MYRTLE BEACH — No audience member spoke up in the pre-show at the 7th Congressional District debate Wednesday night when asked if they were undecided in the presidential race, and judging by their applause for each candidate, the same was true for Tom Rice and Gloria Tinubu.
It likely was no surprise to audience members that Republican Rice and Democrat Tinubu both stress the need for job creation in the eight-county district. And it probably was no surprise that the two are at opposite ends of the spectrum when they talk about how it should be done.
Rice would shatter government regulations and shrink government itself in a move to free businesses to prosper and create more jobs. Tinubu believes that education, training and investment in infrastructure is the way to do it.
On specific issues, Rice said hes against unions. Tinubu said she supports them. Tinubu supports the Affordable Health Care Act. Rice would vote to abolish it. Rice would put an economic development expert on his staff. Tinubu said she is an economic development expert.
The audience of about 300 included at least two of the unsuccessful primary candidates: Republican Andre Bauer, who taped another television show onstage at the conclusion of the debate. And Democrat Parnell Diggs, who sat among the few people seated in the balcony of the auditorium at Myrtle Beach High School, where the debate was held.
The audience was warned that loud, enthusiastic applause for either candidate just shortened the time each would have to say how they felt about a number of issues. But sometimes the temptation was just too great.
Perhaps the loudest and most enthusiastic came when Rice countered a Tinubu statement that she supports President Obama manipulating resources for the common good, saying Manipulation of resources sounds like socialism to me.
Tinubu, however, got as loud and enthusiastic an outburst when she countered Rices counter with Arent you tired of that phrase?
At the end of one break, a man in the audience yelled Youre doing good, Tom and a woman immediately followed with Youre doing great, Gloria.
Given a chance to question each other, Tinubu asked Rice how he balanced his stance against government intrusion into business with his participation in Project Blue, which could result in considerable public dollars in attracting new industry to Horry County. Rice said no tax dollars will be spent until the deal is done, and creating jobs is a good expense of tax money.
Rice asked how Tinubus pro-union stance meshes with bringing jobs into the country and district. Tinubu said S.C. became a right-to-work state decades ago and still ranks worst nationally in many economic measures.
Diggs said it was clear from his balcony seat which of the candidates said the things that would be most benefit to all the residents of the 7th District. Bauer said there were few specifics on either side to give voters information to make decisions.
Contact STEVE JONES at 444-1765.