By Javier Manjarres
The Republican congressional candidates vying to oppose Congressman Debbie Wasserman Schultz in November debated each other in Miami Beach with just weeks remaining before the Republican Primary on August 14th.
In sum, there was wide agreement among all five of the candidates on the issues, but what most noteworthy about the debate can best be described as a gradual meltdown by one of the candidates that culminated with absurd accusations and conduct unbecoming of a congressional debate.
From the start of the debate, Ozzie deFaria called out Joe Kaufman for mentioning his endorsement by Herman Cain. Cain named both Kaufman and deFaria as part of his “Army of Davids,” but upon learning of deFaria’s criminal arrest record and domestic violence issues, Cain decided to openly endorse Joe Kaufman in the race. While Kaufman did a decent amount of name dropping in the debate, Cain has in fact endorsed Joe Kaufman in the race.
deFaria then told Kaufman that his statement was “going to come around and bite him in the ass.”
deFaria was off message again as he went on the attack against Karen Harrington and tried to promote his factually-challenged website that is dedicated to Harrington. deFaria was then jeered, and someone from the audience called out “talk about your arrest record.” deFaria was clearly uncomfortable and was about to discuss his arrest record when he shut down by the moderator, Marcos Sendon, because his time was up.
deFaria then decided not to answer the next question posed to him, stating, “I am not going to answer the question, I am going to defend my honor.” Needless to say, deFaria didn’t answer the question, and tried to defend his arrest. deFaria deceptively said that the charges were dropped and he has never hit a woman. While he may not have hit a woman, that is not directly addressing what he was actually charged with. He was arrested for assaulting his ex-wife’s boyfriend at the time and for violating an injunction against him.
In the sworn affidavit against him by Charles Seibold III, his ex-wife’s former boyfriend and now husband, Seibold stated that his ex-wife Elaine deFaria told him that deFaria assaulted her.
The Respondent grabbed my girlfriend by the arm and pushed her aside…Police arrived and took pictures of my girlfriends arm.”- Charles Seibold, III (11/20/2005) (Source)
Adding to deFaria’s follies, deFaria used the word “asshole” during the debate, claiming that he was responding to a heckler. Using profanity to a small crowd of about 80- some of them minors under the age of 10- nice job Ozzie.
Kaufman later slammed deFaria in his closing remarks by claiming that deFaria is trying to buy the election. deFaria, as expected, defensively stated that he was “proud” of the money he put into his campaign and was willing to spend it all to defeat Wasserman Schultz. deFaria has raised $619,00, $406,000 of which is his own money.
Juan Eliel Garcia took a swipe at deFaria’s arrogance in saying that money does will not buy elections, and Harrington went further and said that money couldn’t by character.
I don’t think money can every buy character. – Karen Harrington
All of the candidates were very well versed on the issues and did very well. Harrington had a solid debate, and Bresso, Garcia and Kaufman turned in very respectable performances as well.
Bresso went into detail about she would change things in Washington, and she agreed with Harrington about simplifying the tax form and ending the practice of baseline budgeting.
Kaufman has markedly improved in the debates, as he displayed more depth on issues beyond terrorism and Israel by going into detail on issues such as the Arizona immigration law and the SCOTUS Obamacare decision.
Ozzie deFaria’s performance was simply embarrassing and reinforced the perception that he is not ready for prime time.
Here his a video of the sparks that flew-