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Tierney And Tisei Clash In Blistering Debate

Democratic U.S. Rep. John Tierney, left, and Republican challenger Richard Tisei (AP File)

Democratic U.S. Rep. John Tierney, left, and Republican challenger Richard Tisei (AP File)

NEWTON, Mass. — The North Shore race in the 6th Congressional District between Democratic incumbent U.S. Rep. John Tierney and Republican challenger Richard Tisei is becoming blistering. The two candidates held their fourth debate, on New England Cable News, Thursday night.

Tierney has spent much of this race arguing that he did not know that his wife handled proceeds from an illegal gambling operation run by her brothers. But the issue has not come up in his first three debates against Tisei because no moderator has brought up the question. Thursday, NECN’s Jim Braude did, and Tierney used to occasion to pounce on Tisei.

“Richard, you have lied, and used insinuation and innuendo on this whole thing,” Tierney told Tisei. “You spent $3 million doing it. My wife paid a terrible price on that. She took responsibility for not knowing on that. You have taken every day $3 million, mailings and TV, castigating her. She has grandchildren. She has children. She has friends. And your naked political ambition has let you take her and do this to her because you want a seat that you otherwise couldn’t get. You can’t run on the issues, Richard. You don’t have a clue about what it takes to be a member of Congress and represent the middle class.”

“This doesn’t have anything to do with your wife,” Tisei interjected.

“Then why don’t you leave her out it?” Tierney asked. “Why do you have her picture on all the mailings that you give out? You have her picture on TV.”

“You’re the person who signed financial disclosure forms,” Tisei accused.

“You’re shameless,” Tierney replied. “My financial disclosure forms are in impeccable order.”

“I’m sorry, but you have the three largest public interest groups in this country: Common Cause, the Center for Responsive Politics, and—” Tisei began to say.

“Doing hypotheticals,” Tierney interrupted.

“No, calling for a congressional investigation,” Tisei said.

Tisei came back to hammer Tierney.

“You’ve known for two years that the money that came into your household was from an illegal source,” Tisei said. “Why haven’t you given up the money or turned it back over?”

“You’ve known for two years that that amount of money never came into my household, that that amount of money is fabricated,” Tierney claimed. “You’re misstating the federal government on that. There’s no implication that my wife ever did anything wrong with her taxes or my taxes.”

The third candidate in the race, Libertarian Dan Fishman, was not invited to the debate.

Tierney is outfunded for the tough fight ahead of him as he tries to keep his seat for a ninth term.

Tisei, a former state senator, could become the first Republican congressman elected from Massachusetts since 1994. A poll taken last week for the National Republican Congressional Committee shows Tisei ahead by 16 points. Tierney is doing his best to keep his seat by tying Tisei to the Republicans who control the House.

“Richard, they will kick you to the curb so fast,” Tierney predicted. “Don’t point your finger at me,” he said testily.

“You voted 99 percent of the time with the leadership in the 16 years you’ve been in Congress, and that’s exactly what you’ve done,” Tisei said. “You’ve been part of the problem down there. I will do what I did in the state Senate. I will look at every issue individually, and I will make a determination what’s best for the people in my district and the people in the state.”

Tisei made it hard for Tierney to pin him to the national Republican Party. Tisei is gay and pro-gay-marriage and supports legalized abortion. Thursday night, he made it clear that he agrees with a lot of things that Tierney supports.

Tisei opposes eliminating tax deductions for mortgages and charitable contributions. He supports making it easier for women to sue if they’re discriminated against. He opposes turning Medicare into a voucher system. He refuses to sign a pledge not to raise taxes, and he supports a federal assault weapons ban. Still, their differences will emerge again as the two candidates face off in two more debates.

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  • J__o__h__n

    They are both mediocre.  Too bad this district wasn’t the one split up.  There are far worse Republicans than Tisei, but nationally, a vote for him is a vote for Speaker Boehner. 

    • Vandermeer

      Go to John Tierney’s website and see all that he has done for this country. He is NOT an empty suit. This contest is nasty. So sorry to see democracy work like this.

    • stantoni

      Until most of the ultra conservative, no-tax pledge tea partiers are voted out, why send any more Republicans to Congress?  On most issues any moderate Republican will be voiced over and on most key  economic issues will vote Republican anyway.  I am a once Liberal Republican turned Democrat.  Am I wrong here?  How liberal is Tisei, would he be able to turn other Repbulicans in the House?

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/NG4UZC44SCTIJ3RGLUVMO645ZM Rudolf

    One is mediocare and new, one is mediocare and probably on the Dark Side.

  • Vandermeer

    John Tierney has been on the side of his constituents, the planet and a good economy and investigating corruption in spending in Iraq and Afghanistan… HE HAS MY VOTE AGAIN!!!

  • rickjoel

    I have voted for Tierney in past elections and I will vote for him again.  Tisei will be eaten up on Congress. He claims he’s not for the Republican agenda, well they will eat him up in Congress and he will turn. Tisei is an opportunist and is trying to weasle his way in. I’m thinking what’s best for me and Tierney has not disappointed me in Congress.

    • Rookie51

      . I have heard of Congressman Lynch, Frank and Markey.  John Tierney is the guy who has been in Congress for 16 years and the o…nly member of the Massachusetts congressional delegation who’s never sponsored a bill that’s been signed into law. Where were you John sitting in the bleachers at Fenway Park, or the guy who drives the zamboni at the Bruin’s games. Oh yes you were in the Caribbean with your wife running an illegal gambling enterprise run by her brother. Not only did you go once but twice. Seems to me John you were a no-show. We in the 6th district deserve more than that………

      • Vote2012

        If you are from the 6th District and you participate in the community you have had to meet or be at an event with Congressman Tierney. I have seen him with workers, teachers, seniors, and students – not at Fenway or with people who want to destroy Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Congressman Tierney votes 100% for the people of the 6th District and I will vote for him.

    • Gardenia

      I agree with you 100%.  Tisei even looks like a weasel, yuck.

  • part of the %

    John Tierney has always supported the middle class and has been totally responsive to his constituents, including the embattled fishing industry.   I too will proudly vote for him again.  I agree that Tisei will be thrown under the bus by the Republicans who care nothing about anyone who isn’t part of the 1%.

  • Personalpest

    I live on the north shore in the soon to be Tisei congressional district. Two years ago I repeatedly called the Tierney office to express my opposition to bills and was so rudely and unprofessionally treated by his staff that I would never support or vote for this arrogant thief!! I happily hold signs and write donation checks for Mr Tisei, a true gentleman.

    • Pete2

       Really? I have never had a missing, untimely or inappropriate response from Tierney’s staff. Could it be that your nickname appropriately describe the content of your requests?

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