Obamacare has been blamed for a lot of things, but blaming the health care law on the passage of a supposedly anti-gay law is one we haven't heard before.
Yet, that's what Republican Congressional Candidate Andy Tobin declared in a debate this week with Democratic Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick, as the candidates were given the opportunity to question each other, and Kirkpatrick went after Tobin's support of Arizona's Senate Bill 1062.
"That bill wouldn't have been necessary if it wasn't for Obamacare, because it looked for protections of the First Amendment, and that was the reason, because you hadn't seen it before," Tobin said of the bill.
What on God's green earth does that even mean? We couldn't tell you, as Tobin's campaign manager didn't return New Times' call seeking an explanation.
Tobin's answer is important -- or should have been -- as SB 1062 undoubtedly became the most controversial bill in Arizona since the immigrant-hunting law SB 1070, as citizens showed up at the capitol in droves to protest 1062 for being anti-gay.
The bill would have expanded the rights of businesses to make exercise-of-religion claims in court. Tobin, who voted in favor of 1062, has explained that the bill was needed as a response to something that happened in New Mexico, in which a wedding photographer got in some legal trouble for refusing to photograph a lesbian couple's wedding. The thought by 1062 proponents was that the bill would give the photographer a defense of exercising a "sincerely held religious belief," if that were an Arizona case.
Tobin's vote and explanation could be important now as he's engaged in one of the few congressional races in Arizona that's remotely competitive. Notice how he distanced himself from the bill in the debate.
"I wasn't at the table when that bill was being negotiated, but I think they left a large part of the community out that should've had more input in that bill," Tobin said.
Democrat groups, including the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, have hammered Tobin on the issue, and alleged -- with support from media reports -- that Tobin was heavily involved in the bill's passage.
For CD-1 voters (and anyone else), check out the entire debate below. The Obamacare/1062 moment starts around the 58:20 mark:
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