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Roskam vs. Casten debate coverage roundup

Friday, Jul 27, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Well, here’s an interesting turn of events

Rep. Peter Roskam on Thursday tried to paint political newcomer Sean Casten as a liberal President Donald Trump of sorts — accusing the Democratic challenger of being a bully with words and tweets.

The Republican incumbent has been accused of voting in lockstep with the Trump Administration, but on Thursday, Roskam tried to turn the tables.

“What you’ve heard in a litany of descriptions of what I’ve brought out about my opponent and how he characterizes people, how he ridicules people, how he demeans people — I think is really Trump-like,” Roskam said.

This was no off the cuff remark. It was a planned hit. Roskam’s people had a handout explaining the allegation, according to Tina Sfondeles’ story.

* Tribune

In the debate streamed live online and to be televised on Fox-Ch. 32, Casten characterized the Republican federal tax overhaul Roskam helped usher through Congress as too focused on helping wealthy people. Roskam said the tax cuts will help usher economic growth.

On abortion, Roskam said he’s “not going to be defensive about being pro-life” and criticized Casten for favoring expanding the availability of taxpayer-funded abortions. Casten said abortion should be a choice between a woman and her doctor, not “Peter and anyone else in Washington.”

“I view abortion as a medical procedure like a gall bladder surgery,” Casten said. “I don’t want anybody to have to have one. I can’t imagine the pain that someone would go through to do that.”

“Abortion is not gall bladder surgery,” Roskam later replied.

* Daily Herald

Much of the health care discussion Thursday centered on a bill Roskam supports to expand access to health savings accounts. The measure passed the House Wednesday.

Roskam said the addition of pretax health savings accounts will help counter one of the main problems of the health care law: high premiums and deductibles.

Casten said the savings accounts will do little good for those who need help paying for coverage the most.

“HSAs are wonderful if you have the disposable income to set aside,” Casten said. “They’re not helpful for folks who don’t have that income.”

* Suburban Life

Roskam characterized Trump’s work in office as “middling.”

“Good on the economy, jumbling on other issues, but when it comes time to standing up against the administration on things, I’ve been consistent on doing that, reflecting the interests of our constituency,” Roskam said.

To Casten, Trump is putting the country in danger.

“I think President Trump is the worst president of our generation,” Casten said. “Every day he is in the office is a risk to our country and to the global order that we fought to create after World War II. The problem, though, is not Trump. The problem is a Congress that is not fulfilling its obligation to act as a check and balance on the president.”

* Northwest Herald

A burning hot center of the debate was Trump’s controversial $1.5 trillion tax cut plan that Congress sped into law in December.

The topic offered a moment for Casten to use Roskam’s voting record –
94.4 percent in line with Trump, according to election predictor Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight blog – as a referendum on his opponent’s time in office.

Video of the debate is here.

* Outside…

* Related…

* Play along in Roskam, Casten battle for Congress on gamer site, Twitch


  1. - Hysteria - Friday, Jul 27, 18 @ 12:48 pm:

    “I view abortion as a medical procedure like a gall bladder surgery,” Casten said.

    And this, in a nutshell, is what is wrong with pro-abortionists. There are Casten signs in my neighborhood, and this comment just makes me sick.

  2. - Lester Holt’s Mustache - Friday, Jul 27, 18 @ 12:54 pm:

    ==pro-abortionists. ==

    At least you’ve selected an appropriately self-descriptive nickname to post under.

  3. - B-non - Friday, Jul 27, 18 @ 1:04 pm:

    Your use of the term “pro-abortionists” is disingenuous. It’s “pro-choice” and to not see the difference is willful ignorance.

    Being pro-choice is just that: the woman has the *choice* to do what’s best for her, whether to have the procedure or not. It’s up to her and no one else.

    Abortion is a medical procedure and as such the decision to have it done should only involve the woman and her doctor.

  4. - wordslinger - Friday, Jul 27, 18 @ 1:12 pm:

    –“…but when it comes time to standing up against the administration on things, I’ve been consistent on doing that, reflecting the interests of our constituency,” Roskam said.–

    Uh huh.

    When you’re holding those town halls in your suburban district, Mr. Ways and Means, does it go over well when you explain how helping to ram through the elimination of the state and local tax deductions is in their interests?

    Some new kind of math or something, in your world?

  5. - Lucky Pierre - Friday, Jul 27, 18 @ 1:12 pm:

    What a callous description of abortion- gall bladder surgery

    “In vertebrates, the gallbladder is a small hollow organ where bile is stored and concentrated before it is released into the small intestine.”

    Yes that sure sounds nothing like tax payer funded abortion in the 9th month of pregnancy.

  6. - MOON - Friday, Jul 27, 18 @ 1:17 pm:


    Prior to choosing an abortion I would consider that person “Pro-Choice”

    After choosing to have an abortion I would consider that person “Pro-Abortionist”

  7. - walker - Friday, Jul 27, 18 @ 1:22 pm:

    I know of no pro-choice woman who would ever use that dunderheaded analogy. To choose to terminate a pregnancy goes way beyond painful surgery. To underappreciate the complexity of a woman’s choice, including all emotional and moral factors, is to participate in a patriarchal mindset. Sorry.

  8. - Anonimity - Friday, Jul 27, 18 @ 1:30 pm:

    Abortion is homicide. And just like capital punishment, it is one of two areas where we allow people to kill people to solve our social problems.

    You can support or object to it, but call a spade a spade. All this “choice” and “life” stuff are just language games.

  9. - hisgirlfriday - Friday, Jul 27, 18 @ 1:37 pm:

    The gallbladder surgery analogy language is bad politics, even though support for abortion rights should be couched in the fact that abortion (whether it be surgical, taking a plan B bill, or whatever) is medical care and that trying to restrict access to abortion is an attempt to restrict legitimate medical care.

  10. - DuPage Saint - Friday, Jul 27, 18 @ 1:45 pm:

    I happen to be pro choice. I think it is totally between the woman her doctor and her faith is definitely no one else’s business. But seriously what a really dumb thing to say. I am sure all the good religious people of Wheaton will see this. I still think this will be a Roskam win in spite of his over the top arrogance. As a Republican I always liked voting against him till I moved

  11. - Jocko - Friday, Jul 27, 18 @ 1:49 pm:

    ==a bully with words and tweets==

    As opposed to a career politician who goes along (with Trump) to get along (with members of his party).

    If we’re going with “Pro-Abortionist”, let’s admit the other side is simply “Pro-Birth” and little else.

  12. - Ron Burgundy - Friday, Jul 27, 18 @ 1:51 pm:

    The “gall” of that comment is pretty remarkable. I’m not hard to either side of the abortion debate, but few people engaged on this very serious issue would be so callous as to consider an abortion procedure just like taking out an inflamed organ. Mistake by the challenger there.

  13. - Arthur Andersen - Friday, Jul 27, 18 @ 2:03 pm:

    Pro-choicer here. (Sorry, Bishop Paprocki)

    Walker nails it. Not much to add but to ask others if this guy is regularly this batty.

  14. - Albany Park Patriot - Friday, Jul 27, 18 @ 2:05 pm:

    Those pro-Roskam people probably won’t set foot in Chicago again until the Garden Show.

  15. - Mike Cirrincione - Friday, Jul 27, 18 @ 2:06 pm:

    Abortion is about a Woman’s Constitutional Right to Prvacy. If your a small government conservative then you would support this.

  16. - JB13 - Friday, Jul 27, 18 @ 2:08 pm:

    My gall bladder had a beating heart and a brain? So, was it maliciously attacking me with bile backups? Mind. Blown. Glad I got that horrid little creature removed when I did, before it matured and was really able to inflict damage on my insides. Thanks to Mr. Casten for the insight.

  17. - Pundent - Friday, Jul 27, 18 @ 2:08 pm:

    =There are Casten signs in my neighborhood, and this comment just makes me sick.=

    Sorry to make you ill, but maybe it’s not about you. In fact I’m pretty certain that’s what Casten is saying.

  18. - slow down - Friday, Jul 27, 18 @ 2:15 pm:

    If this election is about Roskam and Trump and their tax law, Casten wins. That’s where Casten’s focus needs to be.

  19. - Texas Red - Friday, Jul 27, 18 @ 2:16 pm:

    Casten’s comparing gallbladder surgery to abortion made the rest of his debate performance immaterial. Roskam’s campaign also now has great fodder for Ad material. Total Rookie move.

  20. - Anon316 - Friday, Jul 27, 18 @ 2:20 pm:

    It is one thing to be pro-choice, but it is another to adhere to the extreme leftist, Planned Parenthood view that abortion is just a medical procedure. Casten clearly is in that camp. Roskam’s district is a lot of Catholics and other Christians, many of whom are pro-life Democrats, and I hope Roskam’s people get this quote out everywhere.

  21. - Illinoisvoter - Friday, Jul 27, 18 @ 2:24 pm:

    Thank You. So that’s where all the Roskam signs went. Chicago. Do have to wonder how many votes
    are in the city for the 6th district? Even the house
    with LOCK HER UP two years ago is blank.

  22. - Politix - Friday, Jul 27, 18 @ 2:30 pm:

    I am pretty sure he meant to say he views abortion as any other medical procedure. Stepped in it trying to be clever.

  23. - Original Rambler - Friday, Jul 27, 18 @ 3:04 pm:

    I would say that personally I am pro-choice while politically I am pro-choice. It’s up to the woman and way more complicated a decision than gall bladder surgery. (I agree with Politix on this.) Walker does a nice job with his post. I so despise the term pro-life when they’re all mostly just pro-birth. God forbid they pay any tax dollars to sustain and nurture the child.

    Back to the race, I agree with slow down about focusing on Trump and the effect of the new tax law that Roskam was unable to prevent even though sitting on Ways and Means. While I’m unfamiliar with the Catholics in the district, I know plenty of Catholics who are pro-choice. But I will say that the pro-life ones are single issue voters so Roskam would have that going for him.

  24. - A guy - Friday, Jul 27, 18 @ 3:33 pm:

    ==“I view abortion as a medical procedure like a gall bladder surgery,” Casten said==

    If you’re looking for a moment where a guy totally blew it, this is it.

    I am pro-life (well beyond simply pro-birth!) The line Casten used was well rehearsed and way too cute by more than half. He’s been saying that for a while. It’s not off the cuff. He just hasn’t been in front of anyone but supporters yet where they aren’t offended by such a remark. Comparing a pregnancy situation, pick your own term; embryo, fetus, human tissue, baby, new life, etc) to a gall bladder??

    The scholars here can confirm there is no “Right to Privacy” baked into the Constitution.

    Roskam did well at this event. I watched the live stream and then watched it again today. He’s always been a good speaker, smart, quick-witted, and genial. There has been some pompousness at times, but he’s a savvy person.

    Mr. Casten was not ready for this and came across quippy on a lot of the questions. He’s been running for a while, so one would think he would have more depth of thought on a lot of what came up. He didn’t.

    It’s good for Casten, and a shame for Roskam that more people won’t see this. The enduring gift Casten delivered though, was the gall bladder line.

    There are many Catholics and Christians that are personally Pro-life, but queasy when it comes to politics and prefer to be positioned as pro-choice. They abhor abortion as a contraceptive measure usually. Casten lost them.

    The public funding is a problem too. Extrapolating the logic, this decision is between a woman and her doctor and the taxpayers of Illinois who will be billed for the decision. And which doctor? The one who will spend less than 15 minutes with her and perform as many procedures as possible in the day? This is and always has been primarily about money.

  25. - Hysteria - Friday, Jul 27, 18 @ 3:37 pm:

    Note to Roskam’s people - Casten’s quote should be on every piece of mail that I get in my mailbox this election season.

  26. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jul 27, 18 @ 3:40 pm:

    ===There are many Catholics and Christians that are personally Pro-life, but queasy when it comes to politics and prefer to be positioned as pro-choice. They abhor abortion as a contraceptive measure usually. Casten lost them.===

    I doubt that. I cite you voting for Rauner as an example.


  27. - Pundent - Friday, Jul 27, 18 @ 3:53 pm:

    =Abortion is homicide.= Not until the Supreme Court says it is.

    I agree that Casten’s characterization wasn’t the best. But at the end of the day I don’t think this will be the deciding factor in this race by a long shot. Roskam has shown a consistent unwillingness to answer to his constituents and in the era of Trump it’s never been more apparent. I don’t know if that alone will be his demise but whether its Casten or some democrat in the future his days appear to be numbered.

    And if this is anyone’s sole reason for supporting Roskam you really weren’t going to consider Casten to begin with. Whether you’re pro-life or pro-choice it’s quite sad that this would be the determining factor in casting your vote.

  28. - TominChicago - Friday, Jul 27, 18 @ 4:02 pm:

    It probably was a dumb line, but its not fatal as some of the already pro-Roskam voters in this thread want to believe. In fact, if Roskam overplays it, it will harm him with all the moderate suburban moms in the district. That said, Casten is better off by pinning the loss of the SALT deduction on Roskam.

  29. - don the legend - Friday, Jul 27, 18 @ 4:08 pm:

    Ouch. Willy, that’s definitely going to leave a mark.

  30. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jul 27, 18 @ 4:15 pm:

    - don the legend -

    Self awareness is a lost art sometimes. Nothing more.


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