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Carnahan, Clay Trade Verbal Blows On Charlie Brennan Show

Brett Blume
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U.S. Representatives Russ Carnahan (left) and William Lacy Clay, sit for a live debate on KMOX radio at their studios in downtown St. Louis on Monday, July, 30, 2012. (Photo by Christian Gooden, cgooden@post-dispatch.com)

U.S. Representatives Russ Carnahan (left) and William Lacy Clay, sit for a live debate on KMOX radio at their studios in downtown St. Louis on Monday, July, 30, 2012. (Photo by Christian Gooden, cgooden@post-dispatch.com)

Election Returns

Updated @ 11:35 a.m.

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) –  A show of civility with brief outbursts of dissent and raised voices — that pretty much sums up Monday morning’s debate between 1st District Congressional candidates Russ Carnahan and Lacy Clay.

The former party allies turned foes met for an hour during the Charlie Brennan show on KMOX.

Among the issues debated by the two Democrats…which one is the most liberal?

Clay said he is.

“I have a one-hundred percent record of voting to protect Medicare and Social Security. I voted time and again to end tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires,” Clay pointed out. “I think it better aligns me with the people in the First Congressional district.”

Not surprisingly, Carnahan disagreed.

“I think I have by just about any measurement a very progressive voting record,” he responded. “I have top ratings from labor, the NAACP, environmental groups. I’m proud of my record.”

One of the biggest clashes between the two came early in the debate when Charlie Brennan asked what had created this ultra-rare primary showdown between incumbents in the first place.

“Well, redistricting,” Carnahan responded matter-of-factly. “From Day One, Republicans clearly wanted to merge the two Democratic districts in St. Louis into one. Unfortunately my…friend…Congressman Clay supported them in doing that in the (Missouri) legislature.”

“I think what my opponent has just said is really a whopper,” Clay said when it was his turn to answer. “All three Democratic members of the Missouri delegation — Congressman Cleaver, Congressman Carnahan, and myself — issued a joint press release urging the Republican-led state legislature to keep three Congressional districts in the St. Louis region.”

Clay claimed that “on the morning of the veto override” Carnahan called him, urging Clay to convince a state legislator to vote to sustain the veto, which he agreed to do.

“I helped throughout this process,” Clay insisted. “This is just another example of the kind of deception that has gone on throughout this campaign.”

The rivals were more compatible when it came to agreeing to support the Democratic party going forward despite the outcome of the primary vote — at one point shaking hands to show their dual willingness to continue working for the reelection of President Obama and U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill, even if they should come out on the short end.

The primary is next Tuesday, August 7th, with the winner of the Clay-Carnahan showdown in the Democratic primary virtually guaranteed to go on to victory in November.

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