Detroit Free Press: Advantage Granholm After First Debate

The Detroit Free Press declares Jennifer Granholm the winner of the first debate:

IN OUR OPINION | ELECTION 2006: Advantage: Granholm

Governor won debate with specifics

October 3, 2006

Political debates usually find challengers on the attack and incumbents playing defense. But Gov. Jennifer Granholm reversed roles on Dick DeVos in their first debate Monday night, keeping her Republican opponent on the defensive for much of their hour together.

While too often longwinded, Democrat Granholm made the most of her opportunity to be on equal TV footing with multimillionaire DeVos, who has vastly outspent her in purchasing commercial time.

Granholm again challenged DeVos to disclose his income tax returns — as she has — and noted that a summary DeVos has released of his finances did not mention a $200-million investment in a nursing home chain that was troubled by allegations of patient abuse.

“He didn’t include that in his ‘comprehensive’ disclosure,” Granholm said. “Obviously, he didn’t want us to know. … Are there other things he doesn’t want us to know about? … $200 million, I think that’s a big investment, even for you.”

DeVos said he was only a small investor in the chain and had no management responsibility.

“It was just a tragic situation,” he said. “Turned out to be a bad investment as well.”

The governor also accused DeVos of making false statements about her in one of his ads — he charged her with the same — but neither said they’d change any commercials. And Granholm also said DeVos lobbied for foreign trade policies that have been harmful to Michigan’s manufacturing-based economy. Granholm said that when DeVos was running Grand Rapids-based Amway, the company was “sort of the poster child for how to manipulate the levers of government.” DeVos has recently called for much tighter restrictions on the activities of lobbyists in Michigan.

But when Granholm launched into detail on her jobs-creation plan, DeVos declared: “I find it amazing to hear the governor say that her plan is working when so many people in Michigan are not.” Since Granholm was elected four years ago, Michigan’s unemployment rate has risen to a nation-leading 7.1%, which she attributes largely to the retrenching of the Michigan-based U.S. auto industry as it loses ground to foreign competitors. DeVos contends that failed political leadership has played a role, too.

Generally, Granholm was long — too long — on specifics while DeVoss continued to deal in generalities. Rather than seizing obvious moments to go toe-to-toe with the governor, he preferred to characterize her attacks and rhetoric as “so disappointing.”

DeVos did say that he has a plan to replace at least half the roughly $2 billion in revenue the state will forego by eliminating its Single Business Tax, but did not say where he’d cut the balance from state spending. Granholm wants business taxes restructured to replace all of the SBT revenue, which she says is critical to maintaining state services at a time when demand for them will go up as more jobs with benefits vanish.

The freewheeling format favored Granholm. Her commercials may not be as polished or frequent as the DeVos ads, but she showed Monday that she can make up a lot of ground in the debates.

Related Story: Granholm DeVos Debate Fact Checking

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  1. 1
    Middleroad says:

    Two days after the debate, DeVos has become strikingly scadalicious! First DeVos said his Alterra investment was just a “bad investment” and he had no way of knowing what went on at the nursing home accused of abuse and mistreatment.

    Then it came out that the DeVos family did effectively have control over Alterra’s board of directors and responsibility of facility operations.

    Now comes some questionable DeVos fund raising tactics by the Chair of Alterra, Jerry Tubergen. A diary by “Interrobanger” at Daily Kos reveals that Tubergen maxed out his contibution to the DeVos campaign but so did his “homemaker” wife and three “student” daughters. Interrobanger begs the question, “How many students do you know with $3,400.00 in their pocket who would willingly choose to spend it on some 50 year-old Republican running for governor?”

  2. 2
    Dave from Princeton says:

    Here ya go Ron. 🙂

    Ali is in Granholm’s corner

    Can’t beat that endorsement!

  3. 3
    Ron Chusid says:

    Not only is it a good endorsement, I was happy to see that another issue was brought into the campaign. DeVos attempts to down play his far right positions on social issues, but this article brings out his opposition to embryonic stem cell research.

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