MILWAUKEE (WKOW) -- U.S. Senate candidates Tommy Thompson and Tammy Baldwin debated for the first time Friday and they may have spent more time taking swings at each other than discussing the big issues.
With a recent swing of the polls showing Tammy Baldwin in the lead, their stage debut was particularly important for both candidates in an unsteady race.
Starting off the hour-long debate hosted by the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association, both candidates were able to make an opening statement and it didn't take long for the gloves to come off.
Baldwin said, "I have taken on powerful interests on behalf of ordinary citizens, my opponent has taken on powerful special interests as clients, so ask yourself tonight -- who is better to represent the middle class?"
Thompson was quick to fire back. "My opponent is ranked as the number one liberal in the House of Representatives, that's a pretty hard ranking to get to when you know she is the number one spender in the House of Representatives," he said.
The candidates were also asked questions by a panel of journalists. When asked about Medicare, both said they would make sure seniors have access to affordable care.
"We need to continue the reforms in the Medicare that we implemented in the Affordable Care Act that has extended the solvency of the program by nearly a decade," Baldwin said.
Thompson said he would repeal the Obama administration's health care reform. "There's no way it's going to be able to continue unless we modify it and change it," he said. Thompson went on to say Paul Ryan's plan to eventually replace Medicare with a voucher program is a "first step."
The candidates did agree on some foreign policy issues. Both said they would pull troops out of Afghanistan and make sure Iran doesn't have the ability to create nuclear weapons.
They will face off in two more debates before the election.
MADISON (WKOW) -- U.S. Senate candidates Tammy Baldwin and Tommy Thompson debate for the first time Friday evening and you can watch it on WKOW.
The two will meet in Milwaukee at a debate sponsored by the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association Foundation. It will air on WKOW-TV at 8:00 p.m.
Recent polls show the race is either a dead heat, or Democrat Tammy Baldwin has the lead over Republican and former Governor Tommy Thompson. The two will make statements Friday night and field questions from journalists.
Thompson and Baldwin will debate two more times before the November 6 election. All debates will be broadcast statewide.
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