August 28, 2014

Gloves come off in Senate debate

U.S. Senate candidates Russ Feingold and Ron Johnson took off the boxing gloves, going after each other in a debate Monday more spirited than one held three days ago.

Feingold, the Democratic incumbent, and Johnson, the Republican challenger, met at the University of Wisconsin-Marathon County in Wausau. The format of Monday’s debate allowed the candidates to interact with each other in a free-form discussion. Their third and final debate before the election is scheduled for October 22nd in Milwaukee.

One of the more heated exchanges came in response to a question about whether businesses should be required to disclose their identities in third-party issue ads.

“I’d be happy to have them disclose,” Johnson said. “Well, then why don’t you ask them to do it?” Feingold responded. “Disclose,” Johnson said to applause from the audience.

The two candidates also sparred over health care reform. Feingold defended his vote on the law, touting benefits that include letting adult children stay on their parents’ plan until they’re 26 and banning companies from denying coverage on those with pre-existing conditions.

“The bill is a good compromise that I think brings the country forward,” Feingold said.

“We didn’t need a 2,600 page passed in the middle of the night to address the problems that do exist in our health care industry,” Johnson fired back, arguing in favor of repealing a bill that he said amounts to a government takeover and will cost the average family $2,100.

The debate covered a wide range of policy issues, including the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Social Security and promoting bipartisanship in Washington.

AUDIO: Matt Lehman-WSAU reports (:32)