Senate Smackdown: Nelson & Mack fight for your vote
Candidates square off in their one and only debate
Sparks flew at Incumbent Democratic Senator Bill Nelson took on Republican challenger Connie Mack in their one and only debate before election day. Video by fox4now.comvideo
DAVIE, Fla. - Sparks flew at Incumbent Democratic Senator Bill Nelson took on Republican challenger Connie Mack in their one and only debate before election day.
The debate was held at Nova Southeastern University in the Fort Lauderdale suburb of Davie.
"Bill Nelson voted to raise taxes 150 times," said Mack said in his opening statement.
"Everything the Congressman has just said it not true," counted Nelson.
"That's probably with our politics today. It's so polarized," he added.
"I will show you why what the Congressman said is not true," said Nelson.
In responding to a question about which programs Mack would cut, he answered, "We don't need to fund Amtrak and PBS is something we can look at cutting."
Nelson indicated Florida's economy was slowing improving.
"For the last 31 months, we've had private sector job growth," he said.
"We're seeing increase in housing market," added the Senator who said the growth is still not happening fast enough.
"You just painted a picture that just doesn't exist," said Mack
"If you voted to raise taxes 150 times it's time for you to go," Mack said to Nelson.
Mack also accused Nelson of taking advantage of tax loophole by having livestock on land he owns.
"I'm not going to let you get away with this," Nelson told Mack.
Nelson said the cattle had been there for years as he pivoted to Mack's voting record.
"He voted to cut Medicare by taking away the guaranteed benefit and replacing it with a voucher," said Nelson.
"He voted to partially privatize Social Security," added Nelson.
"He has a "penny plan" that will eviscerate Social Security."
"You whacked away Medicare Advantage," said Mack to Nelson.
"I protected Florida by exempting out Medicare Advantage," said Nelson.
Mack accused of Nelson of "gutting our military" by voting for a bi-partisan compromise on raising the debt ceiling last year.
Mack voted against it.
"What you what you voted against at year ago - you were going or to let this country to go into default not to pay its bills," said Nelson.
Nelson also accused Mack of missing votes
"Why don't you explain how you don't show up to work? You have one of the worst voting records." charged Nelson.
"This year, I have missed one vote.. You have missed 178 and when you show up it's even worse, " said Nelson.
"As far as my voting record, you should be straight with people," said Mack.
"I've got a 94% voting record, You've got a 92% voting record," said Mack.
"Congressman Mack voted to re-define rape as forcible rape, that should say where he stands on women's issues," said Nelson.
Mack said he would support the Violence Against Women Act.
Nelson accused Mack of hypocrisy when it comes to spending.
"He rails against the stimulus bill, but he didn't tell you wrote a letter to get 29 million of stimulus dollars in his congressional district," said Nelson.
"Why don't we don't we ask him why he takes two homestead exemptions which is contrary to Florida's constitution," added the Senator.
Mack repeatedly tried to tie Nelson to President Obama - often repeating the same attack line.
"They (Floridians) want you to look in the eye and say what you'll do for them instead for Barrack Obama," said Mack again and again.
"Is that the only live you have memorized?" Nelson said to audience laughter.
"Congressman, you're repeating the same line over and over," said Nelson at another point.
Senator Nelson was first elected to public office in 1972. He is an Army veteran who also served as a state representative, state cabinet officer and congressman. He was elected to the United States Senate in 2000.
Mack is currently representing part of Southwest Florida in the House of Representatives. He won his current District 14 House seat in 2004 - after narrowly beating former state representative Carol Green in the GOP primary.
Over the years, Mack has come under fire from critics who say he doesn't spend enough time in the Southwest Florida district he represents in Washington. After divorcing his first wife, he married fellow Congressional Representative Mary Bono, widow of Sonny Bono, and has spent considerable time in her home district of Palm Springs, CA.
Senator Nelson has hammered Mack for missing a number of votes in Congress.
Earlier in the 2012 campaign season, Mack surprised some political analysts when he said he would not run for Nelson's senate seat. But he later changed his mind and decided not to run for re-election to the House seat so he could challenge Senator Nelson.
Democrat Jim Roach and Republican Trey Radel are running to replace Mack in the District 19 Congressional House race.