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Decision 2004: The U.S. Senate Race

Louisiana Senate Debates



Genre: Debate

Place Covered: Lafayette, Lafayette Parish, Louisiana

Copyright Holder: Louisiana Educational Television Authority

Date Issued: 2004-10-21

Duration: 00:56:28

Subjects: Elections, 2004 | United States Senate election in Louisiana, 2004 | Politics | Television debates | COUNCIL FOR A BETTER LOUISIANA | University of Louisiana at Lafayette | Kennedy, John Neely | MORRELL, ARTHUR A. | John, Chris | Vitter, David | Education | Early childhood education | Balanced budget | Budget deficits | War on Terrorism, 2001-2009 | Iraq War, 2003-2011 | Louisiana. National Guard | Military | Health Care | Drugs | Pharmaceutical industry | OIL INDUSTRY | Energy | MINIMUM WAGE | RETIREMENT SYSTEMS | Louisiana State Employees' Retirement System | Teachers' Retirement System of Louisiana | Labor | Overtime | Welfare reform | Taxes | COASTAL EROSION | COASTAL RESTORATION


  • Courtney, Beth Moderator
  • Erwin, Barry Moderator
  • Ekings, Robyn Interviewer
  • Hasten, Mike Interviewer
  • Maggi, Laura Interviewer
  • Kennedy, John Panelist
  • Morrell, Arthur Panelist
  • John, Chris Panelist
  • Vitter, David Panelist


A live debate held on October 21, 2004, at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette between the four candidates for United States Senate: State Treasurer John Kennedy (D); State Representative Arthur Morrell (D); Congressman Chris John (D); and Congressman David Vitter (R). The debate was moderated by Beth Courtney of Louisiana Public Broadcasting and Barry Erwin of the Council for a Better Louisiana (CABL). The questions were asked by the moderators and a panel of three journalists, Robyn Ekings of Louisiana Public Broadcasting, Mike Hasten of Gannett News Service, and Laura Maggi of the New Orleans Times-Picayune. The debate consisted of four rounds of questions, questions to all candidates, questions to an individual candidate, candidate to candidate questions, and a lightning round of questions to all candidates. For the questions to all, the candidates were asked about the following topics: education; balancing the budget; setting a time table for bringing the troops home from the War in Iraq; importing prescription drugs from Canada and other countries; why Louisiana is not benefitting from increased oil production; and increasing the minimum wage. For the questions to individual candidates: Kennedy was asked about his role in securing the state’s retirement systems and the real David Vitter; Morrell was asked whether there is a conflict of interest when he represents clients suing the state and his view of the U.S. Department of Labor’s changing overtime rules; John was asked his assessment of how the War in Iraq has been waged and welfare reform; and Vitter was asked about making the Bush tax cuts permanent and funding coastal restoration projects. The debate ended with each candidate’s closing statement.