The two candidates for the U.S. Senate from Florida met in their only TV debate Wednesday evening, and it wasn’t pretty.
Charges and countercharges filled the air during the one-hour confrontation, held at Nova Southeastern University.
Republican candidate Connie Mack IV was aggressive from the start, accusing Sen. Bill Nelson of casting the “deciding vote” for Obama care as well as “voting to gut the military” and voting to raise taxes 150 times.
“A hundred and fifty times,” a seemingly incredulous Mack said, staring across at Nelson.
“Everything the congressman just said is not true,” Nelson said evenly.
The two candidates didn’t agree on a single issue, except that the other wasn’t telling the truth.
“You say I voted to raise taxes 150 times,” Nelson said. “That is simply not true. But while we’re talking about voting, how about all the votes you’ve missed?”
Mack’s voting record in the House is spotty since he decided to run for the Senate. But he claimed that his overall voting record is 94 percent, even better than Nelson's. The senator called that claim ridiculous.
Another point of contention: A small herd of cattle that graze on farm land long owned by the Nelson family and for which Nelson receives a sizable tax break.
Mack called Nelson hypocritical for calling for an end to tax exemptions for special interests while claiming one for himself.
“That land has been in my family for 60 years,” Nelson said.
In the end, Nelson and Mack agreed on one issue: Not lifting the economic embargo on Cuba.
The two candidates have been invited to other debates, including one on Local 10 on Oct. 28. Mack has agreed to come; Nelson has said his schedule will not allow it.