Kerrey breaks for middle, as Fischer seeks the outside
August 26th, 2012
Grand Island, NE – The main event Saturday at the Nebraska State Fair was in the political arena. Nebraska’s Senate race could impact the balance of control in Washington, and the candidates met for their first debate in Grand Island.
In the 90-minute debate at the Heartland Events Center, Republican state senator Deb Fischer positioned herself as a political outsider who would bring a new direction to Washington politics. “Nebraskans have said enough,” Fischer said. “Enough spending. Enough debt. And enough taxes on the middle class. Nebraskans want to see a change.”
Former Democratic U.S. Senator Bob Kerrey, meanwhile, set out to claim territory in the middle of the political spectrum. “I promise you,” Kerrey said, “I will shake up Washington D.C., change the rules of Congress, reduce the influence of special interest money.”
“I promise you I will challenge Harry Reid as often as I annoy Mitch McConnell.”
Kerrey was often on the offensive in the debate including on the budget, where he suggested two ideas supported by Fischer don’t match: one to cap government spending at 18% of GDP, the other to reform Social Security and Medicare only for those under 40 years old.
“You’ve got to look at the numbers,” Kerrey said. “Because you’re not going to be able to say, ‘Well, everybody over 40 is not going to be hurt.’”
“Medicare beneficiaries in Nebraska are going to feel the pain of that if you go to 18%, I promise you,” he said. “You can’t do it any other way.”
Kerrey supports the bipartisan Simpson Bowles deficit plan, which Fischer said would raise taxes on the middle class.
“When you talk about the high end, it only hits the high end of the middle class,” Fischer said. “These people out here from rural Nebraska, these small business owners, these people in agriculture – that is the high end.”
Two names that were mostly absent from the debate were Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, although Fischer did repeat a pledge to repeal Obamacare and Kerrey endorsed a proposal from Romney to offer a path to legal status for undocumented immigrants who serve in the military.
More debates between Fischer and Kerrey are possible, but no more have yet been scheduled.
Editorial Note: Check back with KVNONEWS.COM for more news on the debate. NET News’ Grant Gerlock will take a closer look Monday at the candidates’ positions on the central issue of agriculture.
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