RALEIGH — The North Carolina Senate candidates sharpened their criticism in their second televised debate Wednesday, sparring on the Wall Street bailout, health care and the financing of elections.
Democratic Senate candidate Elaine Marshall showed more aggressiveness in painting Republican Sen. Richard Burr as a tool of Washington special interests, saying after 16 years in Congress he was too close to Wall Street and lobbyists.
Marshall and Michael Beitler, the Libertarian candidate, went after Burr for his 2008 vote to bail out the Wall Street banks during the financial crisis.
"There was simply a giveaway of money and they paid outlandish bonuses," Marshall said. "Of course, he receives millions of dollars of contributions from Wall Street and folks who got the bonuses. That is one of the problems with Washington as usual."
Beitler called it "cronyism" and a perfect example of big business and big government.
But Burr said first bailout was needed to stabilize the financial markets. "I believe it has saved the global economy," he said.
In the candidates' first debate Monday, Burr was content to let Marshall's criticisms roll off his back. On Wednesday, he began counterpunching.
He went after Marshall on the health care overhaul, an issue that roiled the country for the past year.
"Secretary Marshall said when it was passed that this was a step in the right direction toward universal care or a single payer system," Burr said. "I don't believe that having the government more in control is the right direction. What I don't want is the Western European model of health care in this country."
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