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. Nebraskaâ€™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. â€œNebraskans have said enough,â€ Fischer said. â€œEnough spending. Enough debt. And enough taxes on the middle class. Nebraskans want to see a change.â€
Former Democratic U.S. Senator Bob Kerrey, meanwhile, set out to claim territory in the middle of the political spectrum. â€œI promise you,â€ Kerrey said, â€œI will shake up Washington D.C., change the rules of Congress, reduce the influence of special interest money.â€
â€œI promise you I will challenge Harry Reid as often as I annoy Mitch McConnell.â€
Kerrey was often on the offensive in the debate including on the budget, where he suggested two ideas supported by Fischer donâ€™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.
â€œYouâ€™ve got to look at the numbers,â€ Kerrey said. â€œBecause youâ€™re not going to be able to say, â€˜Well, everybody over 40 is not going to be hurt.â€™â€
â€œMedicare beneficiaries in Nebraska are going to feel the pain of that if you go to 18%, I promise you,â€ he said. â€œYou canâ€™t do it any other way.â€
Kerrey supports the bipartisan Simpson Bowles deficit plan, which Fischer said would raise taxes on the middle class.
â€œWhen you talk about the high end, it only hits the high end of the middle class,â€ Fischer said. â€œThese people out here from rural Nebraska, these small business owners, these people in agriculture – that is the high end.â€
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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