Loebsack and Miller-Meeks square off in Cedar Rapids - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Loebsack and Miller-Meeks square off in Cedar Rapids

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) -- Tuesday night's debate was very different from the governor's debate last week. Incumbent Representative Dave Loebsack faced off for the first time in a debate with his main contender, Marianette Miller-Meeks. Besides the small, intimate setting, the questions focused on the big picture. They addressed national and international topics, and how Iowa fits in as we climb out of a global recession.

"That's what I've been doing the last four years. Making certain that I'm available to the people of the Second District, making certain that I hear what their concerns are," said Loebsack.

"It's certainly much more than being accessible. When you look at what's happened to our economy, when we look at what's happened with job creation, when we look at what's happened with deficit spending," Miller-Meeks responded.

Tuesday night, the Second Congressional District candidates gave voters a clear choice right out the gate -- give Loebsack a chance to make his policies work, or go in a very different direction.

"Many of us are struggling from day to day. And as we sit at our kitchen table and we talk about what we're going to do, we look at our budgets and we figure out the things we need and the things we can do without. But instead of seeing our government do that, in face, what we saw our government do was dramatically increase the spending," said Miller-Meeks.

"I have no doubt in my mind that if actions had not been taken, actions that were taken in late 2008 and early 2009, that the economy would be far worse off than it is now," noted Loebsack.

The pair debated twelve questions, ranging from US trade embargo with Cuba to the future goals of a new "No Child Left Behind Act." On these two questions in particular, Loebsack and Miller-Meeks seemed to, basically, agree. That was definitely not the case on the topic of health care reform.

"I did vote for that bill, I'm proud of my vote for that bill. I think it was the right thing to do," said Loebsack. "In the end, I voted for it because there are over 400,000 Iowans in the Second District who now have more stable and secure health care as a result of that bill."

"We look at a bill that did increase access, but its not affordable. We've already seen health insurance companies drop out -- Principle just last week -- we've already seen companies asking for waivers from the bill, and have been granted those wavers," noted Miller-Meeks.

At several times throughout the debate, Loebsack referred to his work with Senator Chuck Grassley. The move suggested he is attempting to gain support from conservative voters, and is an indication of how close this race is getting.

Online Reporter Colleen O'Shaughnessy

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