For 90 minutes Friday, three congressional hopefuls took aim at Adam
Schiff in the first of three debates between the four candidates for
the 29th District seat in the House of Representatives, painting the
incumbent as a career politician who supports war and helps expand
the scope of government.
Schiff did not take the bait, focusing on his record and his plans
for the future instead of giving direct answers to accusations from
his challengers. He portrayed himself as a moderate Democrat willing
to work with Republicans to help his district and the nation.
"I'm attacked from the left, I'm attacked from the right, and in
the form of [Libertarian candidate Ted] Brown, I'm attacked from the
right and the left," Schiff said. "I clearly took the right seat at
this table -- in the middle."
The four candidates -- Schiff, Republican Harry Scolinos, Philip
Koebel of the Green Party and Brown -- outlined different paths for
the future of both the country and the district.
The challengers, especially Scolinos and Koebel, spent most of the
time hammering Schiff.
Scolinos kept returning to one theme, that Congress needs
represen- tatives who are concerned for the district, not their
political future. He never called Schiff a career politician, but the
implication was clear.
"Problems face the country, problems face the district, and I
don't see anyone doing anything about it," Scolinos said. "We need
somebody in Washington willing to take risks."
Koebel portrayed Schiff as a Republican in disguise, pointing to
his support of the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and the global war on
terror, as well as the USA Patriot Act.
"The Republican Party is not supporting their own candidate,"
Koebel said. "They don't need to. They have their candidate that's
working for them in Adam Schiff."
Brown used the debate to push the Libertarian agenda. He focused
on reducing the scope of government and plugged other Libertarian
Schiff focused on his three-pronged plan that he calls Country,
Community, Kids. He discussed legislation he helped write in the
state Senate and the House of Representatives, including his work on
campaign finance reform and reducing nuclear proliferation.
"He's running on his record," Koebel said. "Examine his record.
Look at it closely. Your representative has so much say in your life