(CNN) – The heated Senate race between Democratic Rep. Joe Sestak and Republican Pat Toomey raged in two interviews Tuesday as each candidate blamed the other for the ongoing economic downturn.
The race is locked in a dead heat. A Quinnipiac University poll of Pennsylvania voters conducted last month indicated that race was tied at 43 percent, with 12 percent undecided.
Speaking to CNN's John King, Sestak accused Toomey, a former six-term congressman, of advocating for policies that crippled the U.S. economy.
" … When I came to Congress my first year is when the recession began I was also a damage control officer. Those six months after President Bush left the White House, we lost three million jobs because of the policies he and Congressman Toomey – my opponent – had pursued."
But Toomey argued that tax cuts drive the economy.
"Here's the problem liberal Democrats like my opponent Joe Sestak don't understand - that when you cut taxes you can generate strong economic growth and when you raise them you can really damage economic prospects," Toomey said.
"If we raise taxes now as Joe Sestak advocates – and frankly he's already voted for a number of tax increases - if we have another big one now I'm concerned that it could have a really devastating impact on an already very weak economy."
Toomey was referring to the Bush tax cuts, which are scheduled to expire in January. Democrats want to let the cuts lapse for the top 2 percent of income earners - individuals making more than $200,000 a year and families making more than $250,000.
Republicans call it a tax hike; Democrats say the country cannot afford the cuts and argue that the tax cuts contributed to the sharp economic downturn that began near the end of Bush's second term.
Toomey also said he found it "amusing" that former President Bill Clinton was in Pennsylvania Tuesday to campaign for Sestak.
"I have to say I think it's kind of amusing that Joe Sestak doesn't want to be associated with President Obama and Nancy Pelosi – the people whose agenda he's actually voting for and he wants to hearken back to Bill Clinton, who by the way the big accomplishment under the Clinton administration came when Republicans were in control of Congress," Toomey said.
"So if Joe is a big fan of those policies I think the obvious solution is to elect Pat Toomey and other Republicans to congress so that President Obama can have a Republican congress to work with," Toomey added.
Sestak said it was Clinton's economic policies that paved the way for a bustling economy in the late '90s and early 2000s.
"At the end of the day, Pennsylvanians have a lot of common sense and why President Clinton is surely reminding them about a way to approach an economy which created 22 million jobs, and this president today has actually helped caulk the holes of the damage that Congressman Toomey did as he voted for George Bush."
The uber-wealthy don't exactly need an extra 4% back on taxes when they eat with gold plated spoons. The Bush tax cuts aren't working. Where are the jobs Tombmey?
"But Toomey argued that tax cuts drive the economy.", yeah they sure drove the economy off a cliff in 2007 now didn't it.
Toomey would just be a disappointing reminder of Rick Santorum.
Another brain-dead Republican refuses to speak the truth: that the money to pay for tax cuts has to be borrowed from foreign countries like China and greatly adds to the deficit.
Sleastak will die on the vine when the chickens come home to roost (Independants) Liberal politicians will rue the day they jumped on Erkel's bandwagon of socialistic spending programs that are overwhelmingly opposed by American taxpayers!
Tax cuts do NOT drive the economy. What drives the economy is the DEMAND for products/services and the ability of the public TO PAY FOR and BUY those goods/services. Currently, what's holding up the stock market, domestic and abroad is the wealthy few who pay minimum taxes, floating the money to & fro between the 'best bet', hence highest profit margin corporations. These highest profit corporations are those in general who have MINIMIZED factory burden, that is those who pay the lowest wages and have outsourced USA labor over seas. When demand GOES DOWN for a product/service, no amount of tax break is going induce a company to hire. Does anyone really think that ANYONE, tax break 'privalaged' or not, is going to hire when there is little or no demand for product/services? So where is the money supposed to come to pay down that national debt? The middle class is tapped out and under water. All that profit in terms of interest, and insurances went directly into the wealthiest bank accounts with minimal taxation during those boom years. This is not even considering those 'scam' corporations, that the right-wing is heavily intertwined in. In conclusion, those tax breaks for the rich, should not be given the time of day.
The democrats forgot they controlled Congress since 2006 and it was the housing bubble that busted causing the economic problems. The democrats also forgot they keep Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from being regulated in 2005 and they were the biggest culprits of the housing bubble being created. As anyone can see most Ameericans cannot remeber history and we are about to repeat it in the future since the democrats forgot to put the same regulations on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as they did on Wall Street. I guess because they are giving bad loans again to pepole who do not qualify for a home loan since they think home ownership is a right not a privilage you earn!
Hey Toomey we are still waiting for the big financial windfall from the Bush tax cuts, why should we do it again, all these rich people do is hoard money, anybody that is stupid enough to fall for that old line once again deserves what they get.
How stupid can Pennsylvanians be if they continue to back Sestak.
Gotta love how Republicans just parrot the same ideas as new thinking. Trickle down economics never worked for anyone except the wealthy but here they are still screaming that the government taking less money in actually increases the amount of money the government has.
I'm hoping the voters of PA realize how extreme Toomey is and decide to vote for Sestak.