Ind. (AP) — Indiana's Democratic Senate candidate accused his Republican
opponent Friday of working as a Washington lobbyist to support cap and
trade legislation both have opposed as candidates.
Coats and Democrat Brad Ellsworth debated for the second time Friday night
in their race to succeed retiring Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh.
They had a
particularly testy exchange during a question about energy policy, even
though both agreed there should be more investment in clean energy.
alleged Coats pushed for the cap and trade legislation aimed at curbing
greenhouse gas emissions during his former role as a lobbyist. He said the
Republican was the one candidate of the three on stage who benefited
financially after the law was proposed.
Mr. Coats comes back to Indiana and tells Hoosiers he's against the
legislation and it would be devastating and a job killer, what if it would
have passed, Mr. Coats?" Ellsworth said. "We would have put Americans and
Hoosiers out of work based on your lobbying efforts."
rebuttal time to answer, Coats responded that Ellsworth was wrong but
didn't elaborate. Instead, he repeated a theme from earlier in which he
linked Ellsworth to such Democratic leaders as President Barack Obama and
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
understand how somebody who went to Washington talking like a conservative
back at home and following the agenda of Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama
nearly 90 percent of the time ... wouldn't want to come home and talk
about that, but would want to deflect it and center your campaign around
slinging mud," Coats said.
Rebecca Sink-Burris said she wasn't interested in "who was slinging mud
about what and when."
"I think you
can easily see that the old parties are not the answer," she said. "Both
of the old parties have grown government."
question caught the mood of the entire debate as the Coats and Ellsworth
didn't talk much about what separated them. Andrew Simmons of Fort Wayne,
who works for the American Red Cross of Northeast Indiana, told the
candidates he is becoming more frustrated by the negative campaigning and
asked why the don't focus more on what they support.
that he tried to do that but was drawn into talking about his past by
Ellsworth. He said he and Sink-Burris were trying to talk about important
issues "without getting into the back-and-forth ping pong match about
somebody's personal engagements."
Coats said the
Obama administration was responsible for massive spending that is taking
the country down the wrong track.
"We've got to
change this," he said. "We've got to change direction. That's why I'm
running. That's why I got into this race. I don't think what's happening
in Washington is what is America."
agreed that the candidates need to talk about the issues but said what a
person has done in life is a relevant issue.
"We can't just
rewrite history," Ellsworth said. "We can't just say, 'My last 20 years or
30 years didn't exist. This isn't mudslinging, because people are making
an important decision about who they are going to send to the Senate."
The debate was
the second of three scheduled between the candidates. The final debate is
Monday at the Red Skelton Performing Arts Center at Vincennes University.