By Maria Santora 10-8-2014
The Gubernatorial Forum on Wednesday October 8th, was anything but a friendly debate. Commonwealth gubernatorial candidates Charlie Baker and Martha Coakley utilized bad-mouthing tactics to outshine the opposition.
It began with a discussion of the candidates’ plans for growing the Massachusetts economy, including topics of child welfare and scaling businesses, the debate quickly developed into a series of personal attacks. In the heated back-and-forth discussion, which stemmed over the content of the ads run by the independent expenditure groups, both candidates refused to ask their supporters to pull the ads. One advertisement, aimed to target Republican candidate Charlie Baker, referenced an increase in his salary from $600,000 to $1.7 million dollars while working as CEO of the non-profit, Harvard Pilgrim. Martha Coakley, who mentioned she would only discontinue the ads against Baker if he did so first, defended the ad by mentioning, “Voters should know where his priorities lie. While people are suffering his salary goes up three-fold.”
Baker fired back and rebutted her attack. “Harvard Pilgrim is a non-profit, which means executive compensation of that organization is overseen by the Attorney General. I find it odd that the Attorney General, today, yesterday, and the day before thinks my salary at Harvard Pilgrim was inappropriate, when she was perfectly happy to sign off on it when I was the CEO there and she was the Attorney General.” Baker, although claiming he dislikes the tone of the ad aimed to attack opposition Coakley on the terms of child welfare, did however agree that it raises legitimate questions as to why she failed to a settle a lawsuit that would have ultimately benefited children in foster care facilities.
With more than three weeks until election time, it may be fair to say that the claws are here to stay for both candidates in this campaign.