Richard Mourdock (left) and Richard Lugar shake hands before their debate Wednesday.
(Indianapolis, Ind.) - U.S. Senator Richard Lugar and challenger Richard Mourdock wound up agreeing on multiple issues during the only televised debate before the Republican primary.
The incumbent summed it up briefly.
“I thought it was a great debate,” Lugar said.
Many pundits believe there was no clear winner in the debate which was largely viewed as a draw between the two candidates.
Both GOP candidates spent time blasting President Obama's work to date, but disagreed when it came to ethanol. State Treasurer Mourdock argued ethanol drives up the price of gasoline, while Lugar said years of data show blending ethanol with gasoline helps keep prices a bit lower.
Mourdock took a shot at Lugar over the residency issue that has dogged him in the first few months of the campaign.
“(Indiana) is a place that if I have the privilege of serving as your U.S. Senator I am not moving from,” Mourdock said.
Lugar countered by poking at Mourdock's absences from his job as state treasurer.
“Those of us who are now serving each day..,” Lugar began one of his statements.
On the topic of international affairs, Lugar stated that Russia is neither a friend or foe.
“It is an important country with whom we have to deal,” he said.
Mourdock contrasted, stating Russia is more for than friend.
The primary election opponents agreed on many points through the evening. On Social Security and Medicare, both suggested keeping the retirement and health-care system in place for those 55 and older while changing the programs for future generations.
Mourdock sided with Lugar in stating it is not the federal government’s job to be involved in reproductive health care.
Once the hour-long debate ended, Mourdock felt he held his own against a 36-year incumbent.
“I didn’t come into this debate expecting it would be a knockout punch,” said Mourdock.
Whichever candidate wins the Republic primary on May 8 will face Democrat Joe Donnelly in November. Donnelly is uncontested in the primary.
The debate was organized by the non-profit Indiana Debate Commission.