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Posted on Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 9:33 p.m.

John Dingell, Rob Steele differ on solutions to 'political gridlock,' other issues in 15th District debate

By Heather Lockwood

U.S. Rep. John Dingell pledged to protect Medicare and Social Security, while Republican opponent Rob Steele called for a repeal of the federal health care law and an end to out-of-control government spending.

The two candidates went head-to-head Wednesday night at the Monroe County Community College La-Z-Boy Center before a crowd of several hundred people in their first — and likely only — public debate.

Steele, a Republican, is attempting to unseat the country's longest serving congressman in the Nov. 2 election. They're competing for the 15th District congressional seat, which covers parts of Washtenaw and Wayne counties, and all of Monroe County.

Each candidate was allowed a two-minute opening statement and a one-minute closing statement. During the hour-long event, they were given a one-minute initial response and 30-second rebuttals to each question asked.

About half of the questions were related to domestic issues, and half to foreign policy.


U.S. Rep. John Dingell

Ryan J. Stanton |

In his opening statement, Dingell stressed his priorities of “protecting” Medicare, Social Security and the economy.

"I intend to fight hard for you, as I always have. And to see that government and big business are held accountable."

Steele, an Ann Arbor cardiologist, reminded the crowd of his political inexperience and referred to himself as a "career community member."

"I'm not a politician. Like many of you, I was born and raised in a small town in Michigan," Steele said. "I never wanted to be involved in politics, I just knew I had to step up at this time."

He added, "It's time we send a career community member and a career business owner to fix these problems."

When asked about what they would do to turn the state and the national economy around, Dingell said it is necessary that "trading partners treat us fairly." He called for an end to "currency manipulation" and "unfair trading practices."

Steele called for a repeal of the health care bill and a reduction in what he says is "out of control" federal spending.

"Money gets sent to Washington and goes into a black hole," Steele said. "Washington doesn't know how to take care of communities. Money goes there and it disappears."

On the topic of education, Steele said: "The problem with public school education is not the requirement for more money. We need more effective schooling."

Dingell said that the federal government must assist the states with "proper funding and establishing standards” for schools.

"This country needs to spend more time, money and energy on education," Dingell said.

Thumbnail image for Rob_Steele_Congress_Republican.jpg

Rob Steele

Steele criticized the national health care bill, saying it "makes virtually every single (problem) worse."

"We need to start over and fix the problems that are there," he said.

To which Dingell replied, "I have the curious belief that health care is a right, not a privilege." And, he added, access to health care for Americans is "necessary for a healthy, competitive America."

"Maybe the good doctor would like to tell us which parts of that bill he would like to repeal," Dingell added.

And when asked about the "political gridlock" in Washington, Dingell said, "I want to see a political party on the other side of the aisle that I can work with."

"I remember when Congress used to work because the Republicans used to cooperate," he said.

Steele said, "If you want to end the partisan gridlock in Congress, send me to Washington, D.C. — I'm not a politician."

There was laughter from the crowd when Dingell replied that it was the first time he had heard someone say "the solution to the problem was to send someone who doesn't know anything about it."

On allowing gays to openly join the military and ending the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, Steele said he would follow the advice of military leadership and would support whatever decision it made.

Dingell said, "I see no reason why a citizen should be denied the right to serve their country."

In his closing remarks, Dingell said, "Dr. Steele, you are uttering the exact thoughts of those who were saying they would privatize Social Security," and urged Steele to tell the audience which particular parts of the health care bill he would want to see eliminated.

Steele responded, "If you had accepted more debates, we would have been able to discuss those things."

Steele said he has accepted debate requests from the Southern Wayne County Chamber of Commerce and the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Chamber of Commerce. So far, Dingell, D-Dearborn, has not agreed to those debates.

Steele again attempted to use his political inexperience to his advantage by saying, "You need to vote for me, not the career politician who's had 55 years to fix these problems."

Rae Calvin, of Carrollton, Michigan, said she was impressed with Steele's performance in the debate.

"I thought Steele won, but I like him better," Calvin said. "Dingell's been (in Congress) way too long."

Calvin said if she wasn't a Steele supporter before the debate, the event "swung" her "the rest of the way."

"I've been a Democrat all my life, until now," she said. "I'm not a Democrat anymore."

John Bendzick, of Dearborn, said he thought Dingell won the debate.

"I just felt that the substance related to Dr. Steele was much lacking," Bendzick said. "I'm just walking out of here a little on the numb side."

"Mr. Dingell is far more prepared (to spend the next two years in Congress). ... Dr. Steele, he might be a good doctor, but he needs to spend the next two years practicing medicine in Ann Arbor."

Heather Lockwood can be reached at


Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball

Sat, Oct 30, 2010 : 8:12 a.m.

And again Dingle gets hit...


Sun, Oct 24, 2010 : 5:32 p.m.

Unfortunately if you are a member of any special interest group you pretty much have to vote Democrat. It's amazing how a party can call itself pro jobs, yet put in place policies that are job killers.


Sat, Oct 23, 2010 : 9:10 a.m.

I wish Rob would check on the fact that Dingell wanted to add!.00 to our gas pumps. Just for starters. He has to retire. Marilyn Freeman 48051


Fri, Oct 22, 2010 : 2:56 p.m.

Can someone please explain why Dingell's words and cute phrases that he keeps repeating doesn't match his actions? When Dingell says he wants to protect social security, but yet votes to allow the government to raid social security and put it into the general funds what are we to believe? His words, or his actions? When Dingell says he wants to hold the government accountable and live within its means, but yet votes to spend us into debt repeatedly, what are we to believe? His words or his actions? When Dingell says he is powerful and most respected in Washington, but yet gets kicked off as chairman and no longer holds any key positions and only brings back.80 on every dollar we send to Washington, what are we to believe? His words, or his actions? When Dingell states that our health insurance premiums will go down, but yet Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services, publicly announces that our premiums will go up because of the new health care law,what do you believe? His words or the action?


Fri, Oct 22, 2010 : 1:49 p.m.

What?! Clinton slowed down the national debt? Maybe that's because he had a Republican congress for the last 6 years he was in power. Congress controls the purse strings. Yes, spending money solves everything. We spend more on our schools than any other country and our schools are maybe 30th best in the world. On the other hand our universities are among the best in the world. What's the difference? First, universities have to compete for money and for students. Second, people have to pay their own way to go to the universities. The Debate is over. I win. Now go vote for Dr. Rob Steele.


Fri, Oct 22, 2010 : 1:30 p.m.

To all the financial doom sayers, there is $43 trillion in the Social Security fund. With two wars going, it costs us $1m per day for each soldier in the field. The Republican presidents starting with Reagan put more money onto the national debt than any of the Democratic presidents, Clinton even slowed down the rise of the national debt. W put the national debt into the stratosphere. Obama inherited the whole mess but takes all the blame. For all of the conspiracy theorists. The large health care companies are spending around $44M to elect Republicans to get rid of the ACA. There must be something in the ACA that they don't like which means that it might benefit you and me and not the fat cats in health care. We need to spend more in educating our kids, that money could easily come from us ceasing to be the policeman of the world. Dingell got us $14M for the bridge. He wins the debate.


Fri, Oct 22, 2010 : 8:24 a.m.

I was at the debate. Unfortunately, Dingell's answer to many of the questions were to spend more money to fix the problem. For an example, when it came to public education, Dingell's answer was we need to spend more money. Dingell has done that for 55 years and the problems still aren't fixed. It's time for new ideas. Bochum, you may have been at the debate, but it is clear you weren't listening since you made this statement: "Steele denied wanting to privatize Social Security, then described doing just that." Steele did not say he wants to privatize Social Security. Matter in fact, at the debate he said Dingell and his ads are lying. Dr. Steele went on to say what he wants to do is those that are under a certain age, like 35, they take part of the social security and put it into a seperate government run account that can not be raided by the government. Unlike Dingell, who voted to allow the government to raid our social security back in 1960's and put the money into the general funds. I have read the insurance bill, and you would be amazed as to what is in it. Did you know in the health care bill, doctors are now required to calculate the body mass index for each patient and report it to certain government agencies? By the year 2014, it is required for everyone to use an electronic health record for each person in the United States that "includes specific objectives, milestone, and metrics." There are so many other little "gems" in the Health Care bill that would truly amaze and shock you.


Fri, Oct 22, 2010 : 7:50 a.m.

Right Nobody has read the healthcare bill. It is so long and convoluded. But people have read enough to know it's a disaster. costs are going up again this year. It's actually worse than single payer (universal) healthcare.


Fri, Oct 22, 2010 : 5:06 a.m.

Inside the Hall, if you were inside the hall during the debate, then you heard Dingell say it was and you did not hear Steele or anyone since dispute that. I did not read the law (God help those with nothing better to do but read thousands of pages of laws), but odds are nobody commenting on this board has.


Thu, Oct 21, 2010 : 8:10 p.m.

For someone who claims to be full of new ideas...Steele's website looks exactly like the Obama Campaign of 2008...hmmmm.


Thu, Oct 21, 2010 : 4:57 p.m.

I was at the debate, and I think the article is slightly biased in Dingell's favor, but overall OK. Dr. Steele is a younger, sharper man, but I think Mr. Dingell did fine for being 85 yers old.... even though he probably took 3 Geritols to pull it off. One statement John Dingell made during the debate: " We have created 67,000 manufacturing jobs in Michihan in August of this year." Realllyyy????? I have no idea where these jobs are... that statement went unchallenged. At the end of the debate, I felt like we only started to scratch the surface.the rules and talking times were so restrictive. What I would really like to see, but I doubt Mr. Dingell would agree a gloves off, 2 hour debate on Obama-Care. Afterall, this is John Dingell's baby: he's wanted it for 25 years. Obviously Dr. Steele thinks the whole thing is a debacle. Come on, Mr. about it????


Thu, Oct 21, 2010 : 2:09 p.m.

Bochum: Please direct us to exactly where in the Obamacare legislation tort reform is addressed. We anxiously await your detailed response.


Thu, Oct 21, 2010 : 1:50 p.m.

I was at the debate, and John Dingell clearly was better prepared on the issues than Robert Steele. Three times, Dingell asked what would Steele change about health care reform: opening statement, during a question on health care reform, and closing statement. Pathetically, after the third time (and ignoring the first two) Steele whined that he couldn't answer because there was only one debate and he was out of time. Steele denied wanting to privatize Social Security, then described doing just that. He had no clue about Cuba, Afghanistan, or China (his answer about China was that they should grow their economy faster, as if they weren't already exploding fastest in the world). Best of all, he said he would do something about tort reform and did not know that it was addressed in the health care reform bill he said he was completely against! Like the one guy said in the article, Steele needs to go back to being a doctor. I would agree that a few Steele people chanted his name after the debate, but it is funny they would try to pretend it was some mass opinion change being voiced. Are they really that desperate?


Thu, Oct 21, 2010 : 9:58 a.m.

This is ubelieveable. What does it take for people to see the light? Dingell has talked a nice pandering game for 55 years. But the facts are the facts. He does not bring back to Michigan anything near what we put in. Plus, Michigan and the Detroit area have been in decline since not long after he got there. Government can't give us EVERYTHING. Has anyone seen the riots in France going on right now, or the fact that Greece went broke this summer? Folks that is what we are heading toward. Maybe not tomorrow or next year but give it 5 or 10 years and we are there. Dingell wants to spend spend spend because he cares about people. Tell me people, you al car about your kids. But do you give them EVERYTHING they as for? NO, because it will ruin them and make them forever dependent on you. As for where Dr. Steele's kids go to school, I believe AA has school choice. But besides that, when has John Dingell ever lived in or gone to school in Michigan? Never.


Thu, Oct 21, 2010 : 9:41 a.m.

"Dr. Steele will deny access to medical care to children and to 30 million presently uninsured citizens who will be covered by the legislation." Where has Dr. Steele said this? Common sense dictates that when companies are required to add benefits by the government then costs will go up. If you buy a car and add leather seats and power windows, that will drive the cost up. No matter how many cars are bought. It's quite simple, really. And when Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services writes a letter acknowledging the fact that because of the new law requiring carriers to add benefits premiums will go up, you know what a debacle the health care bill really is. HSA's don't supplement health care insurance. Companies like AFLAC supplement health care insurance. People seem to forget that Dingell was once a "freshman", was once new in congress too. So the whole Steele is inexperienced argument doesn't fly. It is true, people like Dingell passes laws that the rest of us have to live by, but they exempt in point, the health care law. Dingell had 55 years to cut back spending, balance the budget and he has failed. He is an out of control spending bureaucrat. He is out of touch reality. Again, at the debate he had no new ideas. His idea to fix the mess that we are in now is to spend more money! Excuse me, but that is how we got into this mess in the first place!

David Briegel

Thu, Oct 21, 2010 : 9:35 a.m.

GreggyD, That is exactly why we need single payer!! Dr. Steele would be asked to lead. That means he would have to take positions. Why won't he now? DADT? 5 second pauses! Veracity, Excellent post! These attacks on Mr Dingell's age don't square with what I have observed. He has a sharp mind and command of the issues. Dr Steele would have to have on the job training to learn how Congress operates as well as the issues. Dr. Steele does know what is best for womens health. Mr. Dingell would trust women to make their own decisions!


Thu, Oct 21, 2010 : 9:12 a.m.

"Essentially, Dr. Steele states that it is every individual's responsibility to find a way to pay for medical care. " As well it should be. "Dr. Steele's web-site proudly proclaims his membership in the NRA" And the problem with this is?

just a homeowner

Thu, Oct 21, 2010 : 9:10 a.m.

Rob Steele is a wealthy doctor who doesn't like health care reform? Shocking! He and his wife are both physicians and both enjoy big salaries thanks to the high cost of health care.

Andrew Linko

Thu, Oct 21, 2010 : 9:05 a.m.

The facts are, President Obama like him or not, will be President for three more years. A Congressman Steele winning on repealing health care reform, a primary goal of the President's will not give Steele any accolades or time. Steele stated last night he despises politicians cutting deals in a back room. I'm selfish, a Congressman Dingell will receive funds, and will be able to deliver for this district. A Congressman Steele will be a freshman, a lame duck, not being able even if his party had a majority in one body of the legislature, to bring anything to the residents of the 15th District. This is not speculation, not politics, but the facts. I am not wasting my vote for 2 years of nothing, I will vote for Dingell who has and always will deliver for his constituents, and the municipal government leaders!


Thu, Oct 21, 2010 : 8:59 a.m.

As a physician I am appalled by Rob Steele's intention to reverse the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and with no plan for an improved replacement. Dr. Steele will deny access to medical care to children and to 30 million presently uninsured citizens who will be covered by the legislation. He will allow insurance companies to continue denying medical care coverage for preexisting and newly developed medical conditions. Meanwhile the insurance companies will continue to increase premiums and have indicated their intention to raise premiums another 14% next year. How many more citizens will be unable to afford medical care? Under "Issues" on his web-site Dr. Steele states his fix for our medical care debacle: "Healthcare: Consumer choice and responsibility, price transparency, equal tax treatment of the employed and self employed, in combination with Health Savings Accounts, are more cost effective for the patient and providers. Many of these principles have kept the health care costs in my own business flat for the past 5 years." Essentially, Dr. Steele states that it is every individual's responsibility to find a way to pay for medical care. He recommends HSA's, which already exist. HSA's are designed to supplement health care insurance and will not provide for sustained medical care by itself. Dr. Steele brags that his clinic has kept costs flat over the past 5 years and suggests that he can do the same with America's health care. However, he does not state whether his clinic has raised its health care charges over the last half-decade and whether he recognizes the annual double digit rise in health care premiums to citizens. His clinic is guaranteed payment for service by the following proviso found on his clinic's website, "Payment for services is due in full at the time the service is rendered. If you have health insurance that Michigan Heart PC has a participation agreement with, such as Medicare, Blue Cross, Priority Health or others, we will submit a claim to that insurance carrier. You will need to pay the authorized co-payment at the time of service." Dr. Steele extols his lack of government legislative knowledge as a reason to vote for him. However, if Rob Steele said that he wants to repair the mechanical problem with your car even though he was not an auto mechanic, would you want to allow him to work on your vehicle? Dr. Steele has misleading statements on his web-site such as "The government is not required to abide by all the laws that apply to any normal business, most importantly accounting practices." Apparently, Dr. Steele is not aware of the GAO (Governement Accounting Office) and the Office of the Inspector General. Dr. Steele wishes more transparency in government and states on his web-site that "the bills.... need to be posted publicly a week before voting." Again, Dr. Steele appears unaware of a number of on-line Internet sites which list and follow the progress of every bill introduced by Congress, including which is comprehensive. Dr. Steele's web-site is devoid of any suggestions for increasing employment in Michigan. Dr. Steele's web-site proudly proclaims his membership in the NRA and his endorsement by Michigan Right-to-Life. Dr. Steele should remain as a cardiologist in Ann Arbor, doing what he knows, rather than trying to move to Washington, DC so he can attempt doing what he does not know. If Rob Steele becomes a Congressman he will be dependent on knowledgeable career politicians in order to function. Essentially you can expect him to be a pawn for the Republican right wing.

Andrew Linko

Thu, Oct 21, 2010 : 8:57 a.m.

Rob Steele was a broken record with no details. Career politician, Career politician, career politician, no answers. Then he stated we will not send money to Washington as it is a cesspool and you will never see your money. But when speaking of National Security, he stated we are under average on spending. $1 trillion spent on Iraq and XE Services, LLC, aka Blackawater, aka Betsy Devoss's family receives unaccounted amounts of tax dollars and are jeopardizing the security of our troops, our other contractors, this is what Steele and his party support?


Thu, Oct 21, 2010 : 8:53 a.m.

resnonverba, I've heard that parents sometimes will rent an apartment and use that to claim residency. Not sure it's legit but it happens. Can't believe someone running for congress would do that but hey, nothing really surprises me much anymore.

DaLast word

Thu, Oct 21, 2010 : 8:26 a.m.

John Dingle has been in this job for 150 years. Why should we believe he's going to be any more effective than he has previously. Start fresh! We've got these people's attention, lets show them who's working for who!


Thu, Oct 21, 2010 : 8:14 a.m.

John Dingell needs to be voted out of office for the following reasons. 1) Michigan with its 14% unemployement and is still a donor state. We get only 85% of what we send to Washington back. We need to keep our money. 2) Dingell offers no solutins to any of the major problems facing us. Each citizen of U.S. owes $43,000 towards the national debt, yet all of Dingell's idea requires we borrow and spend more money. 3) John Dingell and his party are in controll of Washington, yet the did not even try to pass a budget before the left town to campaign. Dingell is more interested in keeping his job than doing his job.


Thu, Oct 21, 2010 : 7:58 a.m.

"John Dingell has helped people across the country with his health and economic stimulus legislation." How has his healthcare legislation helped me? I'll tell you. I just received my benefits package outline for next year. My family deductible soared $1800. My co-pays increased 100%. My premiums increased over 30%. My coverage went down. Add this all up and it basically translates into a $4000 pay cut for me next year. $4000 that I had to put into the economy this year, but won't next year. It's time for Dingell to go.

Top Cat

Thu, Oct 21, 2010 : 7:45 a.m.

When Mr. Dingell came to Washington in 1955 the Federal deficit was $1.5 billion. Under his and his party's watch, it has grown to $1.5 trillion. That says it all, a sorry, irresponsible and incompetent record of stewardship.

Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball

Thu, Oct 21, 2010 : 7:43 a.m.

So Michigan gets back some $.83 or so on each dollar a MI taxpayer sends to the Feds. And Dingle has no answer as to why? Dingle has been in office for 55 years - and allows this to happen without a comment - Does Dingle really stand for Michigan? How much money did Michigan lose during his tenure?


Thu, Oct 21, 2010 : 7:35 a.m.

Mr. Dingell may be older and maybe he should be considering retirement, but that doesn't mean that I'm going to vote for Steele. Why do we suddenly believe that businessmen suddenly know how to run a country any better than politicians? Steele may be younger and come across as sharper, but he's spouting the same old Republican positions that I believe got us into this mess in the first place and are NOT the way out. I liked this comment: 'Dingell replied that it was the first time he had heard someone say "the solution to the problem was to send someone who doesn't know anything about it."' No thanks. I'll take my chances with Dingell for one more round.

A2 Voter

Thu, Oct 21, 2010 : 7:26 a.m.

I was at the debate last night too and I can say that this article does not accurately describe the true energy that was apparent in the debate. I thought that the debate was best summed up when Dr. Steele said to Mr. Dingell, "You had 55 years to fix this problem and two more years won't accomplish anything". Also disclosed by Dr. Steele was when he pointed out that Mr. Dingell spent 14 years as Chairman of the most powerful committee in Congress during which time Michigan only received.70 on every dollar that was sent to Washington; dispelling the myth that our Senior Michigan Delegation is bringing home the money from Washington. "The best solution is to stop sending money to Washington and keep the money in Michigan and not send it to Washington where it disappears in a black hole." It was sometimes difficult to hear Congressman Dingell's responses and when you could hear them, it was the same commercial run by Michigan politicians who brag about bringing 500 jobs to a battery plant to replace the more than 300,000 jobs have left the state. It was apparent that the audience was being swayed by Dr. Steele's answers. He received all of the applause and at the end of the debate, the crowd chanted "Rob Steele". It is unfortunate that the debate could not have been televised for the people to see the total and accurate picture of the debate because I believe the above story is NOT a true reflection of the debate I attended.


Thu, Oct 21, 2010 : 6:57 a.m.

Political Gridlock is not the issue, out of control spending is the issue!


Thu, Oct 21, 2010 : 6:56 a.m.

Reasons to oust Dingel and Mark Schauer: Beware of HR4646!!! This is a tax hike that NO one can afford!!! A tax of 1% for every and any money transaction (other than cash) that you make - that ADDS UP, doesn't it!!! So the DEMS want us to believe that they are going to relace the income tax in 7 years with this tax hike??? Another lie! Politics as usual! We have a new definition of "spread the wealth around", in this case, everybodys wealth - to pay for all the BIG government expansion under this current administration - stuff like: This massive spending bill ($1.1 TRILLION) for BIGGER government that included raising the debt ceiling to $1.5 TRILLION at the time - DINGEL, and SCHAUER voted for it!!! "


Thu, Oct 21, 2010 : 6:37 a.m.

Ms. Lockwood, this is a very well balanced article. I was at the debate last night and you did a fairly good job of reporting this debate, while avoiding any pretense of bias toward or against a candidate. Dr. Steele did a good job of presenting his position as to why the people need to vote him into office. We need new blood in Washington to fix the problems we have. Congress should be made up of citizens willing to take time from their lives, serve, and return to their lives. Government is too big and there are those in Washington who would like to see it grow even larger. Let's keep our money here in Michigan. The citizens of the United States should be trusted to live our own lives and make our own decisions. We don't need a bigger nanny-state nation.

join now

Thu, Oct 21, 2010 : 1:06 a.m.

Our President has succeeded in spite of the bi-partisan efforts to stop his agenda. Mr. Dingell has been all for the destabilization of health care, finance, and energy while creating record deficits. The Democrats have owned Congress for the past four years and collapsed the economy. We cant afford to send Mr. Dingell back. We need Dr. Steele to help the non-partisans in the house to prevent President Obama from succeeding in implementing Cap and Trade.


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 11:47 p.m.

First, the above article states that Dr. Steele is an Ann Arbor cardiologist. According to public records, and Steele's own website, Dr. Steele and his wife live in Ypsilanti. Dr. Steele's office is also in the fine Ypsilanti area. Secondly, as Dr. Steele and his wife live in Ypsilanti and the Ypsilanti School District, how is it that their children have been attending Ann Arbor Public Schools? A couple are recent graduates of Ann Arbor Pioneer. How is this possible? As I understand it, except for limited elementary grades, Ann Arbor is not a schools of choice district. How then can someone from outside the district attend ann arbor public schools? Anybody know about this? Is there a program out there that isn't publicized that allows for attending a different school district? Maybe someone from the Ann Arbor or Ypsilanti schools can help? Thanks.

Martin Church

Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 11:14 p.m.

Let's see if i get this right the man who lead the raid on Social security in the 80's wants to protect it from wall street now. just got my 401k notice. I have more money in my 401k then in Social security and I put less in over the last 15 years then I have into Social Security for the last 30 years. even after the losses of the last few years, my 401K has recovered. My job has not. Dingell voted for the deficet spending of the Geroge Bush, yet he blames bush for the deficit. He told Regan his budget was DOA and forced a closer of government when Regan said no to the congress budget. And the Budget of the Republican congress during the Clinton year that lead to so much wealth the democrats say was good. Dingel voted against. During the Bush II term it was the Democrats who said NO. So I have to ask Mr. Dingell why am I sending money to Washington so you can send 90 cents back to the community. Could it not be better to get the feds out and let us support our local community and hold the local officals accountable for it. sending it to washington gives everyone deniability.

Silent Majority

Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 11:06 p.m.

I was at the debate. I am a Dingell supporter and I'll tell you he wasn't great but he was far better than Steele. Steele had his points on spending and delivered them well, but any other issue was painful to watch. His answers on Cuba were full of 5 second he was done and then remembered he had time to say additional things. His answer on DADT was basically that he'd let someone else decide. Also, the best line of the night from Dr. Steele: "We have no pre-existing conditions in Michigan; we have Bluecross/Blueshield." Wow. He's fine ask a local candidate but Rob Steele is simply not capable of serving in Congress right now.

L. C. Burgundy

Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 10:52 p.m.

John Dingell really should have retired 2 or 4 years ago. The reality is there's a good chance, if reelected, he's going to be in a minority in the next Congress that doesn't even really want him there, if there actions in this Congress are any indication. Rob Steele is the most credible opponent that's run against Dingell in a very long time. I would respectfully suggest people consider him. You only have to sign on for two years, and I know Dr. Steele is uninterested in a 40 year stint in Congress, so you won't cede the seat for the next generation. oh, and peg, are those the same CBO projections requiring deep cuts to medicare, in the form of greatly reduced payment levels to providers? You know, the cuts Congress says they will really, really make but never, ever do, because they know the program would cave in on itself? Just making sure.

Paul Schreiber

Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 10:24 p.m.

John Dingell has helped people across the country with his health and economic stimulus legislation. He has helped the local communities he represents with federal funding for infrastructure and housing. He continues to work hard for his entire district and has the experience to get things done in Washington. While Dr. Steele has years of experience in heart surgery, I'd rather have Congressman John Dingell's legislative experience working on our behalf in Washington.


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 10:20 p.m.

I love how both sides blame each other. The real issue is the polarization of politics and it's not likely to change. Most of the extreme on both sides are bad. It's the coming together that builds the best policies, but no one does because they become fodder for their left/right leaning base or because if they break the party line they get punished (esp. on the right at this point in time where there goal is to make Obama look ineffective).

David Parker

Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 10:14 p.m.

I agree it's not age. But the dems took off chairmanship for a reason. He just not as sharp as he used to be. 55 years is long enough in my opinion. he wasn't much help to Michigan autos, etc. Steele was more articulate and if u gauge things by audience response, Steele won.

Joe Hood

Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 9:56 p.m.

@peg dash fab Come now, you have seen Congressional smoke and mirrors before I hope. Sure you can implement a cut now to something, make the picture look good and then when people scream a year or two down the road, then take back the cut. The CBO analysis fails to take account of fundamental changes in society and government the aging of the population, substantial increases in health care costs, and new federal responsibilities in areas such as homeland security, education, and prescription drug coverage for seniors. And what is the state of Social Security and Medicare? They're broke! All that money is corrupting. Stop all of that spending, get back to a limited government (and for those on that funny bandwagon, I didn't say "no government"). Take a look at American history and the Federalist papers. See that this debate has roots way before the Tea Party came along. Government is to be feared, that why we have the Constitution--to protect us from government.

David Briegel

Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 9:23 p.m.

Which part of the Health Care bill will Republicans repeal? They want to lead but won't say where! Do you remember why Dems won in 2006 and 2008? What are the Republicans proposing that is different than what got us in this ditch? What will the Orange man from Ohio do that Hastert and Delay didn't already do? Bridge to where?? What will majority leader McConnell do to make things better? Same ol', same ol'. Why would anyone trust Republicans except the billionaires that rent them?? Are you still waiting for your trickle down?? peg dash fab, Rob Steele, lie? Republicans lie? You are so on target!


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 9:13 p.m.

I find some of the comments very "ageist" what if Dingell needs to sit down...does that mean his brain can't work? Does that mean he is any less intelligent? If you are going to vote against Dingell, don't do it because he is "older" do it because you think Rob Steele is the better candidate.


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 9:11 p.m.

I got a chuckle from today's New York Times who not only reported the Chase Ingersoll episode but told of the P.R. conference Hieftje and Dingell held in front of the Stadium Bridge to announce funding from the feds. An irate motorist after observing the conference was causing a traffic tie-up yelled at Dingell to "take his dog and pony show somewhere else". The article concluded that gien such rude treatment, they did not know why Dingell did want to run again.


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 9:10 p.m.

It's really too bad that Mr. Dingell refused to participate in any more debates, even though Dr. Steele has repeatedly asked to hold them. It's clear that Dingell cannot compete in matters that affect us, the constituents; rather, Dingell is simply running on a withered legacy...


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 8:59 p.m.

Why is he even running again? Regardless - it is time for Dingell to retire. Like Carl Levin, not only did he vote for government take-over of 1/6 of the US Economy and trillion dollar budget deficits, but his best years are clearly long behind him. He's even been abandoned by his own party as Pelosi replaced him as Chair of the Energy and Commerce committee with the vile, arrogant Henry Waxman.


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 8:53 p.m.

Mr. Dingell offered nothing new in the debate. It was the same ol' story. Spend more money to fix the problems. Mr. Dingell had 55 years to hold the government accountable and he hasn't. As a matter of fact, he is part of the problem with his record spending over the past 3 years. And he's still advocating spending more money! It's a shame that Mr. Dingell doesn't want anymore debates. But now we know why, he doesn't have any new, fresh ideas. He's still pushing all of his old ideas that have not worked.


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 8:48 p.m.

Dr. Rob Steele was the clear winner of the debate. Dingell appeared feeble, mumbled and at times slurred his answers incoherently. Steele was measured and respectful of the aging Congressman. Interesting that the curtain opened with both seated and at the end the curtain closed. No standing up to shake hands making one wonder if Dingell is in good health. Dingell defended his record and remained tied firmly to the hip of Obama and Pelosi. By listening to Dingell you would think everything is fine in this country...and he kept mumbling about battery plants. Steele was sharp yet measured and hammered Dingell on run away spending, supporting Obamacare, and failing to bring home dollars to Michigan despite being one of the most "powerful" Congressman. If everyone could see the entire debate Steele wins in a landslide.

peg dash fab

Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 8:43 p.m.

Rob Steele is not stupid: he knows about the CBO analysis showing that ACA will reduce Federal expenditures. He simply chooses to lie about it.