A look at candidates’ sniping, sparring and stumbles from debates this midterm election year

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Sniping and sparring in this year’s debates

A look at the insults, stumbles and sparring from the debates in this midterm election year:

—Connecticut Senate race:

“She is different from me. She has spent her life building her fortune. I have spent my life helping people build their futures,” Connecticut attorney general Richard Blumenthal said of rival Linda McMahon at a Senate debate Thursday. McMahon, the former head of World Wrestling Entertainment, painted Blumenthal as a career politician who doesn’t understand how business works. “I think you want to constantly focus on WWE because it’s really difficult for you to focus on the economy and creating jobs,” she said.

—California governor’s race:

GOP hopeful Meg Whitman blamed Democrat Jerry Brown for the disclosure that she had employed an illegal immigrant housekeeper. “You put it out there and you should be ashamed for sacrificing Nicky Diaz on the altar of your political ambitions,” Whitman told Brown, who was standing a few feet away. He shot back: “You have blamed her, blamed me, blamed the left, blamed the unions. But you don’t take accountability.”

—Nevada governor’s race:

In a debate Aug. 29, Democrat Rory Reid, son of U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, called Republican rival Brian Sandoval a “nice man” but a “weak leader” who would hurt schools. Sandoval, who was ahead in a recent Las Vegas Review-Journal poll, said Reid was “consistently inaccurate.”

—Oregon governor’s race:

The candidates — Republican Chris Dudley, a former player with the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers, and Democrat John Kitzhaber, a former governor — spent more time arguing over debates than actually debating. When they finally picked a place and time and a spot to face off, the debate about debates continued: During their sole joint televised appearance in Portland on Sept. 30, Kitzhaber invited Dudley to another Portland debate in October, which Dudley declined. He then asked Kitzhaber to debate him in Medford, to which Kitzhaber has not yet committed.

—Arizona governor’s race:

Republican Gov. Jan Brewer suffered through a disastrous debate performance in September as she lost her train of thought and endured about 15 seconds of painful silence while discussing her accomplishments as governor. After the debate, she ignored reporters who confronted her about her inaccurate comments that headless bodies were turning up in the Arizona desert. It was the one and only debate between Brewer and Democratic Attorney General Terry Goddard. Brewer has refused to debate again, content to sit on her comfortable double-digit lead in a state where her support of a crackdown on illegal immigration has enhanced her popularity.

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