Wellstone, Coleman face off
ST. PAUL -- Tuesday night's U.S. Senate debate at Concordia looks to be the political equivalent of professional wrestling. If a Friday night face-off between Sen. Paul Wellstone and challenger Norm Coleman is any indication, there should be ...
ST. PAUL -- Tuesday night's U.S. Senate debate at Concordia looks to be the political equivalent of professional wrestling.
If a Friday night face-off between Sen. Paul Wellstone and challenger Norm Coleman is any indication, there should be no shortage of excitement.
"This is a classic example of somebody who does not want to leave the U.S. Senate and will do or say anything," Coleman said after watching a television commercial attacking him. "This ad is outrageous."
For his part, Wellstone said Coleman doesn't understand what was in a resolution passed last week to give President Bush authority to use military force in Iraq.
"I think they want a senator who will read the resolution," Wellstone said about voters.
That is how the hour went on "Almanac," a Twin Cities Public Television show also broadcast on the C-Span national cable television public affairs station.
Wellstone, the Democratic incumbent, and Republican Coleman, a former two-term St. Paul mayor, meet in The Centrum at Concordia College in Moorhead for a 90-minute debate open to the public. The 7 p.m. Tuesday debate will be aired statewide.
In the two candidates' first televised debate Friday night, they often were too busy arguing to hear the hosts' pleas to move on to another topic. Wellstone frequently leaned forward, poking a finger in the air toward Coleman.
The two out-shouted the "Almanac" hosts trying to ask a question during a segment on Social Security.
"I'm not in favor of taking 'security' out of Social Security," Wellstone said. "Norm Coleman is."
Coleman said he would not allow any senior citizen money to be invested in the stock market. However, he said he does support allowing young people to invest a small portion of money that otherwise would go to Social Security in private accounts.
Wellstone insisted that no money should go into the stock market, even from young workers.
"I think it is a reckless proposal to take any money out of Social Security and invest it in the stock market," Wellstone said.
While the Friday night debate was held in a studio with two reporters asking questions, the public and five reporters will share the task Tuesday in Moorhead. Mark Halperin, ABC News political director, will be among them.
Doors at The Centrum open at 6:30 p.m.
The debate will air live on WDAY-Channel 6, Fargo; WDAZ-Channel 8, Grand Forks; and KSTC-Channel 45, Minneapolis-St. Paul. It also will be broadcast live on WDAY-Radio 970 AM in Fargo and WMNN-Radio 1330 in the Twin Cities. Many radio stations on the Minnesota News Network also will air the debate.
Sponsors of the debate are Forum Communications Co., Minnesota News Network, Independent Community Bankers of Minnesota and Concordia.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Don Davis at (651) 290-0707