Congressional candidates Ed Case and Colleen Hanabusa appeared in a studio monitor yesterday at the beginning of a debate in the Olelo studios. The event was moderated by TV news anchor Tina Shelton and will be aired at 5 p.m. on Olelo channel 54 today and next Sunday.

Candidates for Congress
disagree over Iraqi war

2 leading Democratic candidates
take part in a TV debate

Early voting slow

By Leila Fujimori

U.S. Rep. Ed Case would support a unilateral U.S. attack on Iraq, while state Sen. Colleen Hanabusa says America should wage war only with United Nations support.

That's one difference that came out in a debate yesterday between two leading Democratic candidates for the 2nd Congressional District yesterday.

The debate, which airs tonight and next Sunday on Oleo public-access television channel 54, is in a time slot normally reserved for Bob Rees' Counterpoint show.

Rees, a Honolulu Weekly columnist and a supporter of Hanabusa, said he decided to invite just the top three Democratic candidates to participate because with 44 candidates, "you can't invite everybody."

"Of course it's biased, and I want very much for Colleen to have exposure to debate these two," Rees said.

Congressional candidates Colleen Hanabusa, right, and Ed Case shared a laugh yesterday with moderator Tina Shelton, left, before a debate taped at the Olelo studios.

"All we're doing is taking advantage of public-access television, and every candidate out there is perfectly free to do that," he said. "That's the beauty of public access."

A third Democratic candidate, Matt Matsunaga, declined to participate because he objected to the original format of a free-flowing discussion without a moderator, and would have agreed had he known a moderator was chosen.

Matsunaga has participated in other Democratic forums on the neighbor islands.

Republicans said not including them was unfair.

"It doesn't pass the smell test," said Republican candidate Bob McDermott, who received 70,000 votes in the Nov. 5 election for the 2nd Congressional District seat.

"Hanabusa is benefiting from her association with Bob Rees" by him giving up his time slot for the debate, he said.

State Rep. Barbara Marumoto said, "In the interest of fairness, they should have all the major candidates participating, not just one party."

On the topic of war with Iraq, Marumoto said, "The president is doing the right thing in working with the United Nations," but she would not say whether she would support a unilateral U.S. attack.

"I support President Bush 100 percent," McDermott said. "With Powell and Rumsfeld, he's got an excellent team. They're doing an excellent job. I couldn't second-guess them."

A third GOP candidate, John Carroll, said he thinks the president has to make a better case before America starts a war on its own.

"They've got to have intelligence that is verifiable," he said. "They need to get evidence that there is clearly weapons of mass destruction production or getting close to that."

During the televised debate, Hanabusa said she would not have supported the resolution passed by Congress giving Bush power to attack Iraq and said America should attack only with U.N. approval.

She then pressed Case on his views.

"I think that your position in the past has been you've supported the war," she said.

Case said: "I'm here to clear it up. I don't support going to war with Iraq unilaterally any more than most of the rest of us do."

He continued: "If you're asking me, would I say absolutely, under no circumstance would I consider it necessary for the United States to disarm the leader of Iraq, even unilaterally, I say no."

E-mail to City Desk


Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
© 2002 Honolulu Star-Bulletin --