Senate Candidates Spar Over Voting & Lobbying Records / Partly Address Issues

By John W. Davis

October 22, 2010 Updated Oct 22, 2010 at 11:46 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - Democrat Brad Ellsworth, Libertarian Rebecca Sink-Burris, and Republican Dan Coats squared off Friday night on the campus of Indiana University Purdue University Fort Wayne.

The debate was sponsored by the Indiana Debate Commission.

It was the second of three debates that were broadcast across Indiana.

All questions were submitted by Hoosiers.

Indiana Debate Commission President Dennis Ryerson said the debate was set up so the candidates would talk about issues that matter to voters.

However, Dan Coats threw political jabs about Ellsworth's congressional voting record.

Meanwhile, Brad Ellsworth counter punched about Coats' past job as Washington D.C. lobbyist.

11 questions were addressed during the hour long forum.

Each candidate was given approximately :90 seconds to answers.

The topics were: Fair Tax, War on Terror, Disabilities For Veterans, Bailouts, Health Care Legislation, Water & Sewer Infrastructure, Clean Energy, Campaign Finance Reform, Gay Rights, Negative & Partisan Campaigning.

Throughout the debate, the candidates weighed in on the economy.

Libertarian Rebecca Sink-Burris said she is in favor of a Fair Tax, which means Hoosiers would only pay federal taxes on new goods and services.

Republican Dan Coats said we need to go in a new direction, because the government always messes up when they try to fix the economy.

Democrat Brad Ellsworth said when he voted for the bailouts, it was drastic times.

But he wants to implement new financial regulations, so another bailout does not happen again.

Meanwhile, Andrew Simmons of Fort Wayne asked the final question on Friday's debate.

Simmons said he has become frustrated with negative and partisan campaigning.

He wanted to know why the senate candidates are not strictly focusing on ideas, and why they are the best candidate to represent Hoosiers.

"I think what we were trying to say here today is that there are issues that are important to this state and to our nation that needs to addressed. I think Ms. Sink-Burris and I were trying to do that without getting into the back and forth ping pong match about some body's personal engagements and particularly mis-characterizing all that," said Republican Senate Candidate Dan Coats.

"I couldn't agree more. We do need to talk about issues but our records and our resumes are part of the issues. We can't just rewrite history. We can't just say that my last 20 years or 30 years didn't exist," said Democrat Senate Candidate Brad Ellsworth.

"We have a two party system in this country. The parties of big business, with their two factions and the party of small government, constitutionally limited government," said Libertarian Senate Candidate Rebecca Sink-Burris.

"I really don't feel like I got that much of a response in that sort of fashion. They definitely did their political talk and a history is a history. However, you could focus more on the issues at hand instead of slander," said Fort Wayne Resident Andrew Simmons.

The third and final debate will take place Monday, October 25 at Vincennes University.

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