District 9 candidates gather for first debate

Someone put Republican Mark White in the middle leaving Democrat Steve Cohen and Independent Jake Ford on either sides of the table and on either sides of some issues.

Cohen says, "I'm 100% against writing discrimination into the constitution."

Ford says, "I somewhat resent Mr. Cohen's connection between gay rights and civil rights.  I think that is an issue that is like apples and oranges."

The first meeting of these three minds was mostly mild.

Mark White complained about Memphis City Schools and talked about the need for tougher immigration policies.

White says, "We have got to protect our borders.  A country without borders is not a country."

But the debate drew attention to these two.

Cohen was wearing a Harold Ford Jr. sticker.

And Jake Ford is trying to break into elective office.

Repeatedly, Ford was unable to answer questions.

"I don't know the solution right now.  I don't have the answer right now.  I want to go to Congress to learn," says Ford.

Ford continues, "I have not read the entire patriot act.  But one of the things I am certain of is that yes, we must pass it."

"You would almost have to know a lot about the system itself and at this time I do not have all of the answers here," continues Ford.

When the moderator asked about ethics, Ford had to answer first.

Ford says, "People are always going to find a way in order to advance their agendas.  And certainly, we need watchdogs and protection agencies."

No mention was made of the FBI Operation TN Waltz, which led to his uncle's indictment on bribery charges.  Cohen talked around it.

Cohen says, "People are so turned off to government and they're turned off because of rocky top and people who take money and say they're the deal makers and give me the money."

And White put it simply.

White says, "No lying.  No cheating.  No stealing.  The last time I checked we'd taken it out of our schoolrooms."

At the very least, the debate hinted at an interesting race ahead.