Hawks vs. Noem—The First Debate!

Now for the real debate: Rep. Paula Hawks versus Rep. Kristi Noem! Our Democratic challenger took on our Republican incumbent in front of the Sioux Falls Rotary Club this noon, and that Sioux Falls paper does us the favor of sharing the video. Watch and analyze!

Commentariat, I have letters to write, so I’m giving you first crack at the punditry! Fire away… and be specific!

39 Responses to Hawks vs. Noem—The First Debate!

  1. owen reitzel

    From the ACA to the national security. From Social Security to Medicare. Noem ripped into the President and sadly Hawks didn’t fight back.
    Noem told lies about Clinton letting people die in Benghazi, which have been proven wrong. Hawks could have and should have said that but didn’t. Hawks should have said that Clinton came to Congress for more money for security and the Republicans turned her down. Paula should have brought this up and didn’t.
    Noem states she’s still supporting Trump, even though he’s a sexual harasser. Noem is putting political party over decency.
    Paula has to get tougher in the next debate.

  2. Roger Cornelius

    Absolutely agree Owen.
    The headline here is that Noem has confirmed her support for a sexual predator. She has daughters for God’s sake, how can she take that so lightly?
    As Owen said, Noem was able to freely criticize President Obama without a adequate response. Paula could have easily reminded Noem that President Obama is not running for reelection.
    Should Paula and Noem debate again Paula needs to pull out the guns and get aggressive with Noem and remind her that she continues to be the problem in Washington and that her obstructionist congress has only a 7% approval rating while President Obama has reached his historic high of 55%.
    I understand that Paula has to tread carefully in a republican dominated state, but there are practically ways to answer Noem.
    In other words, Paula needs to take on Noem the same way Hillary spanked Trump last night.

  3. owen reitzel

    I’d also ask what she meant when she said her grandmother stated we lived through WWII and Jimmy Carter?
    Paula could have come back and said that the country barely survived George W Bush and the President has come very close to fixing those problems-despite the obstructionist in Congress like Noem.

    Paula has to give people reasons to vote for her. She just can’t “agree” with everything Noem says.
    The reasons are right there for the taking. That’s what was frustrating watching the debate.

  4. I watched live in Sioux Falls and generally agree that more “punch” was warranted from a challenger, BUT it’s worth pointing out that (not included on the video from the AL) the moderator was crystal clear that he wished only to hear substantive examples of each candidate’s policy stances and that he specifically did not wish to hear any criticisms of the other candidate. Plenty of room, I think, to argue whether that’s a useful set of parameters, but it’s fair to say that Paula was just “following the rules” by not using any of her extremely brief 1- (sometimes 2-)minute responses to point out Noem’s flaws. Hopefully, next time, the parameters of the debate will allow for more tough talk about why we can’t send Noem back to DC.

  5. So the Trump supporter came out to debate.

  6. mike from iowa

    the moderator was crystal clear that he wished only to hear substantive examples of each candidate’s policy stances and that he specifically did not wish to hear any criticisms of the other candidate.

    Sounds like a wingnut pre-condition of not allowing criticism. Like to see Noem go full-frontal Drumpf and get hauled out in a strait-jacket.

  7. I must say that they both have different but interesting views, just as they are both very pretty young ladies with smarts. I think I like Ms. Hawks short haircut better because it seems like Ms. Noem has had that same haircut for a very long time. I think Ms. Noem has a much deeper understanding of the politics issues and things that are really happening in Washington and can navigate that world much better, but while less sophisticated Ms. Hawks surely would try hard but is in over her head. I think Ms. Hawks might be smarter than some give her credit for, though.

  8. Mr. C, perhaps you were avoiding the insane crowds at Talleys this morning, so I did not get to speak to you there. I suppose the holiday really brought out a lot of breakfasters on such a nice day. I myself had to sit outside but was at least in the sun since my usual table was taken by some people who were sure eating slow.

    I did not get to see the debate last night because there was a football game on, but you are the first person who said Hillary spanked on Mr. Trump. My first wonder is if he actually liked it or not.

  9. owen reitzel

    both tw and mfi are right. But Noem criticized the President on almost every question. Paula should have been able to respond to that-especially when Noem was lying.

    But you knew this Rotary Club was biased when the moderator said the economy is stagnant. It’s not

  10. The economy isn’t stagnant, Mr. reitzel? You must be analyzing different stats than the rest of the world. I bet you the legislatures will soon be decrying another recession. It is less than stagnant, sir.

  11. mike from iowa

    The economy might have been booming w/o having all that dead weight, wingnut obstructionism dragging behind. Having said that, even if the economy were stagnant, that is still light years beyond dumbass dubya’s economy left in the toilet.

  12. owen reitzel

    unemployment down, stock market up. Seems to be jobs around. compare it to 2008 Grudz.
    and mfi is right. The economy is way beyond 2008 nd witout the help of Mrs. NOem

  13. Don Coyote

    The stock market is up due to the machinations of the Federal Reserve. With interest rates at zero there is really no place to invest $$$ and expect any kind of return. As soon Yellen starts to move the needle on interest rates (most likely after the election), you’ll see the market start to swoon.

    And why wouldn’t you see jobs with a record of 95M missing from the Labor Force and only 49% with jobs.

  14. Joe Nelson

    I watched this online, so I was curious why there was no criticism of the other candidate; thanks for the commentators for pointing out why.

    First, to put on my Toastmasters hat, Rep. Noem was a far better speaker than Rep, Hawk; far less “ums”, “you knows”, and false starts (repeating words in succession).

    Okay, that hat off.

    I thought both were intelligent, and prepared for the debate. Each handled the questions posed well, with the exception of Hawks on the 2nd amendment question; she sort of fumbled through, and as soon as she saw the red piece of paper, bowed out.

    Hawks and Noem seemed to agree on quite a lot of things; they say as much or nod when the other person speaks.. As an independent, Hawks did nothing to distinguish herself from Noem, the incumbent. I reckon others will think the same.

    I thought it odd that Hawks would distance herself form the Democratic party. I appreciate her putting SD first, but she seems to be a Democrat in name only. However, the topics of sexuality and abortion did not come up in the debate, which I imagine she holds different views than Noem. She even seems to be more of a Republican when it comes to environmental issues!

    If I had to base my vote solely on this debate, I would vote Noem.

  15. Grudz, I’ll lay some Rotary moderator heavy on you and say your constant references to female candidates’ appearance are not appropriate.

  16. The economy is stagnant? Did Mayor Huether hear that?

    Good grief, Coyote, next you’ll be telling me that bubble Trump talked about is real.

  17. Roger Cornelius

    Without exception, every election cycle republicans see doom and gloom and think the sky is falling.
    What they fail to see this election cycle is that it took President Obama eight long years to get it to what it is today and he pretty much did without help from across the aisle.
    Face it, our economy will never make everybody happy, but republicans want you think it is always bad, especially when Democrats are in control.
    As President Obama once said, the republicans drove the car into the ditch in 2007 and we should not hand them the keys again.

  18. Perhaps Paula needs to ask Ms. NOmer if she gets her briefings from the Russian government like the man she is gonna vote for. https://twitter.com/kurteichenwald?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

    The real story is not the dirty words from the dirty bird, it is the manipulation of our election. The stories are all out there, but like Coyote, most folks want to hear dirty words from a dirty old man or men in this case, Putin is groping us while Ms. NOem and Thune want to keep beating up on the black dude. Obama will be leaving the building.

  19. I finagled my way into the luncheon so saw the debate in person. I wish Paula Hawks could have been tougher on Noem but she did have her hands tied behind her back! I’ve heard several of her speeches and she was fired up in those! I think the other debates may give her a friendlier platform! Go, Paula!

    The most striking thing that I heard Noem say was that she was going to vote for Trump! She rescinded her endorsement of Trump after the story this weekend but then, today, she announced with no hesitation that she will vote for him because he looked the Republican tax legislation that she’s been proposing to end inheritance taxes and Trump said he’d support it!! Yeah, to benefit their own families!! She’s such a hypocrite!

    And, Grudz, Cory’s right, the candidates looks should have nothing to do with the campaign! It should be about the issues AND what they are going to do about it!

  20. Richard Schriever

    I too was disappointed in Ms. Hawks’ over-agreeableness with Ms. Noem’s several positions. The first one I heard (I agree with limiting the size and scope of the Federal Government to providing security.) made me lose enough interest to pause the whole thing for later. Please read the constitution (and I’ mean the root document – not simply the after-thought amendments) for explanation of the federal government’s other responsibilities.

  21. Richard Schriever

    clcjm – You imagined Noem ever withdrawing her support for Trump. Never happened. In addition, Daugaard, Jackley, etc. have said they will still VOTE FOR TRUMP, regardless of their calls for him to withdraw.

  22. Troy Jones

    I think both candidates did better than the people in the Presidential debates. They answered questions directly, showed a command of the issues, and didn’t get in the gutter.

    Whether those who spend time on blogs and think ideologically about every issue (I estimate 15% of the electorate sees everything exclusively for conformance to liberal ideology and the same number sees things for conformance to conservative ideology), most people regardless of political perspective want to hear the problem discussed and solved with our regard to ideology.

    Additionally, most of the issues discussed had strong SD related focus (e.g. agriculture) where there should be more agreement than disagreement.

  23. W R Old Guy

    The SDPB reporter asked both candidates after the debate if it was important for a presidential candidate to be a role model. Noem’s reply was to the effect that being a role model wasn’t important but the willingness to sign conservative legislation into law was.

    Hawks felt that being a role mode was important.

  24. Now that the Donald has declared war on Kristi’s overlords Thune and Ryan, not to mention the GOP as a whole, you have to wonder if she has changed her mind.

    Just for fun, here’s a tweetstorm from an angry and strong GOP woman.


  25. Darin Larson

    The Trumpster didn’t even listen to Chris Christie’s advice to just apologize and leave out all the extraneous material that had nothing to do with his apology. Trump is focused more on blaming Republicans now for not supporting him than he is going after Clinton or real issues. No one can control this guy or even curb his psychotic tendencies.

    “Secretary Clinton, what do you think about that?” “I think I’m going to be president.”


  26. Douglas Wiken

    Hawks and other Democrats that being Republican Lite is the way to go, just strengthen the idea in peripherally interested voters that the retrograde GOP BS is OK and if so, why vote for any Democrat for anything.

    Tepid wimpery is not a mode for winning elections. The data on Noem and the GOP can be presented without being obnoxious.

    Noem is not just a yellow-dog Republican, she is a yellow-dog and realizes that the R after her name is all that will get her re-elected.

  27. Kristi’s comment about the energy burden from the national government: If we do not continue to update and progress the use of renewable energy, we will be technologically behind and our economic opportunities of the state will continue to be “just a tax haven”. While national companies make money by South Dakota’s lax tax laws, the money does not stay in South Dakota because of the stubborn and ignorant hiccups that keep progress from happening. Cost of living will either grow in costs by rural energy use or the gentrification of urban areas. It might not be cheap to use renewable energies now, but it will become cheaper by the continued use. The conservative thought process resolves issues by being reactive, and this is clearly in need of proactive leadership.

  28. As correctly stated by clcjm at 00:41 ”she will vote for him because he looked at the Republican tax legislation that she’s been proposing to end inheritance taxes and Trump said he’d support it!! Yeah, to benefit their own families!!”
    She is getting away with that because almost everyone in South Dakota thinks it pertains to them! It will have no affect at all on most South Dakotans but by just hearing she is doing away with a tax, they will vote for her. I think it has to be somewhere in the vicinity of $5 million before the tax kicks in and that might even be per beneficiary. Probably everyone here knows, but Cory can explain that if need be. If had invested in a tax deferred investment 40 years ago, when I die, my beneficiaries would have to pay the taxes. The same as if I had invested in land, which her dad did..now is the time to pay the taxes. There are tax shields, why didn’t her family do that? She makes it sound like the IRS met them at the height of their grief while leaving the cemetery too. Which is a rear tear jerker and probably has gained many followers for her cause. The IRS does not contact beneficiaries, the family several few months to get this tax in order.
    Not only is she lacking in the understanding of tax laws, she is totally lacking in the department of raising children. She does have daughters and she should just dump that dirty old man because of that instead of playing politics with her lack of ethics. She has a son too. She needs to think about that. She needs to think about that real hard. Her great choice of president is sending the message to her son that it is ok to treat women like that and make remarks about their bodies. What would she do if she learned that her son acted that way? I get the idea she probably wouldn’t care. She believes it is not important how women are treated. The debate was not a “made for family” program.

  29. Michael Melius

    SD Public Radio aired a story about this debate today, with comments from Noem and Hawks about Ag. Noem said we can’t depend on other countries to produce food, that’s why we need a safety net. In case of bad production years. So that’s what the rationale for the Farm Program is down to for the GOP–I’ve heard Grassley of Iowa say much the same thing not long ago. Even though we’re so very, very far from not producing our own food. If Noem and Grassley believe food security is so important, where is the government’s purchase and storage of basic grains and other commodities?

    This year ag subsidy payments for the major crops went for price supports, not for production losses. (USDA just issued press release about that this month.) There’s the perversity of the current ag program, price supports without any production controls. Supposed free-marketers like Noem and Grassley should be aghast, not supporting. It means farmers are effectively discouraged from responding to market price signals to reduce production. Or at least insulated from low prices. From at least the 1950’s through the 1980’s, there were often production controls tied to farmers’ participation in farm programs, with various names like Soil Bank, Set-aside acres, ACR–even the Conservation Reserve Program functions as a production reduction.

    On the other side, Hawks said something about wanting to protect small family farms and ranches. I’d like to know how she intends to help ranchers. By extending crop-like subsidies to cattle and sheep? That would be big news. I’d like to see that, although I wonder how many ranchers would go for it–they’re very independent folk. As it stands, the current farm program definitely favors crop production over grazing as a land use. Talk about picking winners and losers in the marketplace–and both parties support this bias, while providing only tepid protection for native prairie and other grazing lands from being converted to the more profitable, subsidized cropland which adds to the surplus and attendant price supports as noted above.

  30. Troy Jones


    The rationale of FDR for the farm program was National Defense (grow our own food) and cheap food. It has been the rationale for 80 years and is the only reason members of Congress from urban districts support the Farm Bill.

  31. So Queen Kristi is a Trumpaloompa follower. Is anyone really surprised?

  32. mike from iowa

    The gubmint recently bought 11 million pounds of excess cheese ($20 million) to combat low dairy prices.

    We would be much better off if Uncle Sam spent only $20 million on defense.
    We spent $13 billion on the latest, easily destroyed aircraft carrier.

  33. NOem never surprises, she is all about the money. She is up for the Ways and Means and that means she will find ways to improve her means without doing a thing for South Dakota as always. She is not the only woman who cares little about what their female ears hear regarding sexually abusive men, here are the rest of the talk dirty to me crowd http://www.cbsnews.com/news/nebraska-senator-deb-fischer-re-endorses-donald-trump-after-tape-scandal/

  34. Troy Jones, you are absolutely correct. The problem with subsidized farming is that is was invented by FDR, a Democrat in the first degree. The rancher also gets in the programs as well, although they think themselves above the fray and would never take a government hand out. They do, they get great loan rates from the banker who is really the government, nod nod wink wink. The banker knows that the real money is getting the taxpayers to shell out more so they encourage ranchers to become farmers, break that land up and we will give you some money. Especially now as the cattle market will bust many ranchers this year with such a glut of cattle that is now coming to the market. Take a look at the markets and where replacements were on the ebb and flow of meat production. Don’t blame that onto a do nothing republican congress that passed the most bloated farm bill in history. Troy, ever the republican blame master, blames that onto a Democrat in 1933 who started a program to bring people out of a dust bowl where they herded cattle into ditches and shot them dead to bury them. South Dakota votes in republicans to continue Democrat programs that have long since stopped being useful, that is how we roll. BTW, here is the real deal that FDR put into place. What a visionary http://www.livinghistoryfarm.org/farminginthe30s/water_10.html

    I miss the old soil banks, man we had clean water, good grazing and superb hunting. Pheasant hunting around Carpenter was a special joy for me in my youth. I have never seen such an abundance of everything as I saw in those days walking those banks seeing wildlife and beauty as the bounty it provided. The taxpayers need to find a way to buy back those cattle, control the production and stop the madness. Pay the producer more for quality food rather an quantity food, pay them to take land out of production as well. That goes for ethanol as well, who ever heard of growing food to burn. Damn fools we are to believe we have to have 57 brands of Cheerios on the shelves loaded to the max with corn syrup and sugar. Maybe if we drug our fat asses out into the soil banks to chase pheasants, we would be a little more healthy.

  35. Michael Melius

    Good points, jerry. There was still some Soil Bank around when I was a kid in the 1960’s, and pheasants and other wildlife were plentiful. About ten years ago, at the peak of the Conservation Reserve acreage, pheasants were again abundant.

    My concerns arise today from my affection for native prairie. The latter is my priority now, and it’s the primary lens through which I view the farm program. I’m not sure I’d want program payments to be extended to grazing lands/ranchers, but I raise the possibility as part of a campaign to expose the bias in current programs, which is for annual crops over perennials like native prairie. It’s the government picking winners and losers in the marketplace, with bi-partisan support.

    In all the controversy over EB5 and state loans involved in the new beef packing plant in Aberdeen, I’ve wondered about the wisdom of putting it in Aberdeen, per se. That thing was being planned just as crop prices soared in 2009, and many producers in that part of the state were selling off their herds. It would have been wiser to put it west-river, say near Rapid City. But I suppose the plan for Rounds, et al, was to create new feedlots using corn and distillers grains from local farmland and ethanol plants.

  36. Troy Jones


    I wasn’t “blaming” FDR for anything. I was only replying to Michael Melius’s comment “Noem said we can’t depend on other countries to produce food, that’s why we need a safety net. In case of bad production years. So that’s what the rationale for the Farm Program is down to for the GOP–I’ve heard Grassley of Iowa say much the same thing not long ago.”

    It has been the rationale for a farm program since inception. It a rationale advocated by every Republican and Democrat from a rural state, including our own national representatives.

    If you think we should have a different rationale/goal and it will be acceptable to non-rural Members of Congress, what is it? And, get Hawks to advocate it and we’ll see what her political fortunes look like.

  37. Michael Melius

    From The Report of the Secretary, Henry C. Wallace, in the Agriculture Yearbook, 1923:

    “On the assumption that it is the national purpose to keep ourselves on a self-sustaining basis agriculturally, wisdom would seem to justify going to some trouble to help farmers bridge over a period of depression caused by an economic cataclysm. Precisely that thing has been done in the case of labor and of some industries. Those who urge that economic laws should now be permitted to have free play with agriculture do not give full consideration to what happened during the war and for two years afterwards.”

    The “economic cataclysm” referred to is price deflation for a wide range of farm crops and livestock after WWI, with wheat farmers hit esp. hard, while costs for farmers were still at high war-time levels. Farm foreclosures and out-migration from farms were up. Among the remedies Wallace proposed for wheat: Reduction of acreage, increase in the tariff, and purchase of the surplus by the Government and storing it against a time of short production and selling some at a lower price in the world market. Harvested wheat acres went from 47 million pre-war to 75 million in 1919. For comparison, in 2015 the total wheat harvest was 47 million acres. The yield per acre was probably at least 3x that of 1923 levels.

  38. Joe Nelson

    Still no blog post on this debate? Was it so lackluster to not even warrant a blog post?

  39. Believe it or not, I still haven’t found time to sit and watch the whole thing straight through. Video is so tedious—I could read and analyze a good transcript in much less time.