Steve Chabot at Debate: ‘I’m a Work Horse Kind of Guy…He’s a Show Horse’

Congressman Steve Chabot (R-OH-1) and his Democrat opponent, Aftab Pureval, went at each other fast and furious in Cincinnati Wednesday night in a no-holds-barred slug fest that made the first debate look like a picnic in the park.

Judging by the tone of the debate, hosted by WCPO Channel 9, this race has become personal for both Chabot and Pureval.

Chabot did not wait for his opponent to strike first like in the first debate. This time, he launched a preemptive attack.

“My opponent talked robotically [in the first debate] about the 22 years I’ve been fortunate to serve this district and how I haven’t accomplished anything,” Chabot said. “He moved into our congressional district just one day before he announced his candidacy. That means he worked for a D.C. lobbying firm for longer than he’s lived in our district.

“And not just any lobbying firm,” Chabot added, “but one that works for some of the worst regimes and terrorist organizations in the world.”

You can watch the entire debate here.

Chabot said even if Pureval was not directly involved in representing some of the foreign dictators, such as the terrorist regime in Libya, his salary was paid “with blood money.”

He was referring to the global corporate law firm White and Case, where Pureval worked for four years. He worked on one project as part of a team on behalf of the communist government of Nepal. The Ohio Star last month reported in depth on Pureval’s work there: See the story here.

Chabot also blasted Pureval’s record as Hamilton County Clerk of Courts, where he has been accused of “firing employees in the clerk’s office without cause and replacing them with his buddies.”

Chabot did not bring up Pureval’s campaign-finance miscues in the first debate, but he did on Wednesday night.

In fact, news broke just hours before the debate that Pureval’s lawyers tried to delay a hearing before the Ohio Elections Commission, which voted to hold a full hearing into Pureval’s alleged campaign finance violations. A judge denied the request Wednesday and the hearing will go off as scheduled on Nov. 1, five days before the election.

“These are very serious charges, one of which he could go to jail for, so he’s a lawyer and he’s trying to put it off till after the election because he doesn’t want people to know about it till after,” Chabot said.

In another article Wednesday in the Cincinnati Enquirer, a Pureval supporter allegedly infiltrated the Chabot campaign and was prying for information about the congressman’s debate strategy.

“I’ve had a lot of opponents over the years and I’ve never had a sleazier one than this one run against me,” Chabot said.

Chabot said Pureval’s entire campaign was about parroting the talking points given to him by national Democratic Party consultants.

Pureval punched back by repeatedly referring to Chabot as a “career politician” and accused him of being under investigation for misuse of public funds, an accusation that Chabot said had no substance whatsoever.

Pureval called Chabot a “lackey” for corporate interests and said voters needed to turn over the reins to “a new generation of leadership.”

Chabot accused Pureval of being a stooge for Nancy Pelosi, and Pureval responded by saying he would not even vote for Pelosi to be the Speaker of the House.

Both candidates referred to the other as outright liars.

Pureval accused Chabot of not holding town-hall meetings in years. Chabot said he switched to a “teletown-hall” format where he is able to get in touch with “thousands” as opposed to hundreds of constituents.

But Pureval said Chabot was too busy “flying around the world and racking up frequent flyer miles. He’s on the Foreign Affairs Committee. If I’m elected I’ll get on the infrastructure committee and fight for you.”

Chabot said Pureval was insulting the voters of the first district every time he complained about Chabot being elected 11 times and needing to step aside for the younger generation.

“I think keeping in touch with the people you represent is one of the most important parts of the job, and that’s one of the reasons people of this district have reelected me time and time again,” Chabot said. “On the town halls, they’re trying to make this a big issue, they’re doing the same thing all over the country. Basically over at the DNCC they say here’s how you slime your opponents, and then you accuse your opponent of sliming you.”

Ban ‘assault rifles’ and magazines

Pureval said he would vote for stricter gun-control laws, including a ban on “assault rifles and high-capacity magazines,” which he said are used for one purpose and one purpose only. “They’re not used for hunting. They’re used to kill people.”

Chabot described his opponent as pro-abortion, including the grisly partial-birth abortion procedure, and then trying to hide his position.

“He goes around and tells people at churches he’s pro life,” Chabot said. “Talk about lying.”

Pureval denied telling anyone he’s pro life, but Chabot said he’s been told this by several people who were present and heard Pureval make the comments.

Pureval smiled at the camera and calmly launched a counter attack, accusing Chabot of being “angry” and “losing his temper.”

Chabot said Pureval had the look of a good politician but not the substance. And he defended his record of helping constituents in need, from senior citizens to veterans.

“We have seniors that come all the time to us for help, and we take this up all the time, that’s my job, and it’s also about helping the veterans,” Chabot said. “We help them with their pensions, with what they’ve earned by being a veteran. We have people who come in who are having trouble with the IRS. That can be a very scary experience, with the whole power of the U.S. government coming against you. That’ is the kind of thing I do every day. This is not the glory work.

“This is a glory guy over there,” he said, pointing at Pureval. “He’s handsome, he has a great smile. There are work horses and there are show horses. I’m a work horse kind of guy.”

Mandi Merritt, the Ohio communications director for the Republican National Committee, issued the following statement Wednesday night after the debate.

Tonight, Congressman Steve Chabot proved far superior on the debate stage, reminding constituents of the many benefits they have seen as a result of his hard work in Congress – lower taxes and unemployment rates, higher wages, and a brighter future for Ohio families.  Meanwhile, Aftab Pureval proved that he is a nothing but an empty suit with no real plans to offer Ohioans.  Aftab’s many scandals, lies and canned Democrat talking points are wrong for Ohio’s 1st Congressional District, and that’s why voters will choose to send Steve Chabot back to Washington in November.”

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Anthony Accardi is a writer and reporter for The Ohio Star.

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