FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn. - The candidates for U.S. Senate faced off for their second debate of the 2012 election season at the Minnesota State Fair on Thursday.
Incumbent Amy Klobuchar, D-Minnesota, is seeking her second term in office. Challenger State Representative Kurt Bills, R-Rosemount, was elected to the Minnesota Legislature in 2010.
The hour-long debate, that aired at noon on Minnesota Public Radio, touched on numerous issues before a large, boisterous and partisan crowd of supporters for both candidates.
Bills accused Klobuchar of not proposing a budget while Klobuchar accused Bills of not having passed a single bill in the state legislature. Both insisted they could work with the opposing party if elected.
Observers saw clear differences of opinion on many topics.
Klobuchar opposes the Marriage Amendment on the November ballot that would limit marriage to a man and a woman. Bills favored it.
On the contentious issue of abortion, Bills stated "I am pro life."
Klobuchar told the crowd "I believe this should be a decision between a woman and her doctor." Klobuchar said she favors "prevention, so we can reduce the number of abortions."
Klobuchar targeted Bills on the Republican's statement that gold and silver coins should be legal tender in Minnesota.
"As my opponent has suggested, " said Klobuchar, "Introducing a bill to bring gold and silver coins back as legal tender. I just do not believe that is where Minnesota is headed. I think we want to find common ground and find ways to reduce the debt that makes sense for this country."
"The great thing is," Bills responded, "gold and silver coins are actually legal tender based on the constitution."
"In addition to that, (Bills) introducing a bill that says we should have a commission to look at whether Minnesota should have its own currency. These are not main stream ideas for the future of this country," Klobuchar added.
Bills responded, "It is great to have the discussion and I encourage you all to look into it. You know that that bill was brought forward in 13 different states by people like me who are very concerned at the direction that our Federal Reserve and monetary policy is going?"
Klobuchar told the crowd that America needs a Federal Reserve to have "stable monetary policy."
Klobuchar's and Bills's campaigns have scheduled two more debates with Sept. 18, first, in Duluth, followed by a final meeting on Nov. 4 at the Fitzgerald Theatre in Saint Paul.
(Copyright 2012 by KARE. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. )