Nebraska Senate candidates spar at debate, promise compromise if elected

August 26, 2012

By Ben Wolfgang-The Washington Times

In a bid to attract crucial independent votes, both candidates for Nebraska’s open Senate seat are stressing their willingness to buck their own party when necessary.

At a debate in Grand Island, Neb., on Saturday, Republican candidate Deb Fischer said she wouldn’t have voted for the Paul Ryan budget plan, the GOP’s latest fiscal blueprint calling for steep cuts in discretionary domestic spending. She also said she backs federal subsidies for wind power, a program GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has come out against.

Democrat Bob Kerrey, the state’s former governor and two-term senator, said he supports the proposed Keystone XL pipeline project, opposed by many environmental groups and some Democrats. He also said he agrees with portions of Mr. Romney’s immigration platform, specifically a plan to allow a path to citizenship for those who sign up for the military.

With Ms. Fischer leading by double digits in most polls, Mr. Kerrey used Saturday’s debate to try and turn the tide. He positioned himself as the candidate best equipped to tackle the nation’s tough challenges, and he didn’t sugar-coat the dire budget circumstances of the U.S. and the need to reach across the aisle to find solutions.

“We’re heading to Greece,” he said, a reference to that nation’s monetary mess. “We’ve got to scale it back. Otherwise, we’re simply not going to be able to survive as a great nation.”

Ms. Fischer struck a similar tone when discussing the nation’s finances, and also her ability and willingness to work with Democrats.

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