Final MN Senate Debate: Live Analysis

You can listen to the debate at MPR.

7:02 CT: There will be no rules, but candidates should keep their answers concise. The candidates were then wheeled out in alphabetical order: Dean Barkley, Norm Coleman and Al Franken.

7:03 CT: Coleman starts first, the lawsuits will take the stage. Coleman stated that he has not received any gifts from family friends or allies. "The plaintiff to the lawsuit said that their was not basis for this claim." I highly doubt that if they took the time file a lawsuit.

7:04 CT:Norm was then asked if Al Franken has any connection to the lawsuit; Coleman did not answer the question but detoured to talk about how "Al Franken is targeting [Norm's] family."

7:05 CT: "Mr. Franken, do you have any connection to the lawsuit?" Franken responded, "None," and then paused for a moment. "The lawsuit is not about Norm Coleman's wife it's about Norm Coleman's sugar daddy. Norm Coleman cannot blame this on me; this is Norm Coleman's problem." Franken would not go so far to say that Coleman is corrupt, but called it a serious allegation.

7:08 CT: Barkley has had no part in this debate so far.

7:09 CT: Coleman: "There is a line to be drawn." The ad Norm Coleman continues to referrer to, the one where Al Franken attacks his wife follows. Nothing in the ad directly attacks his wife.

7:10 CT: Franken responded by stating that the lawsuit "is not about Norm Coleman's wife, this is about money."

7:13 CT: Now onto Dean Barkley, "now you know one of the reasons I'm running. This is probably the most negative campaign in Minnesota history...I may end up getting sued too."

7:14 CT: What will be the biggest issue to face America in the next six years? Dean went first and stated that he wants to turn America around and put it on a new direction. He also wants to clean up Washington; "Lets take the direct bribery out of politics."

7:16 CT: Norm Coleman next: "If you play to the partisan divide you accomplish nothing."

7:17 CT: Franken then stated that he wants to fix the economic situation; "Washington has not been working for Minnesota families." Franken then went on to list several issues that he believes he can fix.

7:18 CT: Question from a women in the audience. She asked each of the candidates to name one program they support that could be set aside while the nation gets its financial situation in order.

7:20 CT: Franken gets to respond first, "every item on my agenda has a return on my investment...that's what Clinton did."

7:21 CT: Barkley then got his typical line of "I've been working on the issues since 1992 when I first said it was broke...We need a four year spending cap to stop the bleeding; how are we going to pay for these things Al." Barkley then went on to question the massive military spending that contributes to our nations 11 trillion deficit.

7:22 CT: Coleman then stated the standard Kerry line: "You can't support something if you voted against it." The moderator then essentially said that's not the question, please answer it. "I would give up my raise," the crowd started booing and then he again got side tracked after briefly mentioning a spending freeze."

7:24 CT: Another question from the audience; the college question. How will you make it more affordable?

7:25 CT: Coleman essentially stated that he will continue his work with Pell grants. He was also sure to point out that his IRA has taken a hit and that he has two kids in college.

7:26 CT: Franken discussed his intention to give a $5,000 tax credit for kids seeking higher education. Franken then told a story about a student from Mankato State University who has to donate his plasma to pay for his education and he will still graduate with debt. He then went on to mention Obama.

7:28 CT: Onto Barkley, "If you want a guy who can make empty promises, I'm not your guy." He later went on to say that he will not pander, but will focus on the issues.

7:30 CT: Barkley gets to ask a question to Al Franken: "I know you support Obama, but can you name a position McCain supports that you also support."

7:31 CT: "I agree with Sarah Palin and John McCain...on their counter terrorism stance. You don't kill everybody. You make friends and then your friends tell you who to kill."

7:32 CT: Norm Coleman then asked Franken to "name three things Franken has done for Minnesota."

7:33 CT: Franken started but Coleman didn't like the fact that Al was actually answering the question. It got testy for a moment. "Franken went on to say that he worked with chemical dependency" patients. Franken then cited his participation in Operation Helmet, a joint venture with a Republican from Texas with the intention of providing additional helmets for the troops overseas. The third activity he cited was his numerous charitable events.

7:36 CT: Franken then asked Coleman "how many years should a politician have to debate until they can be a lobbyist."

7:37 CT: Coleman responded by saying "what would that accomplish" in reference to a lifetime ban.

7:38 CT: Franken responded by answering Norm's question; Franken roughly stated that Senators vote on certain bills because they believe it will benefit them later down the road.

7:39 CT: Barkley finally got another question. Would you cut off funding for the war? Barkley said "Yes," Coleman said "No" and then gave a story about mothers in his office, and then Franken said "No." Barkley stated that the question was not a direct question about "the Iraq war, but rather a hypothetical immoral war."

7:42 CT: Another question from the crowd; it sounded like a young boy. How would you help push alternative energy?

7:43 CT: Coleman went first and stated his support for the 2005 energy bill citing the fact that "85 senators voted for this bill and Franken said he would not."

7:44 CT: Barkley next; "I will not support tax breaks for Oil Companies." Barkley then cited the difference between the passive income stipulation included in the 2005 energy bill "that only benefits the wealthy."

7:45 CT: Franken gets the last word on the energy issue. "Norm Coleman basically said that if people agree blah blah blah [sic]." Then went onto say that if people actually agreed this election wouldn't look so bad for the Republicans.

7:46 CT: Another question from South Minneapolis. Is health care a privilege, right or responsibility?

7:47 CT: Barkley first; "16% of our GDP [Gross Domestic Product] is taken over by health care. That is much higher than other European countries." Barkley believes that health care should be a right and the ultimate solution is a single payer plan, although he has other solutions that are less drastic..

7:49 CT: Al then agreed with Barkley on the "right" to health care. Al stated that "I support Barack Obama's health care plan. If you like your health care now you can keep it, if you don't have health care it will be less expensive."

7:50 CT: Coleman followed citing "Franken's support for a single payer plan during his primary run with Cirisii...Under that plan you take the healthy kids and make them unhealthy because they aren't allowed to take Liptor and Prilosec." These are not drugs, kids are taking, or need to be taking under any plan.

7:51 CT: Yes and no question time. Is Medicare better than no Medicare?

7:52 CT: Coleman: "Yes", Barkley: "Yes', and Franken "Sort of."

7:53 CT: Raise taxes? Barkley: "No", Franken "No", Coleman "No."

7:54 CT: Is our current plan for children's health care adequate? Barkley "Yes", Coleman "Yes", Franken "we can fix it."

7:54 CT: Franken wants to do a quad-partisan bill with Bernie Sanders and Joe Lieberman.

7:54 CT: Approve a Supreme Court Justice who differs with your view on abortion.

7:54 CT: Barkley: "I would never ask that question". Coleman: would ask "if they're qualified." Franken: responded that he would not press the issue because "privacy emanates from the constitution."

7:55 CT: End Iraq war?

7:55 CT: Barkley "Yes", Franken "Yes". Coleman "Yes because we're not gonna be in Iraq in six years because gen. Petreaus has achieved such great success."

7:56 CT: Final statements, Franken first.

7:57 CT: "Elections are a time to hold our politicians responsible. If you believe George Bush was right 90% of the time I'm not your guy." Franken then did his "I ask for your vote" bit. Ending with his desire to end the war.

7:57 CT: Now Norm: "These are the most challenging times in my 37 years of public service. The question is not who do you blame, but rather who will fix it...We can bridge the partisan divide."

7:58 CT: Barkley concludes the night: "There are a lot of people who believe that Al or Norm are their worst nightmare...Do you think that Al and Norm will change the direction of Washington...Send Washington a message by sending Dean Barkley to the Senate."

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