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Lingle reaction to KITV debate


In the second televised U.S. Senate debate of the General Election, Gov. Linda Lingle laid out a clear, thoughtful and original plan for addressing the unique needs of Hawaii and the challenges facing our nation. Her opponent, Mazie Hirono, as expected, stuck to scripted national party talking points, which are irrelevant to Hawaii’s electorate.

“Every time these two candidates stand side by side to debate the issues, it becomes increasingly clear to the people of Hawaii that Mazie Hirono’s six years in Washington, D.C. have clouded her understanding of what’s important to us here at home. Her positions are simply out of step with what the people of Hawaii expect and deserve,” said Campaign Manager Bob Lee.

“It is stunning that Hirono continues to use national party talking points especially in contrast to Governor Lingle’s broad, Hawaii-focused and issues-oriented view of how to move our state and our country forward,” Lee added.

The U.S. Senate debate was sponsored by KITV and Civil Beat.

Hirono Continues to Mislead Voters with Inaccurate Statements

Hirono’s misleading and inaccurate statements throughout the course of tonight’s debate have been detailed, fact-checked and sourced in the Debate Fact Check Addendum that follows. Many have been corrected in previous debates, yet Hirono continues to intentionally mislead Hawaii voters.

1. Hirono claimed: “She [Lingle] didn’t help” native Hawaiians when she went against the Akaka Bill.

Facts: Governor Lingle has never wavered in her strong support for federal recognition for native Hawaiians and her support for the Akaka Bill.

The Lingle Administration actively supported a bill that would set up a process of recognition first, followed by negotiations between the native Hawaiian governing entity, the State of Hawaii, and the United States. Once that was completed, it would be followed by the Native Hawaiian governing entity’s exercise of governmental powers and authorities.

Amendments made to the bill in December 2009 without Governor Lingle’s knowledge turned that process around, and the bill in 2009 established that the Native Hawaiian governing entity would start with broad governmental powers and authorities, with negotiations to follow.

Both Honolulu newspapers (the Honolulu Advertiser and the Honolulu Star-Bulletin) supported the Governor’s position. [1]

Ultimately, Governor Lingle, the Congressional delegation, and the White House were able to agree on language in 2010, but the bill was never brought to the floor for a vote.


2. Hirono said: “Sequestration was necessary to prevent the country from going over a fiscal cliff.”

Facts: Sequestration was not about preventing the country from “going over the economic cliff”. All who understand the current debt and deficit situation of our nation know that “sequestration” itself is what will cause the “fiscal cliff”. Hirono is clearly confused.

Congress and Mazie Hirono passed “sequestration” as a way to pressure the Congressional Supercommittee to come up with a deficit reduction plan. Passing the deficit reduction buck to the Supercommittee by the Congress is another example of that body avoiding the difficult issues. Congress, including Mazie Hirono, failed in providing leadership. Congress’s adding a “sequestration” as a blunt pressure tool compounded the mistake [1].

That was the only reason Congress passed “sequestration”. Not a threat of a fiscal cliff.

Unlike Congresswoman Hirono, Governor Lingle wouldn’t have supported sequestration that would have included such steep and dangerous cuts to our military and our nation’s defense as Secretary Panetta has warned. Instead, she believes it is important to deal with the issues at hand, rather than kicking the can down the road as our current Congress has done too often.

Deficit spending must be reigned in, and our nation’s looming debt must be addressed, but the sequestration is not the way to handle it. Congresswoman Hirono and others in history’s most unpopular Congress should have had the foresight to recognize the impacts of their delayed decisions.

[1] Congressional Budget Office, in its May 2012 “Economic Effects of Reducing the Fiscal Restraint That Is Scheduled to Occur in 2013, retrieved from

3. Hirono claimed: My opponent supports tax breaks for millionaires.

Facts: Hirono continues to avoid a serious issue with simplistic and misleading sound bites. Governor Lingle supports lowering the tax rates across the board for all taxpayers, while ensuring a fair and transparent tax system that raises sufficient revenues for government. [1]

Unlike her opponent, Governor Lingle’s thoughtful review of these critical economic issues has earned her the endorsements of key business organizations here at home, including the Hawaii Restaurant Association and the Association of Builders and Contractors, as well as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that represents more than 3 million businesses nationwide. The small businesses that form the membership rolls of these organizations employ millions of Americans and they recognize the importance of electing leaders like Linda Lingle, who has a deep understanding of the issues and will give each issue the healthy analysis it deserves.


4. Hirono claimed: “My opponent is the co-chair of Governor Romney’s campaign.”

Facts: Governor Lingle is not the co-chair of Governor Romney’s campaign, despite Hirono’s repeated claims to the contrary. Governor Lingle joined other notable leaders in the Jewish American community – Democrats, Independents and Republicans alike – in being named as honorary chairman for the Jewish Americans for Romney Coalition.

Source: Jewish Americans for Romney Coalition. August 1, 2012.

5. Hirono claimed: Governor Lingle has issued misleading attacks on Hirono’s voting record. Hirono tried to defend her voting record by challenging Governor Lingle’s assertion that Hirono’s rate of missed votes is twice that of her Congressional colleagues.

Facts: From the very same source that Hirono cites in her television ad refuting Governor Lingle’s claim, the facts are clear: from January 2007 to September 2012, Hirono missed 257 of 5,081 recorded or roll call votes, which is 5.0%. This is worse than the median of 2.5%.


6. Hirono claimed: The Iraq War caused the debt.

Facts: According to the independent Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the cost of the Iraq War was approximately $1.4 trillion. This is a far cry from the $16 trillion national debt. Hirono does not understand the magnitude and causes of the debt we are leaving to the next generation. As Ed Case has said, the budget is merely an inconvenience for Mazie Hirono.


7. Hirono claimed: Governor Lingle failed to save Aloha Airlines.

Facts: Two weeks after Aloha’s bankruptcy filing, Mazie Hirono testified before the U.S. Senate Hearing on Aloha Airline’s bankruptcy (Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, on April 10, 2008) and specifically pointed to “predatory pricing by a new competitor, high and rapidly increasing fuel prices and ups and downs of the local, national and international economy” as the causes of Aloha’s bankruptcy. [1] Hirono’s claim that the closure of Aloha Airlines is Governor Lingle’s doing, is factually inaccurate and reverses her previous statements.

Before the same committee, Aloha CEO David Banmiller strongly reiterated these causes of his airline’s bankruptcy, particularly “predatory pricing.” These widely agreed-upon factors that caused the demise of Aloha Airlines were outside the control of any political leader.

Upon the filing of Aloha’s bankruptcy, Governor Lingle met with House Speaker Calvin Say, Senate President Colleen Hanabusa and other legislative leaders to discuss and review state government options. The state’s leaders concluded that any rescue was not appropriate.

Aloha CEO David Banmiller himself said: “We simply ran out of time to find a qualified buyer or secure continued financing.” [2] It would have been too late and foolhardy for the state to put “bailout” money at risk, even if it had the funds.

After the bankruptcy filing, it was Governor Lingle who flew to Washington, D.C. to convince the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation to guarantee the pensions of Aloha Airlines employees and retirees. Together with Hawaii’s Congressional Delegation, they effectively saved the pensions of at least 4,000 Aloha Airlines employees and retirees [3], earning the gratitude of Aloha Airlines’ CEO who at the time said:

“We are especially grateful to Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle and her administration, U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta, Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. Executive Director Bradley D. Belt, Hawaii’s congressional delegation and other elected officials across the state and the country who have assisted us.” [4]

In the wake of the closure, her Administration’s main concerns were threefold: first and foremost, the more than 1,900 employees and their families, the need for continued air service for our residents and visitors, and the protection of the state’s long-term fiscal and economic interests.[5]

To respond to these concerns, Governor Lingle’s Administration worked with the private sector and activated its multi-agency Rapid Response Team to assist employees on Oahu, Maui, Kauai and in Hilo and Kona on the Big Island. In the days following the closure, the Rapid Response Team, led by the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, surveyed workers to evaluate their job skills and determined what type of job placement assistance might have been needed.

[3] (“The PBGC, created by the government in 1974 to insure the retirement plans of U.S. workers, said it took over pensions of 4,000 employees and retirees at Honolulu-based Aloha.”
[5] (1,900 of the approximately 3,500 employees received layoff notices immediately, and were the
employees the Lingle Administration issued it’s Rapid Response Team to assist.)

8. Hirono claimed: Governor Lingle will vote with Republicans to repeal Obamacare.

Facts: Despite Hirono’s attempts to cast Governor Lingle in the role of a national Republican ideologue, Governor Lingle has repeatedly stated her support for parts of the Affordable Care Act, including provisions providing insurance to those with pre-existing conditions and college students, and medical and dental care for children.

Her concern, however, is for those parts that harm our healthcare system, such as the Independent Payment Advisory Boards that could slow access to medical procedures, as well as the estimated $716 billion Medicare cuts, and the punitive tax on innovative medical device manufacturers. She is also very troubled by the Act’s failure to address medical liability (lawsuit) reform.

Hirono is also trying to divert the public’s attention from her support of a $716-billion cut to the Medicare program that Medicare’s Chief Actuary Richard Foster says will jeopardize access to care because lower payments would drive some doctors and hospitals out of business [1].

The $716-billion cut to Medicare that Hirono supports includes cuts in reimbursements to doctors, hospitals, nursing services, hospice facilities and home health services, as well a $300-billion cut to the Medicare Advantage Program, upon which 43% of Hawaii’s seniors depend.

Finally, Governor Lingle is confident that by engaging in a meaningful and bipartisan policy discussion, the current law can address these issues and cost impacts. However, if it is a straight “repeal or not repeal” of the PPACA as-is without any changes, she would vote to repeal.

Source: [1] Washington Post;

9. Hirono claimed: Hirono says that she supports the President’s Jobs Bill, but she doesn’t acknowledge the costs associated with it.

Fact: According to the White House, the estimated cost of this Jobs Bill would be in excess of $440 billion. After the $800 billion, which the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) stimulus already spent, this additional stimulus will alone add another half-trillion to the nation’s $16 trillion debt.

A large portion of the Jobs Bill is based on “shovel-ready” infrastructure projects. The problem, as ARRA demonstrated, is that there are too few of these projects. Further the $10 billion, which is slated to create a national infrastructure bank, will take years to be fully operational.

Harvard Economist Martin Feldstein, President Obama’s own appointee to Economic Recovery Advisory Board, said bill would cost $200,000 per job created. [1] Various other Democrats, including Sen. Joe Manchin, also note that the bill is too costly to implement. [2]

Currently, American businesses are sitting on $3 trillion in cash that they are not investing or using to hire staff. Instead of government spending money it does not have and will need to borrow, it should work on facilitating the private sector spending the $3 trillion it does have.

[1] Office of the White House Press Sec., “Fact Sheet on American Jobs Act”, October 4, 2011
[2] New York Times, September 28, 2011; ABC News, October 2, 2011

10. Hirono claimed: Her two signature ‘bipartisan’ accomplishments are working with Rep. Don Young (R-AK) and drafting the VISIT USA Bill.

Facts: According to the Congressional Record, there is no ‘Hirono-Young Amendment’, as Hirono has conveniently renamed it in her press releases.[1] Moreover, Hirono voted against the very bill that the Young Amendment was attached to. [2]

Further, the fact is, Mazie Hirono introduced the VISIT USA Act on November 3, 2011, a full two weeks after Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) introduced the legislation in the Senate. Mazie’s bill was an exact copy of the Senate bill. The bill is in committee and has resulted in all talk and no action.

Tonight’s debate was the third General Election debates between Hirono and Lingle. The next debate will be broadcast 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 18 on PBS Hawaii.

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