week and were originally the only candidates invited to the debate. McCormick was added after sending organizers an e-mail suggesting he might take legal action if he was excluded.