ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Three U.S. Senate candidates, three views on economic mess

Republican Sen. Norm Coleman supported the $700 billion bailout bill. Democrat Al Franken opposed it. And Independence Party challenger Dean Barkley said the more serious matter is balancing the record $455 billion federal budget deficit. The thr...

We are part of The Trust Project.

Republican Sen. Norm Coleman supported the $700 billion bailout bill.

Democrat Al Franken opposed it.

And Independence Party challenger Dean Barkley said the more serious matter is balancing the record $455 billion federal budget deficit.

The three contrasting views on the financial economic crisis were given by the U.S. Senate candidates participating in Thursday night's debate at the University of Minnesota Duluth's Romano Gym.

Coleman said an injection of money into the markets provides immediate and necessary relief to citizens.

ADVERTISEMENT

"If this [economy] collapsed, a parent with a child in college wouldn't have the opportunity to get a loan because credit is freezing," Coleman said.

Obama's proposal of a 90-day moratorium on home foreclosures received Franken's support because it addresses the middle class.

"This is about where does our prosperity come from, and I believe it comes from working families," Franken said.

Barkley said he won't pander to voters because the country can't afford new spending because of the deficit.

"No. 1, we have to balance the budget," Barkley said.

Moderator Patrick Marx asked the candidates questions, with the opportunity for follow-ups, for the first 45 minutes. In the final 45 minutes, audience members asked their own questions.

From the largely student audience of about 1,000, the first question addressed the candidates' plans to reverse the slow migration of people from Northeastern Minnesota.

Coleman cited his support for expanding Pell grants for students, Franken proposed a $5,000 tax credit for every student to attend college, while Barkley asked, "How are we going to pay for it?"

ADVERTISEMENT

Franken replied that payment options will arise through ending the war in Iraq and letting tax cuts for those who make more than $1 million expire.

Coleman retorted that Franken would increase taxes with his universal health care plan for children.

Coleman differentiated himself as the only candidate to work in a bipartisan way. Barkley, a member of former Gov. Jesse Ventura's third-party administration, quickly fired back, saying that he has worked in a "tri-partisan" way.

Franken held a slight edge over Coleman in Tuesday's poll by Quinnipiac University-Wall Street Journal-Washingtonpost.com. Franken had 38 percent support and Coleman was at 36 percent, with Barkley at 18 percent.

The candidates debated twice in the past 12 days -- Oct. 5 in Rochester, Minn., and Saturday in Minneapolis.

Two debates remain before the Nov. 4 election -- Oct. 24 on Twin Cities Public Television's "Almanac" show and Nov. 2 at Minnesota Public Radio's Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul.

ANDY GREDER is a general assignment reporter for the News Tribune. He can be reached at (218) 723-5218 or by e-mail at agreder@duluthnews.com .

What To Read Next
The system crashed earlier this month, grounding flights across the U.S.