Read more info on the event provided by the Asheville Tea Party here.
Candidates (or their representatives) who attended the forum include Cecil Bothwell, Dan Eichenbaum, Jeff Hunt, Laurie Moody from Congressman McHenry's office, Mark Meadows, and Vance Patterson.
Cecil Bothwell says he entered politics after reporting on official corruption in public offices.
Dan Eichenbaum says he is running against the revolving door of "crooks" running the government.
Jeff Hunt says cutting the debt is his primary concern.
Mark Meadows says his experience as a businessman will make him the best candidate.
Vance Patterson says he is the tea party.
Photos by Bill Rhodes
Below is a compilation of Jake Frankel’s coverage via Twitter of the meeting. His tweets started at 1 p.m. and ended at 3:15 p.m.
• Things getting going here at 1st congressional candidate forum of the year, organized by the Avl Tea Party.
• Several GOP candidates running in the 11th District primary are here: Vance Patterson, Mark Meadows, Jeff Hunt, and Dr. Dan.
• Democrat Cecil Bothwell is also here‚ he's challenging incumbent Rep. Heath Shuler in the primary. However, Shuler is reportedly considering changing plans and running for #ncgov, which would really shake up the race.
• GOP already feels it has a good chance of taking the seat, helped by new district lines that took AVL Dems out of the district. Repubs are hoping that Shuler drops his bid. Of course, who knows what other Dems will jump in the primary if he does...
• In his introductory remarks, Bothwell blames campaign finance for corruption in politics, says he won't take money from corps.
• In his intro, Dr. Dan emphasizes Tea Party values, "freedom, liberty," says he supports gun owners' rights 100%.
• In his intro, Jeff Hunt, Hendo DA, says his most important issue is cutting the budget, cutting debt.
• Rep. Patrick McHenry of District 10, which now includes most of AVL, isn't here, but sent a campaign rep in his place. She says McHenry also thinks trimming budget is top priority, notes he voted against "every bailout."
• Next up: Jackson County businessman Mark Meadows: Touts himself as "conservative Christian," says top priority is jobs.
• Now Burke County businessman Vance Patterson: "I am the Tea Party," he says, noting he started Tea Party group in Burke.
• Jon North, publisher of the Asheville Daily Planet, is emceeing the debate, asks Bothwell about "Agenda 21"
• Bothwell: Agenda 21 is mostly a fabrication, the UN is NOT moving to take over U.S. gov as many Tea Partiers claim.
• Bothwell on jobs: It's my view that the Fed gov can help create jobs through infrastructure, transportation projects. Gov spending is a key way to improve economy, just as it was during Great Depression. I realize this goes against the "Taxed Enough Already" philosophy, but I think paying taxes is patriotic.
• Bothwell: I strongly support Obama's health care reform. It will help bring us in the right direction: a single-payer system.
• Tea Party crowd is listening politely to Bothwell, even as he argues against almost every idea they tend to support.
• Bothwell largely blames military and war spending over last decade for high deficit.
• Folks laugh at Bothwell for saying "the bailout for GM largely worked." He responds: If you don't support those jobs, fine. I do.
• Bothwell says he was against the bank bailouts, however.
• Next up, Dr. Dan of Cherokee County: Govt is infringing on our liberties and should be reigned in.
• Dr. Dan defines Agenda 21 as a strategy for the UN to take over America through "sustainable development" regulations. Dr. Dan calls Agenda 21 the single biggest threat to American freedom. Dr. Dan recently wrote in more detail about Agenda 21 and why he "condemns sustainable development: http: //t.co/PY9pJOFs
• Dr. Dan disagrees with Bothwell on gov spending during Great Depression, says it failed. Dr. Dan credits spending cuts and tax cuts with economic growth, historically. Says too much gov spending now is big problem.
• Dr. Dan on health reform: Gov can't do anything right. It won't help. Obamacare includes "death panels." It must be repealed.
• Dr. Dan: We need to shut down depts that don't work such as the Energy Dept, and freeze government hiring.
• Dr. Dan: We need to seal the border and create a business environment inhospitable to illegal immigrants looking for work.
• Now Jeff Hunt, who agrees with Bothwell on danger of NDAA to suspend habeas corpus, says it must be changed.
• Hunt: Raising taxes "damages" the private sector. Every dollar you take out of the private sector hurts jobs.
• Hunt: Reducing federal spending will help create jobs.
• Hunt: Obamacare is socialized medicine designed to put us all on medicaid. It's outrageous. It's a disaster. It was better before. Hunt promises to sponsor another bill to repeal health reform if elected.
• Hunt: We will not be America if we don't stop this deficit spending.
• After some comments from McHenry's spokeswoman, Mark Meadows takes to the lectern: We've got to protect the 1st amendment, he says.
• Meadows on Agenda 21: The words "sustainable development" might sound nice, but it's about the UN usurping national sovereignty.
• Meadows: To create jobs, gov needs to get out of the way. We should look to the private sector for answers, not govt.
• Question to Meadows: Is Obama's health reform good for America?
• Meadows: There's nothing good for America about Obamacare. We've got to repeal it, from health, and constitutional standpoints.
• Meadows on the deficit: I stand for a balanced budget amendment. We have to reign in spending and entitlements.
• We're all going to have to sacrifice as we try to make real cuts to entitlement programs, Meadows says.
• Meadows supports a fence along the Mexican border, says he wants to deport all illegals.
• Meadows: I think the most powerful country in the world is smart enough to figure out how to deport all illegal immigrants.
• Vance Patterson: Agenda 21 is the mother of all social engineering. Patterson says as congressman, he would consider hiring Dr. Dan to help lead fight against Agenda 21
• Patterson says he favors a flat tax to "spur businesses to create jobs."
• Patterson says private businesses don't yet know how Obamacare will affect them, "but it's going to be a job killer."
• Patterson agrees with all but Bothwell, that health reform should be repealed.
• Patterson: National debt is the biggest problem we face. Solution is to reduce spending, eliminate czars and depts of Ed and EPA.
• Patterson wants to reduce spending at all cabinet departments by a third.
• On immigration, Patterson wants to build a wall on the Mexican border that's "like the Great Wall of China."
• JakeFrankel And now a 15 minute break. My time here is done …
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