Tennessee Senate candidates exchange barbs in final debate

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Republican U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn repeatedly attempted to tie her Democratic opponent Phil Bredesen to national Democrats in their second and final debate on Wednesday, while the former Tennessee governor deflected the attacks by once again promising to improve bipartisanship in Congress.

The two candidates exchanged barbs and went on the aggressive during Wednesday’s hour-long event — based at the University of Tennessee’s Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy — on topics ranging from health care, sexual misconduct allegations to gun control.

With election day less than a month away, the outcome of the competitive red-state race has attracted the national spotlight due to a 51-49 Republican majority in the balance. The race has become so high-profile that even pop superstar Taylor Swift broke her political silence by going on Instagram to endorse Bredesen and encourage people to vote Nov. 6.

Despite Bredesen kicking off the debate pleading for civil discourse, Blackburn immediately jumped into attacking Bredesen for attending a fundraiser that headlined ex-New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, “That was possibly the shortest civil debate we’ve had in a long time,” Bredesen responded.

Bredesen later said he didn’t seek out Bloomberg’s assistance but that Bloomberg called and offered his help. Blackburn said after the debate Bredesen and Bloomberg probably talked about “taking guns away from Tennesseans” or being a running mate with the gun control advocate in 2020.

The two sparred over Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh amid Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations. Though both candidates supported President Donald Trump’s nomination, Bredesen didn’t do so until much later while Blackburn endorsed Kavanaugh almost immediately.

“What I wanted to do was listen and to actually have hearings,” Bredesen said. “I wish there had been more information. That could have changed my mind.”

Blackburn in turn said she believed something happened to Ford, but said Tennessee voters wanted Kavanaugh to be confirmed. However, she spent the majority of her answer pivoting away from the judicial nomination process to criticize the handling of sexual misconduct allegations when Bredesen was governor.

“Phil said that he did not think men and women, when they were in the workplace together, that you just had these issues of sexual harassment,” Blackburn said. “I think that is something that is an insult to women who were in the workplace and maybe he thinks I ought not be on this stage tonight.”

Bredesen denied the congresswoman’s characterization of his attitude during his time …read more

Source:: Nationalpost

      

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