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Lugar, Mourdock agree on much during only debate

U.S. Senator Dick Lugar and Indiana Treasurer Richard Mourdock debate at WFYI in Indianapolis.
Darron Cummings, The Associated Press
Courtesy Indiana Debate Commission
U.S. Senator Dick Lugar and Indiana Treasurer Richard Mourdock debate at WFYI in Indianapolis.

U.S. Senate candidate Richard Mourdock says there was no knockout punch delivered in the debate between he and incumbent Dick Lugar Wednesday.  But Lugar says the debate – the only one between the Republican candidates – is the turning point of the campaign.

The debate featured questions on jobs and the economy, foreign affairs, entitlements and even the definition of conservative.  The two found themselves in almost total agreement much of the time. 

State Treasurer Richard Mourdock emphasized repeatedly the need to significantly roll back the size of government, calling for the elimination of the Departments of Energy, Education, Commerce and Housing and Urban Development.

Senator Lugar says he’s for government reduction, but the Obama administration has stymied that effort.

“We can call for more hearings, for additional comments by voters from our state and occasionally, actually get some traction in the Congress to roll back some of the regulations.”

Mourdock says talk without action isn’t worth much.

“I don’t hear nearly enough of that except in campaign season.  You know, to say that we’re trying to roll back the Obama administration – I don’t see enough Republicans doing that.”

When asked about how best to represent Hoosiers, Mourdock said residency is important.

“It is a place that, if I have the privilege of serving as your U.S. senator, I’m not moving from.  I will always call Darmstadt, Indiana home.”

Lugar has faced criticism and even legal action because he sold his Indianapolis home more than 30 years ago and has since lived primarily in Virginia.  But Lugar says the debate gave him the opportunity to remind voters why he’s the right choice to represent the state:

“I have experience, a record and ideas and I’m active now.  This is not in the hereafter or speculative as to what we might do.”

Going into the debate, Mourdock said he wanted to introduce himself to voters, and he says he was successful in that goal.

Lugar says the debate clarified that he’s the candidate with the right experience and ideas.

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.