Tue, Feb 12, 2008 - Page 1 News List

Hsieh and Ma get back to bickering after holidays

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) and his Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) rival Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) resumed their bickering as the Lunar New Year holidays came to an end yesterday.

Hsieh accused Ma of favoring groundless attacks over formal debates, while Ma responded by saying he had agreed to a debate in September and that it was Hsieh who was indecisive.

With the Central Election Commission having planned four debates in the run-up to the presidential election next month, Ma said he was willing to do anything that would benefit the country.

Hsieh was in Kaohsiung City for a test run of the city's mass rapid transit system, a project that was championed during his term as Kaohsiung mayor.

Hsieh said the completion of the system, which was plagued by numerous problems and allegations of corruption, had proved his opponents wrong.

Later, Hsieh said Ma would be better off using the money he had spent on his presidential campaign, including for the placement of ads criticizing the DPP candidate, to pay for school lunches for orphans.

Hsieh said he would be an "ethical" president and would seek to revive the economy. He said he would address problems relating to capital, technology and manpower that hindered Taiwanese doing business in China. Hsieh said he would also make an effort to prevent the "hollowing out" of Taiwanese industries.

Ma, who was in Chiayi County, said he was there to show his support for local industries.

He said the true meaning of democracy was that Taiwanese, regardless of where they live, can choose to support whomever they wish and may change their minds at any time.

Meanwhile, representatives from both camps visited temples to canvass support.

Hsieh visited Buddhist Master Hsing Yun (星雲法師) at Foguang-shan (佛光山). The master asked Hsieh to promote Buddhism.

Hsieh said he had kept his promise to refrain from attacking Ma during the Lunar New Year holidays and would continue to mind his words and deeds.

Ma's running mate, Vincent Siew (蕭萬長), visited a temple in Taipei County yesterday.

Siew said it was good that both camps respected religion and that the temple master had blessed him because they are old friends.

Also see: First two televised presidential debates announced by CNA

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