Udall, Schaffer Spar Over Economy, 2nd Stimulus

30-Minute Debate Almost Didn’t Happen Over Rules Argument

Colorado's two senate candidates both said they have ran nothing but positive advertisements during a wide-ranging debate Thursday that almost didn't happen because of an argument over ground rules.

The 30-minute debate, sponsored by 7NEWS, the League of Women Voters and the Colorado Bar Association, began on the subject of trust and the seemingly constant barrage of negative ads that have filled TV and radio over the past two months.

"I have not run any ads that are not truthful for every single claim that we have made," said former Rep. Bob Schaffer (R), who admitted he as been the beneficiary of $14 million in attack ads against Rep. Mark Udall (D) by third-party groups.

"I will take full credit for ads my campaign produces," Schaffer said, but added he was not responsible for ads by other groups.

"This has been a tough campaign," said Udall who said he has used positive ads to talk about the war, green energy and the economy.

"I've responded with ads talking about what I'd like to do as the next Untied States senator," Udall said.

Both candidates used the debate to boast about their time in Congress, while also seeking to distance themselves from both the Bush administration and the current financial crisis.

When asked by the moderator 7NEWS anchor Anne Trujillo, "Why should Coloradans trust you?" Udall responded by citing his time in Congress working with both parties.

"Voters watching today will look at the work I have done," Udall said.

"Clearly most Americans are fed up with what is happening in Washington today," Schaffer said, saying he would bring change to Congress as a low-tax candidate.

With just three weeks until the election, Schaffer needed the debate to help him advance in the polls.

According to a Quinnipiac University poll, Schaffer is behind Udall by 14 percentage points. But despite the poll, Schaffer said he's not out of the race.

He recently told the Rocky Mountain News that "I just have polls that contradict that, that show the trend in the right direction for me."

The poll was done between Oct. 3-7 and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

Udall and Schaffer are vying to replace Republican Sen. Wayne Allard, who is retiring. Udall is a congressman representing the 2nd District, encompassing Boulder and some mountain counties. Schaffer is a former congressman who represented the 4th district, including Fort Collins, Greeley and much of northeastern and eastern Colorado.

Candidates Debate College, Economy, Second Stimulus

When asked about the cost of higher education, Udall said he supported government-run college aid programs and said they should be given more money.

Schaffer opposes such programs and said he would fight for more lenders, which would generate competition for lower rates.

He warned the collapse of mortgage lenders Fannie May and Freddie Mac could also happen to the federal loan system.

"This is really a question of whether you support a higher-ed lending system that is doomed to collapse like Fannie and Freddie have, or is it sustainable," he said.

On the economy, Udall said he would support a second stimulus package after the election.

Udall said he wanted to give relief for the unemployed, temporarily strip off the capitol gains tax for small businesses and give new energy businesses tax incentives. He also said the government needs to invest in highways and infrastructure, without necessarily specifying how government would pay for the added programs.

Schaffer said he supports the idea of a second stimulus package as long as it met conditions.

"A second stimulus package might be advisable depending on what it is structured to do," he said. "If it is designed to flood the market with additional capitol, private capitol … for those who are the entrepreneurs who create jobs -- that is the kind of stimuli we ought to move forward on."

The debate ended on the hot-button issue of immigration.

Schaffer said he opposes so-called sanctuary cities, and said the federal government should do more to help local law enforcement.

"We need to provide incentives to encourage local sheriffs and local police departments to actually enforce immigration laws and when they incur expenses associated with incarcerating those who violated the law, or need to be deported," he said.

Udall said the federal government "has been missing in action." He suggested a number of reforms including tamper proof IDs, new technology for monitoring the border and a program that would allow for immigrants already in the country

He said immigrants already in the country should "come out of the shadows," register themselves, pay a fine, go through a background check to prove they can speak English and are employed, then "go to the back of the line" to gain citizenship.

Bob Schaffer and Mark Udall talk about immigration, education and negative ads in a 7NEWS Debate.

Before Debate Candidates Fought Over Notes Rule

The debate taped and then rebroadcast was delayed for 30 minutes by a dispute over ground rules.

The dispute was over rules barring them from using notes. Schaffer brought notes and insisted he never saw or agreed to a rule against them.

"You know this is a campaign for the U.S. Senate, it's not a talent contest," Schaffer said. He said the issues are important, and voters "deserve to have arguments that are reinforced with facts."

"They deserve to have well reasoned arguments. They deserve to have something that is actually thoughtful," Schaffer said.

Udall said he didn't bring notes but, exasperated by the delay, eventually said he wouldn't object if Schaffer used the ones he brought.

"I think this is a test of your wits; it's a test of what you have in your head," Udall said. "If Bob needs to have a few notes with him, fine. But I'm here with an empty pad and let's go."

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