"This is one more illustration of what has been happening with the existing Republican leadership," Farrell said of the Foley scandal, alleging House leadership knew the former congressman sent sexually explicit e-mails to a teenage page but did not take action to stop it.
"It has been one mistake or one scandal after another, and the one that is the most substantive right now is, of course, where we are in the war in Iraq," she said.
Shays spent most of his 15 minutes defending his vote to authorize military force in Iraq, as well as his recent call to set a timetable for troop withdrawal after returning from his 14th trip to the country and reporting no political progress by the Iraqi leadership. After the debate, he called on Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to resign over his handling of the war.
Farrell suggested Shays was switching his position in light of the Democratic primary win last month of anti-war candidate Ned Lamont over incumbent U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn. Shays responded angrily that he would not suggest policy based on politics.
Brandishing a packet of letters and observations about Iraq, including a letter to the Bush administration written before the primary, Shays said his position has been extensive, sincere and real.
"I have attended five funerals," Shays said. "I would never, ever, ever have a policy on Iraq based on my personal election."
"The vast majority of the money (spent), we built a new middle school, refurbished our high school, renovated and touched every single school in the town of Westport," [Farrell] said. "I challenge you to stand here and tell me the $250 million we spend every day in Iraq is money better spent." (Ginocchio)
Farrell knows that Iraq is why she has a chance against Shays, and she's playing that tune whenever she gets a chance. Shays has the unenviable task of trying to defend a nuanced and somewhat less clear position than his opponent's.
In the end, though, it may very well be the widening Foley scandal that puts Farrell--and the Democrats--over the top, and not Iraq at all. We'll see.
Ginnochio, Mark. "Congressional candidates spar over Iraq war exit strategies in three-way meeting." Stamford Advocate 5 October, 2006.