Missouri’s two major U.S. Senate candidates clashed over civility, tax cuts, tariffs and health care during their heated final debate Thursday afternoon in Kansas City.
U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) and GOP Senate nominee Josh Hawley debated at KMBC 9 News in Kansas City, before a live studio audience. The moderators were veteran KMBC political reporters Kris Ketz and Michael Mahoney, and audience members also asked questions. The audience members were primarily from western Missouri.
Some analysts believe Missouri’s race could determine which party controls the U.S. Senate in January.
The race’s tone was an early debate topic. Missouri Attorney General Hawley says he’s concerned with what he calls a “culture of incivility”, as well as confrontation and violence.
“It is extremely concerning to see our politics come to this level,” Hawley says. “I have never attacked my opponent personally. I’m not going to.”
Senator McCaskill is calling on both sides to “turn down the temperature.”
“There are people being ugly on both sides,” says McCaskill. “And I really got to disagree with you (Attorney General Hawley). He has spent this entire campaign trying to trash me personally.”
During the debate, Hawley blasted former Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, saying she said you can’t be civil with those who you disagree with. He also notes some people have been driven out of restaurants, apparently referring to a recent incident involving U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas.
McCaskill responds by talking about incidents on both sides.
“It’s really interesting to listen to his answer, because did you notice he blamed it all on the Democrats. That’s the problem. This is a problem on both sides,” McCaskill says.
McCaskill and Hawley also blasted each other on tax cuts.
McCaskill calls for making tax cuts for middle-class families permanent.
“The Republicans had it backwards. They made the rich people’s tax cuts permanent. They made the middle-class tax cuts temporary. I’d like to flip those,” says McCaskill.
Hawley says he’s open to additional tax cuts for the middle-class.
“Senator McCaskill says that she wants to make the tax cuts permanent, but she voted against them. Let’s just be honest, she voted against the middle class tax cut,” Hawley says.
Hawley says the tax cuts are benefiting working families, while McCaskill says they haven’t provided wage growth.
This was the third and final debate between the two. They debated last week in St. Louis.
The election is November 6.
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