Georgia Senate Candidates Raphael Warnock and Herschel Walker Debate

When Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker debated in the already heated Georgia Senate race, all the attention was on how personal accusations against Walker would shake up the first and likely only debate of the campaign.

The allegations that Walker paid for a woman to have an abortion and then, two years later, encouraged the same woman to have the same procedure a second time were just a blip in the hour-long debate, which was mostly about Warnock’s ties to President Joe Biden, the big differences between the two candidates on abortion, and even Walker’s use of what looked like a sheriff’s badge, even if it was only for a few seconds.

Walker continued to deny the accusations against him, calling them “lies,” while Warnock, as he has done on the campaign trail, stayed out of the controversy and instead questioned Walker’s relationship to the truth.

“We will see time and time again, as we have already seen, that my opponent has a problem with the truth,” Warnock said. “And just because he says something doesn’t mean it’s true.”

Walker used the debate to talk up his own campaign and try to tie Warnock to Biden, who was brought up early and often. In the last few seconds of the debate, he took a shot at Warnock and Biden to show voters who were on the fence that he was ready to serve.

“For those of you who are concerned about voting for me, a non-politician, I want you to think about the damage politicians like Joe Biden and Raphael Warnock have done to this country,” Walker said.

Here are five things we learned from the debate on Friday:

Walker Tries to Bring Biden to the Stage

Biden wasn’t there Friday night, but Walker tried over and over to make people think that the Democratic President and his Democratic opponent were there.

From the beginning of the event, Herschel Walker kept bringing up Biden in an attempt to link his Democratic opponent to the low approval ratings of the President.

“This race isn’t about me. It is about what Raphael Warnock and Joe Biden have done to you and your family,” Walker said at the top of the debate.

Later, when he was asked about voter fraud in the 2020 election, he said, “Did President Biden win? President Biden won, and Sen. Warnock won. I chose to run because of this.”

He then synthesized his point: “I am running because he and Joe Biden are the same.”

Warnock didn’t do much to separate himself from Biden. Sometimes, he even talked up the laws he passed with the help of the President. But when asked about foreign policy, he chose to talk about a time when he stood up to the Biden administration.

“I am glad we are standing up to Putin’s aggression and we have to continue to stand up, which is why I stood up to the Biden administration when it suggested we should close the Savanah Combat Readiness Training Center,” Warnock said. “I told the President that was the exact wrong thing to do at the exact wrong time. … We kept that training centre open.”

Walker replied by going back to his message: “He didn’t stand up. He had laid down every time it came around.”

“It is evident,” said a somewhat irritated Warnock, “that he has a point that he tried to make time and time again.”

“That is a Lie”

Before the debate, everyone was interested in how Walker and, to a lesser extent, Warnock would respond to the claim that Walker paid for a woman to have an abortion and then, two years later, pushed the same woman to have the same procedure a second time.

While the charges shook up an already heated Senate race, Walker did what he always does: he called it a lie.

“As I said, that is a lie,” Walker said in reply to a question from the moderator. “I put it in a book, one thing about my life, I have been very transparent. Not like the senator, he has hid things.”

Walker added: “I said that is a lie and I am not backing down. And we have Sen. Warnock, people that would do anything and say anything for this seat. But I am not going to back down.”

As he has done in the past, Warnock did not respond to the accusations. Instead, he let Walker fight them off instead of pushing them himself.

Instead, the senator took a broader view, focusing on Walker’s “problem with the truth” and less on the specific allegations.

Abortion Was a Point of Contention

The candidates also had disagreements about abortion rights in general. Walker insisted, contrary to what he had said in the past, that he did not support a federal ban and pointed to the state’s strict “heartbeat” law. The law says that abortions are illegal as soon as early heart activity can be seen. This can happen as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, which is before many women even know they are pregnant.

“On abortion, I’m a Christian. I believe in life. Georgia is a state that respects life,” Walker said. Georgia law allows for exceptions in cases of rape or incest, as long as a police report is filed on time, and in some cases where the health of the pregnant person is at risk.

Before Roe v. Wade was overturned by the Supreme Court, state law let abortions happen up to 20 weeks.

Raphael Warnock and Herschel Walker Debate Abortion Was a Point of Contention
Raphael Warnock and Herschel Walker Debate Abortion Was a Point of Contention

Warnock, who supports abortion rights, repeated an argument he has made on the campaign trail: “A patient’s room is too narrow, small, and cramped for a woman, her doctor, and the US government…  I trust women more than I trust politicians.”

Walker then shot back, bringing up Warnock’s support for the Black Lives Matter movement against police brutality.

“He told me Black lives matter… If Black lives matter, why are you not protecting those babies? And instead of aborting those babies, why aren’t you baptising those babies?” Walker said.

Warnock didn’t directly answer Walker’s question, as he had done all through the debate. Instead, he kept saying the same thing. “There are enough politicians piling into the rooms of patients,” the senator said, “and I don’t plan to join them.”

Warnock argues for expanding Medicaid, but Walker isn’t sure what to do.

Georgia is one of 12 states that did not expand Medicaid, so about 1.5 million of its residents do not have health insurance. Walker started a confusing non-answer when the moderator asked him if the federal government should step in to make sure everyone has access to health care.

“Well, right now, people have coverage for health care. It’s according to what type of coverage do you want. Because if you have an able-bodied job, you’re going to have health care,” he said. “But everyone else – have health care is the type of health care you’re going to get. And I think that is the problem.”

Walker went on to say that Warnock wants people to “depend on the government,” while he wants people to “get off the government health care and get on the health care he’s got.” As a US Senator, Warnock is covered by a government health care plan.

Walker also gave a strange answer to Warnock’s criticism of him for not wanting the government to cap the price of insulin for diabetics.

“I believe in reducing insulin, but at the same time, you have to eat right,” Walker said. “Unless you have eating right, insulin is doing you no good. So you have to get food prices down and you got to get gas prices down so they can go and get insulin.”

Warnock replied by telling viewers who need the drug that Walker was, in effect, blaming them for their problems getting it. When Warnock said he would close the Medicaid gap, someone asked him how he would pay for it.

“This is not a theoretical issue for me,” he said, telling the story of a nurse in a trauma ward who lost insurance when she got sick and died “for lack of health care.”

“Georgia needs to expand Medicaid,” Warnock continued. “It costs us more not to expand. What we’re doing right now is we’re subsidising health care in other states” – a reference to the state’s refusal to receive federal funds that residents already pay into.

“You have a Prop”

When Walker pulled out what looked like a police badge, he briefly stopped the discussion about Warnock’s support for the police. The senator had been talking about how he liked laws that helped smaller departments.

The moderator quickly told Walker that he couldn’t bring anything onstage with him. “You have a prop,” the moderator said in surprise. “That is not allowed, sir.”

Moments earlier, Warnock said that Walker “has a problem with the truth” in response to Walker’s claims that he has “called (police officers) names” and caused “morale” to drop.

Warnock then hit Walker with a reference to a police report from more than 20 years ago in which the Republican talked about exchanging gunfire with police and then making a false claim that he had worked as a police officer.

“One thing that I haven’t done is I haven’t pretended to be a police officer and I’ve never, ever threatened a shootout with police,” he said.

Warnock also said that his support for giving police more scrutiny didn’t mean he didn’t support the law.

“You can support police officers, as I’ve done, through the COPS programme, through the invest-to-protect programme, while at the same time, holding police officers, like all professions, accountable,” he said.

Follow us only on Lee Daily for more news like this.

Leave a Comment