Foley, Mahoney trade barbs, make pitches
Democrat candidate Tim Mahoney wasted no time roundly criticizing Foley and the Republican majority in Washington. Mahoney said: "Mark's been a congressman for going on 12 years now and he's never had a reelection."
Three times Tim turned around and confronted Foley directly: "I think it's time he stands up and talks to the people about what he's done."
Foley looked decidedly uncomfortable as Tim's remarks brought enthusiastic cheers from the audience. Foley and his supporters looked absolutely shell-shocked as they left the auditorium.
Wow! If you missed this, you missed a great show.
By Michael C. Bender
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Friday, August 18, 2006
HOBE SOUND —
Republican Congressman Mark Foley and his Democratic challenger, Tim Mahoney, have pondered each other's politics and prepared for a fight to Election Day.
On Thursday, for the first time, they met.
"It's exciting," Foley said of the meeting. "I love to see this kind of enthusiasm from people."
Said Mahoney: "Mark's been congressman for going on 12 years now and he's never had a reelection. I think it's time he stands up and talks to the people about what he's done."
The two men shook hands before taking their turn at a Martin County candidate forum at St. Christopher's Church that attracted about 200 people.
Candidates introduced themselves and answered one question, while their competitors followed and answered a different question. That format left no room for debate, but it didn't stop Mahoney from criticizing Foley and the Republican majority in Washington.
Mahoney, chairman of vFinance Inc., was asked by the forum moderator about the outsourcing of jobs overseas, but he instead spent part of his time rebutting Foley's answer about immigration.
Mahoney agreed with Foley that a bipartisan Senate bill to give immigrants a chance at amnesty was "silly." Mahoney then said the House version would create "12 million felons," which he said was "even sillier."
The Palm Beach Gardens Democrat then turned to Foley and said, "If we're concerned about port security, why, while you were on (the) Ways and Means (Committee) for the last five years, didn't you fund port security? You didn't."
Foley, from Fort Pierce, shook his head.
Later, Foley said, cash for port security has multiplied.
"I was the one who nationally led the charge not to transfer our ports to the United Arab Emirates," he said. "We're integrating our technologies and working with border patrol and customs. Are we 100 percent there? No. But if you look at where we were prior to September 11th, how far we've come, I think we've done an incredible job."
Mahoney scored a laugh early in the evening when he told the crowd Martin County has been through four hurricanes in the past three years.
"We've been hit by Frances, Jeanne, Wilma and Bush," he said. "The average person in Florida makes $1,113 less today than they did six years ago. We have 650,000 people more without health insurance. Homeowners insurance, if you're lucky to have it, has doubled. This is coming down to an issue of how you define 'mission accomplished.' "
Foley spent his time talking about a $1.2 billion plan for restoration of the Indian River Lagoon. The project is included in the Water Resources Development Act. The two chambers of Congress have each passed a version of the bill and they are negotiating a final version in a conference committee.
"Hopefully when we return in September, the House and Senate will finalize the negotiations," he said. "This will change the way our water system works in our community. We're well on our way."
Foley also trumpeted his work to bring veteran clinics to the Treasure Coast, passing No Child Left Behind and his support of stem-cell research.
"We are at a time of crisis in America," Foley said. "But better days are ahead."
Part of the 200+ crowd at Hobe Sound Forum
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