The candidates for the Second Congressional District race each spoke and then took questions before a meeting of the Next Generation Young Professionals at the North Little Rock Chamber of Commerce earlier this afternoon. Democrat Sen. Joyce Elliott, Republican Tim Griffin and Lewis Kennedy, the Green candidate, were in attendance. Lance Levi, the independent, was not, as indicated incorrectly in the original post. Each candidate was given time to speak and then took questions.
No one strayed far from the script. Griffin told the audience it was "silly season," in reference to some of the hits his campaign has taken of late in regards to voter caging and his role in the ousted U.S. attorneys scandal. Griffin told the audience there was no need in an issue-based campaign to "resort to this nonsense."
Elliott reiterated some of her campaign's attacks on Griffin's character and addressed her Republican challenger directly, specifically using the word "you." "What you did in Washington matters," Elliott said. "And what you did to move yourself ahead, and what you did to leave out parts of your record matters." Elliott also said Griffin had organized President George W. Bush's 60-city tour to tout privatizing social security, referring to Griffin's role as a special assistant to the president and deputy director of political affairs at that time. Griffin said he never organized any of those events.
In reference to the candidates' positions on tax cuts, Elliott also told those in the audience to look at history and posed this question: "If [the Bush] tax cuts were there to create jobs, then why do we not have any jobs?" Whether any of the candidates' remarks had any impact on those in attendance is another question. As the forum wore on, a lot of those in the audience were checking their watches and consulting their smart phones.