Discussion after the US Senate debate in Springfield and before the final debate tonight in Kansas City centered on the tone of the campaign. One candidate cries foul, while the other says the issues raised are fair. Democrat Claire McCaskill says that she believes that national Republican leaders have decided they aren’t going to elect Senator Jim Talent, but are going to disqualify her. McCaskill’s comments came after the debate in Springfield. McCaskill complains that Talent and his fellow Republicans have resorted to personal attacks as the final weeks of the campaign unfold. Talent became aggressive from the outset of the Springfield debate, held in the studios of KYTV. He criticized her service as Jackson County prosecutor and questioned whether she and her husband, Joseph Shepard, have paid all their taxes. Republicans have long criticized McCaskill for not fully disclosing Shepard’s income. They have asked that Shepard release his tax return. McCaskill defends her husband’s decision not to release his tax returns. She says the two became married four years ago and have always kept their finances separate. McCaskill says she respects her husband’s wishes for privacy. McCaskill acknowledges her husband’s financial holdings are complex, but she says to infer that those complex holdings are evil just because they are complex and to intimate that there is something wrong with what he has done in his business is just dirty politics. Talent dismisses such suggestions, stating that when McCaskill ran for governor two years ago she stated that she and her husband shared in their mutual income. Talent says that where a politician gets the income they live on is obviously relevant. He also says Shepard’s used his wealth to finance McCaskill’s gubernatorial campaign. Talent denies tight public opinion polls, and a concern he might lose this race, has sharpened the edge of his rhetoric. Talent insists he has taken the aggressive stance, because he believes it’s relevant and that McCaskill’s campaign has made it relevant, because it has campaigned on a message that it wants to change things in Washington. The two meet Wednesday night in Kansas City for their final debate of the campaign.

Related web sites:
Talent for Senate
McCaskill for Senate