(CNN) - The candidates for Senate in Wisconsin stuck to their talking points in an animated debate Monday night. Republican Ron Johnson blamed the three-term incumbent Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold for what he said were the failures of Washington, and Feingold said Johnson offered no solutions to the problems.
"He doesn't have any answer, he doesn't have any plan, he just wants to say we've got all this debt and all these problems, but he gives you absolutely no idea of what he would do about it," Feingold said. "It's not the responsibility you need from a U.S. Senator."
"I have a very specific proposal," Johnson said. "We repeal the health care bill. That will save trillions."
Johnson continued his criticism of the health care reform bill, which has been a theme throughout his campaign. He said Congress should have addressed the issues in the health care system with separate bills.
But Feingold defended the legislation and its overhaul over the insurance industry.
"The bill is a good compromise that I think brings the country forward on the number one issue that's been brought up to me over the years," Feingold said. "I felt absolutely obligated to get something done and I'm very glad that we did."
Although their second debate of the general election was wide-ranging, the candidates became most fired up over free speech.
Feingold warned that third party groups could have a dangerous influence over the race and called on Johnson to demand disclosure records from the groups.
Johnson said he has no control over the groups and said discontent with Washington is what has led to the negative campaign ads.
"They're concerned and that's why they're putting money where their concern is," Johnson said. "That's their right and they should have that freedom."
Feingold, who co-authored the so-called McCain-Feingold bill to limit big campaign spending, said Johnson is "hiding behind nasty attack ads from out of state."
A recent McClatchy-Marist survey of registered voters found Johnson leading 45 to 43 percent with a sampling error of plus or minus 3.5 percent.