October 11th, 2010
11:09 PM ET
12 years ago

Heated debate between Wisconsin Senate candidates

(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.

Filed under: 2010 • Ron Johnson • Russ Feingold • Wisconsin
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. Henry Miller, Libertarian, Cary, NC

    "...Feingold said Johnson offered no solutions to the problems."

    Getting rid of the people who cause the problems–mostly Democrats–is at least a good start. The details can be worked out later.

    October 11, 2010 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  2. 22 Days until Socialism dies in the United States

    The FIRST part of the solution is to FLUSH ALL THE CLOWNS THAT CREATED THE MESS and that means YOU Feingold!

    For him to still be bragging about the Obozocare disaster shows how completely out of touch and dangerous Feingold is. This fool and all like him need to be thrown out.

    October 12, 2010 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  3. Mike J R.

    Feingold is a gem among a crop of questionable senators and it's embarrassing that Wisconsin voters have such a lack of loyalty that a couple million dollars in advertising can apparently buy them off. Ron Johnson is a nice guy, sure, but you're kidding yourself Wisconsin if you think he's going to do anything other than knuckle under for Mitch McConnell and perpetuate the do-nothing-Congress that has been the GOP modus operandi of the past 2 years.

    October 12, 2010 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  4. King

    All the repugs budget solution is to cut jobs and money to the the middke class and poor but thats the group that spends money in our local stores, supermarkets, stores at the malls that drives demand and stimulates our local economy with jobs. Then repugs want to give tax break to the rich. Isnt that backward, i thought money should be given to the poor and the middle class who creats demand up to the rich who then supply their needs with jobs to continue the supply and demand cycle. The repugs started a new system that is not capitalism. They take from the demand side which are the middle class and poor and give to the rich which is the supply side. Didnt they just stop the cycle. How the hell the middle class and poor suppose to creat demand without no money and how the rich suppose to creat jobs without any demand. The rich will just pocket that extra money and keep putting trillions of dollars on the sideline. Wake up people and start thinking logically.

    October 12, 2010 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  5. Johnny

    GOP has no solutions. They do not even mention their pledge to America agenda which is now in the trash can. The party of NO is living up to its name. GOP has nothing new to offer America only more of the same,old,tired failed policies of the past. Let us say NO to the GOP in November.....

    October 12, 2010 01:23 am at 1:23 am |
  6. Marry

    The republicans talked little about healthcare reform – and, when their “in power” they pushed it back completely and where against anything to create a better system that would have helped the people. How can he criticize the new the health care bill when we know, the GOP has never done anything to come up with solutions? How can they talk about “lower taxes” when the infrastructure of the country is in shambles, how can the want to eliminate the education department thinking when it is gone the problem is solved, how can the want to solve Social security by privatizing it…the list goes on and on! The top 2%, the real clientele of the GOP, do not need any of this – you do!
    They always scream about “… the failures of Washington” as if none of the GOP have ever been in Washington! The deficit, the lack of progress in solving problems, wars that killed thousands, deficits that they created (none of that money went to benefit you!), no thoughts invested to better the country, THAT is what the GOP is all about. To criticize, misinform, and slander the members of the Congress, the Senate, the Administration and the VOTERS has been the primary occupation of the GOP! I ask you, is that what we should condone with our vote?
    Please, go out and vote. But, vote informed, responsible and smart!

    October 12, 2010 02:06 am at 2:06 am |
  7. barry

    The Great People of Wisconsin are not fooled by the stupidity of the Democrats. Feingold is toast. Obama is a joke as well and America sees it now. Attacking Repulicans and the Chamber of Commerce for Foreign Money was the last straw. Even Liberal Media won't back that lie up for the losers. Bye Bye Dems you pathetic losers. You disgusting piece of shi........

    October 12, 2010 02:11 am at 2:11 am |
  8. Don Wuerl

    Go ahead and help the immoral industry that has been screwing the American people for the last 40 plus years, Mr. Johnson! As they continue to price the normal American worker out of coverage when they need it most. And when we need it most, the coverage is denied by what might as well be a 'fly by night' operation. Feingold still has my vote; nutjobs like Johnson should be in the local asylum.

    October 12, 2010 02:46 am at 2:46 am |
  9. Not fooled

    " I have a very specific proposal ," Johnson said. "We repeal the healthcare bill. That will save trillions."
    Well that's just a talking point and not very specific. How will he save trillions when the bill will cost 1 trillion over ten years. And from what I know in my state people are not really signing up, so it might be even less.

    October 12, 2010 03:36 am at 3:36 am |
  10. Charles W. Skinner

    "I have a very specific proposal," Johnson said. "We repeal the health care bill. That will save trillions."

    Ron Johnson should have followed it up immediately by saying "Eliminating the Health Care Reform Act will also GENERATE trillions in economic activity, thus decreasing unemployment and increasing revenues to the federal government, thus reducing the deficit, as opposed to the PROVEN LIE of the Obama Administration that Health Care Reform will somehow magically reduce the deficit, even though it does absolutely NOTHING to 'bend the cost curve.'".

    October 12, 2010 05:27 am at 5:27 am |
  11. john

    How much of Johnson's campaign was secretly funded by the Insurance companies?

    October 12, 2010 06:10 am at 6:10 am |
  12. Kevin

    Russ has my vote in Nov. Johnson is just another schill for big biz.

    October 12, 2010 06:30 am at 6:30 am |
  13. Clwyd

    Mr. Johnson, knows not what the heck he is talking about nor do most of the repulsive republicans. He is so full of special interests and his own millions that he is like a piece of Wisconsin Swiss. The problem is that the right wing nut case uneducated morons here in Wisconsin, and across the US, haven't read the Health Care Bill. Maybe they want insurance companies to deny people with pre-existing conditions, to be able to raise the insurance rates at anytime and any amount, that college students can't go on their families insurance till 26 or completion of college or that 20,000,000 people without health care coverage should receive it. Mr. Johnson is so hooked to the teabuggers that he probably still believes in "death panels."
    Russ has got his hands full trying to win with the mentality of so many ignorant people today. How quickly they forget the party and man who created this mess that we are only now starting to pull ourselves out of1

    October 12, 2010 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  14. Tim

    Amazing! CNN gives the numbers from the poll that has it closet. Most polls have Johnson up by 8 or more! Can you say, "biased?"

    October 12, 2010 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  15. Luke

    johnson offers no viable solutions, just talking points. feingold has been called 'the conscience of the senate.' we need smart people & feingold is our man.

    October 12, 2010 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  16. Tim

    Interesting that CNN sites the only poll showing it close. All the other polls have Johnson up by as many as 10. Can you say, "biased?"

    October 12, 2010 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  17. TeaClown

    The trillions that would supposedly saved will just go to emergency room care like the old broken system the grubby GOP yearns for.

    October 12, 2010 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  18. Riley

    Say Good-Bye Russ Feingold. We've had more than enough of you in DC.

    October 12, 2010 08:22 am at 8:22 am |