In most debates, the combatants are positioned behind protective lecterns, a respectful distance from one another, so they don’t kill each other. But a few days ago, News 12 New Jersey hosted the smiling CD4 Democratic challenger, Navy vet, Naval Reserve commander and businessman Josh Welle, and 38-year incumbent Rep. Chris Smith, whose facial expression suggested he didn’t think he should be required to be there. Smith hasn’t done a town hall in 25 years, is said by constituents not to live here, and is facing the strongest, best-funded challenge he’s had. And these two were seated across a desk from each other, with only Power & Politics host Eric Landskroner between them. And it got hostile very quickly. You can watch some of that here.
Just this morning, in another face-to-face, the opponents were seated in chairs next to one another in a rollicking 60-minute Q & A that again turned nasty very quickly. Smith called Welle “condescending,” and then “presumptuous” when Welle said Chris “Forcible rape” Smith “wakes up … and his number one agenda is to take away women’s right to choose”. But overall, I have to say, Welle looked and sounded modern, very imperfect but modern; while Smith looked and sounded defensive, interrupting, played out, saying things like “Democrat Party” and “I have a fact sheet I can give you.” Smith is still occupied with issues that most of the rest of us settled long ago, and not on his side.
The action starts 1 minute into this video below. And here’s APP’s reporting on the heated discussion.