Emotionally Charged Debate: Oberstar vs. Cravaack

By KBJR News 1

October 19, 2010 Updated Oct 19, 2010 at 9:05 PM CDT

Duluth MN, (Northland's NewsCenter) It was among the most emotionally charged debates the Northland has ever seen as longtime DFL Congressman Jim Oberstar and Republican Candidate Chip Cravaack went head to head in a battle for the U-S District Eight Congressional seat.

Many hot button issues were covered, causing tension to run high with Election Day only weeks away.

They both want the same thing to win the Congressional seat -but they are on opposite ends of the spectrum.

Congressman Jim Oberstar blames many of the country's economic problems on the Bush Administration and says Obama's plans to stimulate the economy are working.

"The stimulus bill $780 billion included a tax cut for everybody in America, $400 for individuals and $800 a couple. That put money back in the pockets of people to spend money in the economy and jobs to put construction projects underway; put people to work; and we see the benefits right here in Duluth."

But Republican Chip Cravaack disagrees saying less government is the answer, especially when it comes to job creation.

Cravaack says the government needs to create a better environment for small business owners.

"Taxes need to be used to reinvest in themselves so business can create jobs and what one of the other big things that I am hearing from business owners in the 8th district is get rid of the regulations and restrictions that are impeding them from creating jobs."

Another hot topic, President Obama's health care plan.

Oberstar says given a chance it'll provide many benefits.

Cravaack claims the healthcare reform bill is a job killer and says more competition is the answer.

"Why do we have to go ahead and purchase health insurance just in the state of MN? Why can't we purchase it from Florida a product that is more convenient for us and suits our needs better? That increases competition"

"We have no ability to regulate insurance you buy in Wisconsin or Delaware or anywhere else in the country. We have strict rules in Minnesota we want to be able to ensure that that company abides by these rules."

Among the most hotly contested issues was what to do about dwindling social security funds.

Cravaack says senior citizens must be protected and the government must stop taking money out of the fund for other purposes.

"The money that we put in Social Security stays in Social Security that is best way to find out what our baseline is before we talk about anything else. After we see where we are then we will be able to put everything on the table to make sure that the next generation that that is available for them to give them the options that they will need to have a successful social security system."

Congressman Oberstar vehemently denied that the government has taken any money out of the Social Security fund.

"This is one of the great myths that my opponent just cited. I guess it comes from the Heritage Foundation which proposes these ideas. The money from Social Security has never been used for anything else.

With plenty of controversial issues on the table, it will ultimately boil down to what the voters think on November 2nd.

In Duluth, Laura Langemo the Northlands NewsCenter.