Tiburon Republican Dan Roberts played the Mitt Romney card Monday night — emphasizing his private-sector business experience and bottom-up administrative philosophy — during a debate with San Rafael Democrat Jared Huffman, his opponent in the campaign for the 2nd District Congressional seat.
His viewpoint seemed to be this: Romney is gaining in the polls, so maybe it can work to his benefit as well.
The lightly attended event at Dominican University's Angelico Hall clearly showcased the differences between the two candidates vying for the position held for 20 years by the retiring Lynn Woolsey, a Democrat from Petaluma.
Roberts, a 41-year resident of the newly drawn district and the founder/president of an investment company, said his priorities would be to curtail excess government spending, cut taxes and eliminate unnecessary regulations that restrict the ability to start new businesses.
"The progressives, which include my opponent, have one theme that runs through all their approaches, and that is the old line of tax and spend," Roberts said in his closing statement. "If you listen to the rhetoric, they say invest in education and invest in light rail, and what they're talking about is spending. The pot is dry, and the free money is gone. Please help me problem-solve to find the right solutions that don't fall back on tax-and-spend."
Roberts said Huffman, an environmental attorney and six-year assemblyman, has been part of a Legislature that lost the trust of the public.
"My opponent is part of a failed government, one that's absent without leave," he said. "We need new leadership."
Huffman calmly admitted to the tough times in Sacramento but cited his track record of strong values, 60-plus pieces of legislation passed and the will to get things done, including overcoming partisan gridlock. He said his plan in Washington, D.C., would be to cut the military budget, protect Medicare and Social Security, build on affordable heath care, tackle the national debt and address global warming.
"But job creation and economic growth are the most important things," he said. "... the great news is that you have a six-year voting record to examine. I'm pro-consumer, pro-environment, pro-choice, pro-seniors."
Huffman said one of the biggest differences he has with Roberts is on funding for women's reproductive health care — he's for it and Roberts is against it. "I will fight any rollback on funding on that issue," Huffman said.
The forum was moderated by CBS 5 anchor Dana King and was co-sponsored by Dominican University, MarinKids, and the League of Women Voters of Marin County. Election day is Nov. 6.