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Blunt, Carnahan clash in final debate

(l-r) Robin Carnahan (D) and Roy Blunt (R), minutes before their final debate at The Lodge of Four Seasons resort.
Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio
(l-r) Robin Carnahan (D) and Roy Blunt (R), minutes before their final debate at The Lodge of Four Seasons resort.

By Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio


Jefferson City, Mo. – Missouri's two leading U.S. Senate candidates held their final face-to-face debate today before the November 2nd general election.

Democrat Robin Carnahan came out swinging, using much of her opening statement to bash Republican Roy Blunt's record in Congress.

"Our economy's gotten wrecked, Wall Street got a bailout, special interests made out like bandits, and we got stuck with the bill," Carnahan said.

Carnahan specifically targeted Blunt's voting record on earmarks, which he defended.

"If there are things to compete for, I'm gonna compete for them," Blunt said. "If we decide nobody's gonna compete, that's a different situation...I'm for competing, I'm for competing on top of the table."

Carnahan accused Blunt of slipping an earmark for a California company into a defense bill.

"That (company) later gave quickly, not just a lot later, a few days later, gave you campaign contributions for the first time, and then you started riding around in their corporate jets," Carnahan told Blunt.

Blunt responded: "I did some fundraising for California Candidates for Congress, I think I was on their plane once...it wasn't a corporate jet, it was a King Air, and I paid to ride on the airplane."

"And did they give campaign contributions to you within a few days?" Carnahan shot back.

"One thousand dollars," Blunt said.

Blunt also said an overwhelming majority from both parties supported that bill, including Carnahan's own mother, former Democratic U.S. Senator Jean Carnahan.

Blunt also criticized the Obama Administration for giving a $107 million grant to a wind farm owned by Carnahan's brother, Tom. Blunt claimed only 16 jobs were created by the grant. Carnahan disagreed, telling reporters after the debate that it created thousands of jobs in Missouri.

Two minor party nominees also took part in today's debate. Libertarian Jonathan Dine called for shrinking the government and doing away with income taxes. And Jerry Beck of the Constitution Party called for beefing up manufacturing jobs and fighting illegal immigration.

The event was held at The Lodge of Four Seasons resort at the Lake of the Ozarks. It was sponsored by the Missouri Press Association.