Ose, McClintock square off in Rocklin

Fourth District candidates debate on questions from media panelists, students
By: Michael Althouse
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The two major Republican contenders for the 4th Congressional District, Doug Ose and Tom McClintock, traded verbal jabs at a debate last night hosted by William Jessup University in Rocklin. The seat, which has been held since 1991 by John Doolittle, R-Roseville, will be vacant after Doolittle retires amid allegations of corruption at the end of his term. Only briefly cordial, before completing their opening statements, the candidates set the tone with familiar campaign themes of attacking one another. McClintock illustrated his conservative record by pointing out examples of Ose’s voting record, one he called inconsistent with conservative values. Returning fire, Ose called McClintock a “career politician,” citing his 22 years in state government. Ose also drew jeers from the crowd of approximately 300 after repeatedly bringing up McClintock’s use of his per diem allowance, which Ose says totals about $300,000. Defending his repeated use the tactic, Ose said, “I’m going to come back to it over and over again. The people need to hear it.” Ose added that McClintock has a double standard, taking a position against pork barrel spending in government while taking advantage of the per diem allowance for his own benefit. Hitting another of his campaign’s mainstays, Ose took the opportunity during his opening remarks to “welcome Tom to Rocklin,” making a thinly veiled reference to McClintock’s Southern California roots. While McClintock did not directly address Ose’s accusations, he did have some of his own. “Who do you trust to uphold the conservative principles and values of the people of this district?” McClintock said. “Doug Ose has been one of the most liberal Republicans during his six years in congress.” Among the data McClintock used to illustrate his contention, he said Ose voted to give illegal aliens social security benefits and he revealed that Ose was active in a political action committee supporting moderate Republicans. Moderator Sosamma Samual-Burnett of William Jessup University kept the candidates to their allotted time for each of several questions presented by a panel of media representatives consisting of: Dana Howard from News 10; Peter Hecht with the Sacramento Bee; and Deric Rothe of the Auburn Journal. After each rotation of questions asked by media representatives, a student from William Jessup University presented the candidates with one. The last student to present a question, Greer Gamble, a public policy freshman from Southern California, asked the candidates, “If elected, what primary area of concern do you think needs immediate action in the 4th District?” McClintock identified the price of energy and our dependence on foreign oil while Ose named economic concerns and a need for more jobs. Although Gamble was satisfied with the answers provided by the candidates, she could not say the debate produced a clear winner. Regarding the negative overtones of the debate and the campaign in general, she sees some benefit to the contentiousness. “I was not expecting it to get so deep into controversy, but it gave their true intentions,” Gamble said. “I think it was a sincere debate.” One senior due to graduate this month, Kyle Navarro, was employed as an Ose staffer, but not before examining the candidate’s platform to be sure it was compatible with his own beliefs. “He’s a tax fighter, but he has an intelligent way of going about it,” he said. “The negativity (in campaign tactics) is turning a lot of older people off, but for the rest of the people, it’s just information.”. Lesser-known Republican candidates Suzanne Johnson and Ted Terbolizard as well as Democratic contender John Wolfgram were present to interact individually with attendees, but they did not take part in the debate. Representatives for Charlie Brown, Doolittle’s Democratic challenger from the 2006 race, were also on hand. “Career politicians have been fighting each other for too long. Everyone is saying we need change,” said Todd Stenhouse, Brown’s communications director.“We’re looking forward to putting Charlie’s record up against any politician’s, anytime.”