VIDEO: Stacey Abrams Emphasizes Health Care in Commanding Debate Performance
Last night, Stacey Abrams emphasized the importance of health care throughout her commanding performance in Georgia’s gubernatorial debate. Abrams repeatedly highlighted the economic development potential of bipartisan Medicaid expansion, a plan that 70% of Georgia voters support. Abrams also drew a clear contrast with Brian Kemp’s opposition to expansion as well as his record of undermining protections for Georgians with pre-existing conditions.
We at the DGA aren’t the only ones who think Abrams did well last night. A nationally-recognized non-partisan debate expert told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that she won:
Abrams scored a moderate victory tonight because she continually stressed the themes of leadership, bipartisanship, and Medicaid expansion. She mentioned working with current Republican Gov. Nathan Deal on criminal justice reform and pointed out that Vice President Mike Pence expanded Medicaid while governor of Indiana.
…Ultimately, Abrams made a few more persuasive arguments during the hour affair and had a slightly better debating style given this format. She did a good job of preempting some of Kemp’s arguments in advance, which lessens their rhetorical impact. Abrams also repeatedly mentioned what she would do as the next Georgia governor, which can be presumptuous, but also instills confidence and optimism.
The Washington Post’s Daily 202 also reported on Abrams’ health care focus:
Abrams has made Medicaid expansion the centerpiece of her campaign, and she sells it more as a smart economic move that will create jobs than a moral imperative. Kemp, who called Abrams “radical” and “extreme,” said she’s advocating for “a government takeover of health care” that will raise taxes and jeopardize existing benefits when the federal money dries up. Abrams responded that Mike Pence, when he was governor of Indiana, expanded Medicaid.
An Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll this year found that 3 in 4 Georgians favor expansion, including 51 percent of Republicans and 79 percent of independents.
…During last night’s debate, Abrams was pressed on her promise to expand Medicaid on Day One. The moderator noted that the GOP will almost certainly continue to control the legislature even if she wins and wondered how she could deliver. Abrams responded, much like Northam did during his debates last summer with Ed Gillespie, by noting her ability to work across the aisle and the good relationships she forged with Republican legislators during her years as minority leader in the state house. “I’m the only candidate with a plan,” she said.
Watch video of Abrams’ answers on health care HERE .