NJ candidates for U.S.Senate debate on 6abc

October 4, 2013 3:43:17 PM PDT
In a lively one-hour debate taped at the 6abc Trenton Studios, Democratic Newark Mayor Cory Booker and Republican Steve Lonegan, the former state head of Americans For Prosperity, tried to paint each other as extremists in the race to represent New Jersey in the U.S. Senate: Lonegan as too conservative, Booker as too liberal.

They disagreed on most issues, including the government shutdown and raising the nation's debt ceiling.

"We need to put an end to the massive borrowing and the deficit spending," said Lonegan. "We need to cut the size of government. Cut it hard, cut it deep."

"Because a small fringe of folks are not getting their way, they will shut down the government, they will play roulette with the full faith and credit of our government," said Booker. "We need people on both sides to come together and work together."

The debate was co-moderated by Action News anchorman Jim Gardner. Lonegan was aggressive throughout and called Booker a failed mayor.

"What New Jersey needs is a leader, not a tweeter," said Lonegan. "We need somebody who's going to be there to govern, who's going to be there to do the job, not be running around the country on speaking tours and getting speaking fees and running around Hollywood and running around California and Hollywood with a bunch of Hollywood elite."

"Please understand, I have traveled around the country," said Booker. "But when I do, I actually bring back resources for Newark, New Jersey. Sending my opponent down to Washington to join the fringe group of Tea Party people would make what's wrong with Washington worse."

The candidates agree the U.S. should not trust Iran and that government spying has gone too far. But they are far apart on gay marriage and abortion.

"I believe in marriage as the marriage of a man and a woman," said Lonegan. "But I also support the right of every American to live their lives the way they choose. And I wouldn't interfere with that. What I really believe in is individual liberty."

"If you're raped or the victim of incest, he believes you should not be able to make decisions about your own body," said Booker. "I support, when it comes to a woman's right to choose, the law of the land."

Booker originally had a 35-percent lead in the race. That has dwindled to a 13-percent lead. The special election is scheduled for October 16th.


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