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Congressional hopefuls differ on terror trials, taxes, immigration at debate

by George Bennett | February 9th, 2010

Three congressional candidates vying to replace Robert Wexler differed on terrorist trials, tax cuts and immigration reform during a debate west of Boca Raton this morning.

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.

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22 Responses to “Congressional hopefuls differ on terror trials, taxes, immigration at debate”

  1. West Boca Chamber Says:

    Everyone attending seemed to enjoy the debate.

  2. M. D. Storfer Says:

    Declaring war on Al Queda would ensure military trials. Do the candidates think we should do this?

  3. Edward Says:

    Did Ed Lynch answer any questions about the 1.3 million he owes the IRS. Did Ed Lynch respond to any questions about how he stiffed his former campaign manager until a Judge ordered him to pay. Did Ed Lynch answer why he repeatedly breaks federal laws with his FEC filings? No wonder Joe Budd will not endorse him.

  4. M. D. Storfer Says:

    Tying immigration quotas to unemployment rates would better reflect changed market conditions — American workers’ present willingness to accept jobs they previously wouldn’t consider

  5. Joe Budd Says:

    I was at the debate so I will speak for myself. I thought Ed Lynch answered the questions given him extremely well, especially the last question which was asked by Ted Deutch. Ted asked if there was any domestic policies pushed by the Obama administration that Ed or Jim would agree with. Ed said, “all of them” and then explained his answer to say that it wasn’t a matter of the “ideals” of solving real issues but the difference in how to go about doing it. Good answer Ed! We don’t need a “nanny” state telling us what is best for us!

    I strongly disagree with Mr. Deutch on his backing of the KSM trials in civilian courts! Again, Ed was right that this has the potential to expose military intelligence to our enemies let alone the tax burden it creates on the backs of the hard working citizens.

    Ted, the American people cannot afford the protection of your peers (The Eric Holder law firm) on this issue nor the lack of tort reform in the healthcare issue. I think the seniors in this district would rather save $400 billion in tort reform then give up $500 billion of benefits!

    Joe Budd

  6. Boca Grande Says:


    What ever happened to that “Principles over Politics” theme that Mr. Budd campaigned on? If he won’t support the winner, it’s just more of the same- partisanship over advancing principles and an agenda.

  7. Loximama Says:

    Tort reform is a nonstarter. It only accounts for less than one half of one percent of healthcare costs.

    Look it up.

  8. Tort Reform Joke Says:

    Tort reform is joke. Remember when the insurance companies told us that malpractice and health insurance rates would plummet in Florida, if only we could could enact caps on jury awards?

    So caps were enacted and nothing happened. Insurance costs are as high as ever. Oh, and the insurance company execs finally admitted under oath that large court awards accounted for less than one percent of their costs. Liars!

    “Tort reform” is simply an excuse for insurance companies to make more money. It’s like a new version of trickle down (voodoo) economics. There has NEVER been any hard evidence that proved a reduction in court awards leads to a reduction in rates for the average American. All it leads to is larger profits for the modern day Robber Barons – insurance companies.

  9. Jay Says:

    First, glad that all candidates were included in the debate.

    Illegal immigration is a very important issue in Florida.

    Mr. Deutch only feels for the illegals WHO BROKE the law instead of favoring those who follow the law and seek to emigrate legally.

    Voting for a democrat will flood this country with more illegals.

    Illegals have impacted our healthcare system, our schools, our economy. It is time to protect our borders and stop illegal immigration.

    If Israel can build a fence along their ENTIRE border with Egypt, the USA can do the same.

    If N Korea and Iran can capture illegals entering their countries, what the hell is wrong with American doing the same?

    We can’t have OPEN BORDERS. When ANY administration democrat or republican, can PROVE they are PREVENTING illegal entry into the USA, then discussion of immigration reform can be initiated, not before.

    America is in danger when no one is monitoring our border.

  10. Rod Says:

    Tort Reform is needed. The greedy lawyers take more than 40% of any suit filed. They can their ‘share’ of the settlement.


    Healthcare needs Tort Reform

    If one can tax and control businesses, then get those greedy lawyers under control.

  11. Tweets that mention Congressional hopefuls differ on terror trials, taxes, immigration at debate | Post on Politics -- Says:

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  12. Ed Fulop Says:

    Edward (post #3) –

    Let it go already. Legs or not, it obviously doesn’t matter.

  13. Jon Says:

    I respect the fact that Jim McCormick fought to be included. It shows me that he is a fighter and will fight for what he believes in. Had he rolled over I would have had an easier time deciding who to vote for.

    My question to you Mr. McCormick, will you fight that way in Washington when you are really up against it?

  14. Jim McCormick Says:

    Jon, In response to your question, absolutely yes. Being excluded by Barry Epstein and the West Boca Chamber was completely wrong. The people need to hear from all the candidates, not just those that are hand picked. Maybe it’s the Irish in me but sometimes you have to fight for what you believe in and today was a perfect example. This kind of partisan politics is ruining our country and if we allow it to continue we will be in severe trouble. You can expect that I would bring that same tenacity and fortitude to Washington if I’m elected as your representative.

    Joe, you missed one point. You may have liked Ed Lynch’s answer but it didn’t really answer the question. Ted Deutch asked if there was one issue that you agreed 100% with the president. Ed’s answer indicated that he agreed with the subject, but not the content; that’s not 100%. I stated that I agreed 100% with President Obama regarding his “pay as you go” method for the Congress and the Federal Budget. I believe that if we cannot pay for it, then it cannot be included. The task will be holding Congress and the Whitehouse to their word on that.

    The truth is, if we continue to spend as we are with no intention of paying down this massive debt, we will eventually reach a point where our debt and interest exceed our GDP. When we reach that point no amount of minor tinkering or “token cuts” will make the least bit of difference. At that point China will be telling us how to run our country.

    I believe the only way to stop the consistant partisan gridlock is to elect more Independents. We are the *only* non-partisan candidates that can establish a balance in Washington. No offense but the Republicans had their chance, the Democrats had their chance and each showed us their true colors.

    It’s time for Independents if we want more Independence.

    Jim McCormick

  15. i was there Says:

    Mr. McCormick. Why didn’t you state how cordial and welcoming Mr. Epstein and the Chamber were to your appearance and participation in the debate?

  16. i was there Says:

    First of all, the idiots who were not there do not know the truth, which is, Epstein was speaking for the committee organizing the event and not himself and he and the Chamber were most cordial and inviting to McCormick when he arrived and he should have said so in his post. Secondly, Epstein singlehandedly built the chamber and does not deserve the vitriolic attitudes exhibited to him. The bottom line is that the event came off without a hitch, despite the nasty comments made on this blog. You should be ashamed of yourself.

  17. Jon Says:

    Thank you for the response Mr. McCormick. I agree that the partisanship is ruining our country. I also believe that both parties want Americans separated and arguing with each other about infantile comments and actions so that they may further control our country.

    Unfortunately, I think you have an immense uphill battle ahead of you. The ingrained belief of one party or the other and the polarity that is creates is far too entrenched in some to see past the consonant beside a candidates name.

    I hope to catch you speak again, I have read your website but would like a little more information on your stances on current issues and possible resolutions.

  18. Jon Says:

    @ I was there…

    You may not like the vitriolic nature of some posts to the Chamber but calling people idiots detracts from any credibility you may have. One one hand you chastise the name callers and on the other you partake in the same.

    The Chambers initial stance was abhorrent. They only corrected their egregious error after realizing they opened a can of worms that was not easily closed up again.

    To insinuate Mr. McCormick should shout out how cordial they were after slapping him in the face is laughable to no end and tells me that you are either Mr. Epstein himself or someone close to him. You do not conduct yourself in the manner in which Mr. Epstein did, then rectify it solely due to fear of lawsuit then expect kudos for being cordial. Only shallow people think this way. It is no wonder the Chamber is in bed with career Politicians.

  19. Epstein is a tool Says:

    I am ashamed, ashamed that Epstein ( and apparently the chamber board) are such thin skinned tools.

  20. Jayne Chapman Says:

    There is a difference between enemy combatants and terrorists. We should try the first by military tribunals and the second should not be elevated to combatants but should be tried as the terrorist criminals that they are. What is the other side so damn afraid of? The only terrorists who have been released and have returned to their countries where they have rejoined the terrorist groups are those who were tried in military tribunals.

  21. Jayne Chapman Says:

    And as to Jay’s comment #9 – what a ridiculous and untruthful statement!

  22. | Post on Politics Says:

    [...] from a West Boca Chamber of Commerce breakfast debate last month, this afternoon’s event is the only scheduled meeting of Democrat Ted Deutch, Republican Ed [...]

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