Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) trounced his Democratic challenger, Harley Rouda, in a debate taped Monday between the two contenders for the 48th congressional district seat in Orange County, California. Rohrabacher called out Rouda for supporting Medicare for illegal aliens.
Rouda denied ever supporting the idea, but in a primary debate — preserved on video — Rouda promised Medicare “for all residents of the United States of America.”
Rouda has been at pains to downplay his radical positions. Earlier this week, it was reported that a left-wing group had deleted a questionnaire in which Rouda had made a number of far-left pledges, including to create a federal “Department of Peacebuilding”; to stop the development of fossil fuels, including clean natural gas; to study reparations for slavery; and to give “free” tuition to college students. The 48th is a moderate Republican district.
Rohrabacher, a former speechwriter for President Ronald Reagan who has represented the area for three decades, is a conservative known for his iconoclastic positions, such as supporting the legalization of marijuana and improving ties with Russia. In the debate, he said: “The bottom line is: I think that, yes, we should cooperate with Russia now that it’s no longer our major threat, meaning the primary threat — they don’t meet our standards, but right now we have to deal with radical Islam and China. And Russia — we should cooperate where we can with Russia rather than being unrelentingly hostile.”
He noted he voted against President Donald Trump’s tax cut because it would raise the tax bill for some property owners in the district, due to the new cap on state and local tax (SALT) deductions.
Asked what the most important issue in the race was, Rouda said it “depends, in part, as to who you’re talking to.” Rouda also urged the voters of the 48th district, “Forget whether there’s a ‘D’ or an ‘R’ next to either of our names.”
Rohrabacher also noted that Rouda had previously said that he would impeach President Donald Trump, if elected.
Inside OC with Rick Reiff, a local PBS show, will air the debate Sunday at 5:00 p.m. PT, according to Voice of OC.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.