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Slaughter and Brooks get testy


If you caught the first debate between incumbent Democrat Louise Slaughter and Republican Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks, you didn't miss much, since tonight's round was more of the same.

The only major difference was Brooks' defensive posture on FEMA in light of the disaster superstorm Sandy inflicted on the New York City and New Jersey region. There's no time to debate whether to cut funds directed to FEMA, she said.

Both candidates were sharp-tongued, argumentative, and aggressive. One of the worst fights came early in the debate over who was running the most misleading ads. Brooks called Slaughter's ads "negative, misleading, and dishonest."

Both candidates have waged a rough ad war in this nasty fight for the 25th District seat.

Slaughter warmly embraced the Affordable Care Act, while Brooks recited the well-worn and misleading claims that it harms Medicaid and small businesses.

Brooks is best when she speaks candidly about her personal views concerning women's health and LGBT issues like marriage equality. There's a bit of humility in her tone when she says her views sometimes conflict with those of her family members.

Slaughter is best when talks about Congress and how the gears in Washington really turn. She's experienced and her understanding of how the federal government works is evident.

More women in Congress would be a good thing. In this case, however, Brooks would be a junior representative in a rough and tumble world. She would have little influence, and worse she would need the support of one of the most radically right-leaning parties in recent memory to get anything done.

Her usual talk of wanting to work with Democrats would get chucked before her bags were even unpacked.

Tonight's debate was scheduled for Tuesday, but was delayed a day over the fallout from Hurricane Sandy.