Richard Mourdock (left) and Joe Donnelly
(Indianapolis, Ind.) - Candidates for Indiana’s U.S. Senate seat were throwing barbs at one another during much of Monday night’s debate in Indianapolis.
Republican Richard Mourdock, Democrat Joe Donnelly, and Libertarian Andrew Horning met for the first of two debates before Election Day. They are each seeking to succeed longtime Senator Richard Lugar, who Mourdock defeated in the May primary.
Donnelly called Mourdock an unapologetic leader of the Tea Party movement. Mourdock fired back that Donnelly is a supporter of President Obama and helped drive the national debt to $16 trillion.
“I don’t like the fact that the government seems to ever be growing, and, frankly, you helped it do that,” Mourdock told his opponent.
Donnelly, a current U.S. Congressman representing Indiana’s 2nd District, brought up Mourdock’s 2011 address to a tea party group in Madison. Mourdock stated that federal programs Medicare and Social Security are not part of the U.S. Constitution. Donnelly said the statement is a sign that Mourdock wants to do away with the programs that millions of Americans depend on.
“I may have been born at night, but I wasn’t born last night,” Donnelly shot back. “We’re not that dumb. They know what you were implying. And we know what you’re driving at,” Donnelly said.
Mourdock did say that he supports eliminating the U.S. Department of Education, a proposal Donnelly disagreed with.
On bi-partisanship, Donnelly said he would be more willing to work across the aisle if elected.
“We have a Mourdock versus Mourdock debate going on. They're not my words, they're yours Richard. You’re the one who said bi-partisanship is Democrats doing what Republicans want them to do,” Donnelly said.
Meanwhile, Horning urged voters who are tired of Republican vs. Democrat bickering to throw their support his way.
“It doesn’t have to be this way. There’s only one way to fix it. Stop voting for two parties,” Horning said.
The three candidates will meet once more before the election. A second debate is scheduled for Otober 23 in New Albany.