Casey, Smith spar over jobs, healthcare in U.S. Senate debate - abc27 WHTM

Casey, Smith spar over jobs, healthcare in U.S. Senate debate

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As polls suggest that the race for U.S. Senate between Democratic incumbent Bob Casey and Republican challenger Tom Smith tightens, the two faced off in a debate in Philadelphia today.

During the debate, the candidates mostly kept to the scripts of their ever-present tv commercials: Bob Casey has done nothing in six years to create jobs. Tom smith is too right wing to trust.

Casey said Smith's plan "will increase middle class taxes, end medicare as we know it."

"Tom Smith thinks we should take away that guaranteed benefit of medicare either by changing it by giving someone a voucher or changing it even more radically," Casey said.

Smith fired back, saying that Casey was wrong and should have been able to do more during his time in the Senate.

"Senator you've been, with all due respect, in the senate for six years and still we do not have an economy that's roaring."

They also sparred over the Affordable Care Act, which Casey supports.

"What do i have against the Affordable Care Act?," Smith asked rhetorically. "Do you really want to turn over 1/6 of this economy to bureaucrats like the ones who run the IRS and Post Office?"

But Casey said Smith's ideology would make things worse.

"If we're gonna allow Tea Party ideology to govern Washington, we're gonna be in worse shape," he said. "The question is, are we gonna continue to take this country in the right direction or take a right turn back into the ditch we were in for too long."

 Casey has been on the debate stage for years and was comfortable. But at times Smith, the novice, was not. After struggling to answer a question on, he called the moderator, Jim Gardner, the wrong name -- twice.

A poll released Friday shows Casey's lead is just one point over Smith. It was nearly 20 in August. So this debate could sway voters and the election. But the fact that it will be aired on Sunday afternoon in central Pennsylvania and Philadelphia could be a problem, analysts say.

"It's the same time as the Steelers and Eagles games. A lot more people are gonna be watching the [political] ads during the game than they are gonna be watching the debate. It's unclear whether it has a measurable impact on the race.

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