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IN THE NEWS: Donnelly dominates first debate, reminding Hoosiers they can’t trust Rep. Braun on health care

Joe Donnelly controlled last night’s Senate debate as coverage focused on Joe’s efforts to take the race to his opponent, highlighting his work to protect Hoosiers’ health care and reminding voters that they can’t trust Rep. Braun.

Health care defined the debate from the opening statement, allowing Joe to highlight his record of protecting Hoosiers with pre-existing conditions and to attack Rep. Braun for supporting a lawsuit to dismantle those health care protections while crafting a company plan that features $10,000 deductibles. Meanwhile, Rep. Braun’s attempts to paint Joe as a Washington politician fell flat, as he simply didn’t come with the facts. Joe ticked off one bipartisan accomplishment after another, including his leadership in passing Right-to-Try legislation that “President Donald Trump praised him” directly for, as the NWI Times noted.

From the Times of Northwest IndianaHealth care dominates Senate debate

WESTVILLE — Health care took center stage in the U.S. Senate debate Monday.


Donnelly stressed the need to protect coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. He asked Braun to speak against the GOP’s Texas v. United States lawsuit, which challenges the Affordable Care Act, including coverage for pre-existing conditions.

Braun said he would never oppose guaranteeing coverage for pre-existing conditions in any replacement of Obamacare, but he didn’t answer Donnelly’s question about that lawsuit.

Donnelly repeatedly stressed his success in passing right-to-try legislation that allows patients facing terminal illness to obtain unapproved drugs in the hope that it might save their lives.

President Donald Trump praised him for pushing that legislation, Donnelly noted.

From the Indy StarIndiana Senate debate: Braun, Donnelly try to paint each other as extremists

Donnelly defended his record, saying he has worked with both parties to pass 45 legislative measures that have become law, perhaps most notably efforts to improve suicide prevention in the military and to allow patients to try experimental drugs.

But Donnelly also wanted to make it clear that he cast a key vote to preserve  Obamacare and, more specifically, its guaranteed coverage of pre-existing conditions. He accused Braun of supporting a lawsuit several states have filed to declare the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional.

Braun never directly addressed the lawsuit but said he supports repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act with a measure that also guarantees coverage of pre-existing conditions.

Braun said he supported Trump's decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, saying it was too expensive. He also praised Trump for trying to disarm North Korea...

Donnelly said Iran was a month away from developing nuclear weapons when the Iran nuclear deal pushed that timeline back a decade. Had Iran developed nuclear weapons, he said, it would have led to war.

"That’s why the Iran deal was done," he said, "so our children didn’t have to go to war."

From the Associated Press: Democrat Donnelly cites support for Trump in Indiana debate

"I go against my party all the time," Donnelly said from the debate state in Westville. "I've been with president 62 percent of the time. That's what we're supposed to do.

Donnelly entered the debate wanting to sow doubts about Braun's trustworthiness, while raising concern that, as a Republican, he would try to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which is sometimes referred to as "Obamacare."

"I stand here proudly before you and all the people of Indiana to tell you I was the deciding vote that saved coverage for preexisting conditions," Donnelly said, before attacking Braun for supporting a GOP led lawsuit aimed at eliminating the health care law, including coverage for those with preexisting conditions.

"Mike I can hardly believe that you can stand here and tell everybody you are for coverage of preexisting conditions," Donnelly said. "Stand here tonight and tell us you'll denounce that lawsuit."


From the Indy Star: 7 takeaways from the first Indiana Senate debate -- they went on the attack

Seconds into the debate, Donnelly started what was to become an incessant barrage of verbal assaults and insults by mocking Braun's patented look, a blue dress shirt, unbuttoned at the neck, no tie. It's an affect Braun picked up during the primary in part to differentiate himself from his opponents, well-dressed Congressmen Luke Messer and Todd Rokita

"Mike, you need to do more than take your tie off to gain the trust of the people of Indiana," Donnelly said.

From The Hill5 takeaways from the Senate debate -- Donnelly goes on offense

“Mike, you need to do more than take your tie off to gain the trust of Indiana,” Donnelly quipped about Braun, who frequently wears a blue-collared shirt with no tie.

...Donnelly went on offense, attacking Braun on his business and legislative record and cutting in several times.

Donnelly cast Braun as someone who would be unequivocally in lock-step with Trump — making the jab that Braun would back Bugs Bunny if the president nominated him to the high court.

From the Times of Northwest Indiana: Supporters cheer their Senate candidates despite lackluster attendance at Westville debate

Donnelly had the largest contingent, composed mostly of union members who roared as the incumbent from nearby Granger pulled up in his campaign's well-traveled recreational vehicle.

Mark Navarre, a union electrician from South Bend, said he's backed Donnelly throughout his six-year Senate term and going back to Donnelly's six years in the U.S. House.

"He's stood behind labor all the way through and I'm proud to help him through whatever he needs," Navarre said.

...Braun's group of supporters outside the debate site was smaller…”

From IDS: Indiana Senate candidates debate health care, Kavanaugh vote in first debate

The three Senate candidates duking it out on the debate stage Monday evening touted their voting records, or lack thereof, but one issue they circled back to was health care.
Donnelly used much of his speaking time to highlight his support for pre-existing condition coverage, tout his moderate voting record and criticize the health insurance provided by Braun’s company — exposed as being costly for workers in a report from Politico last week.