MARTINEZ/CASTOR DEBATE - Mitch Perry

10/26/04

Last night in Miami, the 2nd and final debate took place between Democrat Betty Castor and Republican Mel Martinez in the race to become Florida’s next U.S. Senator.

Unlike the debate in Tampa 8 days ago, last night’s affair was less abrasive…Not coincidentally, the discussion of former USF professor Sami-Al-Arian was only discussed for a few minutes.

One question asked by a member of the studio audience last night regarded Florida’s adoption laws, that ban gays from adopting orphaned children. The law in Florida is considered to be the toughest anti-homosexual adoption measure in the country… The question was: what would you do to change that law? Mel Martinez said’ absolutely nothing’ (roll tape#1 o.q.�I don’t agree with you?�)

While Betty Castor refused to commit herself on the issue (roll tape#2 o.q.�the needs of these children�)

With the announcement that the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court - William Rehnquist - has thyroid cancer - the possible selection of new Supreme Court Justices by the next President - has gotten renewed focus.

The U.S. Senate has the role of voting on approving Federal Judges….Mel Martinez said he would have an open mind about ALL appointees - and said that distinguished him from Betty Castor (roll tape#3 o.q.�by the Constitution�)

Prior to his Campaign for the GOP nomination for Senate, Mel Martinez had the reputation of being a moderate…..But in that campaign, , Martinez was criticized for using surrogates to charge opponent Bill McCollum with being anti family, for his support of stem cell research on embryos and supporting gays in Hate Crime Legislation…But as he tries to win in the General Election, Martinez attempted to get back to the center last night (roll tape#4 o.q.�to get things done�)

The issue of Venezuela made its way into the debate last night…..Miami Herald Executive Editor Tom Fielder premised his question by saying that there are fears about the direction of the Hugo Chavez led government headed ‘towards a Castro like regime� Betty Castor (roll tape#5 o.q.�this is serious business�)

Also Both candidates agreed on their opposition to off-shore oil drilling…

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