There will be one more debate between United States Senate candidates Republican Deb Fischer and Democrat Bob Kerrey as the two make their case with a little more than a month left in the campaign.
Fischer and Kerrey clashed mostly on fiscal matters during their second debate in Omaha Friday, sparring over the effect drastically reducing the deficit would have on the economy and the best way to meet the nation’s fiscal problems.
The two meet again for the third and final time tonight in the NET Television studios in Lincoln.
Fischer insists the country needs a balanced budget amendment and sees no room for negotiation on the matter.
“No, I believe we need a balanced budget amendment and most Nebraskans agree,” Fischer says.
Kerrey doesn’t. He says it wasn’t needed in the late 90’s when he was in the Senate.
“When she said, gee, if I’d (Kerrey) have voted for a balanced budget amendment, we wouldn’t have this debt,” Kerrey says. “We were paying off debt when I left. We didn’t need a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. We balanced the budget.”
Fischer supports lobbyist Grover Norquist’s pledge not to raise taxes. She supports a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution that would limit federal government expenditures to 18% of the Gross Domestic Product. The federal government spends slightly more than 25% of GDP at present. Kerrey supports lowering it to 21%, charging that dropping it to 18% would gut federal programs Nebraskans rely upon. He says shared sacrifice, a combination of budget cuts and tax increases, would best balance the budget.
President Obama has champion the so-called Buffet rule, named after Omaha billionaire Warren Buffett. It would increase taxes on the rich to bring in more federal revenue. A recent poll indicates a majority of Nebraskans agree the rich should pay more as a matter of fairness.
Fischer disagrees her opposition to the Buffett rule puts her at odds with Nebraskans.
“No, not at all,” Fischer responds to a question about the poll. “I think Nebraskans, when they hear that maybe it’s just a political sound bite again that sounds good and really doesn’t accomplish much, people in Nebraska have common sense, they’ll recognize that.”
Fischer says she has put close to 70,000 miles on her car campaign for the Senate. She says she has been speaking and listening to Nebraskans.
Kerrey says voters need to recognize the differences between the two candidates.
“There are significant differences between she and I in experience and I think experience matters,” Kerrey states.
The debate in Lincoln will be live, as was the debate at the State Fair in Grand Island. NET News Director Dennis Kellogg will moderate the question-and-answer style debate, with a panel of journalists asking questions.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:50]