Democrats debate issues days before convention - Boston News, Weather, Sports | FOX 25 | MyFoxBoston

Democrats debate issues days before convention

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 BOSTON (MyFoxBoston.com) -- Just days before the state Democratic convention, the five candidates made their final push at a debate.

The questions included everything from casinos to EBT cards to illegal immigration. Frontrunner Martha Coakley finds herself walking a fine line, trying to please party activists while also defending her record as the state's top cop.

When FOX 25 political reporter Sharman Sacchetti asked if it was a struggle for Coakley to move more to the left to please those at the convention, she responded, "Absolutely not. I've taken my positions for every office I've run based upon where I think we should be going and I'm doing the same as governor."

Perhaps, but it has made her the favorite target of Steve Grossman, who went after Coakley for her support of the controversial Secure Communities program.  

"The attorney general was a cheerleader for the Secure Communities," said Grossman.  "I think the secure communities has been demonstrated to have been a blunt instrument."

Coakley now says Secure Communities has gone too far, and blames the federal government.  

Coakley also was criticized by Juliette Kayyem for not allowing the casino question onto the November ballot.  

"When you go after banks or use the role of attorney general for something good, you always say 'I' did this.  I did this.  On this issue, it's 'we.'  'my office.'"
 
Coakley deferred to an upcoming decision by the Supreme Judicial Court, but her own answer appeared as though she was trying to have it both ways.  

"I have said that if it's on the ballot, I will personally not vote to repeal it at this stage, although I have said this kind of enterprise is not the first place I would have gone for economic development," Coakley said.

Don Berwick has positioned himself as the only candidate against casinos.  While the candidates acknowledge management problems in the current administration, none of them will heavily criticize Governor Patrick.  

When asked about how he could explain the administration's many scandals, Berwick responded, "Because I think there are management failures, as well. It's not perfect."

Even though he's barely showing in polls, Joe Avellone says he's the best candidate to beat the Republican Charlie Baker.  

"That's what the whole thing's all about, who can beat Charlie Baker in the end," said Avellone.  

The debate was sponsored by the Boston Herald and Suffolk University.  FOX 25's Sharman Sacchetti will be at the state Democratic convention on Saturday, and FOX 25 will bring you full coverage of the candidates who make it onto the primary ballot.
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